Our Father who art in heaven [Mt 6:9; Lk 11:2]. O my Lord, how You do show Yourself to be the Father of such a Son; and how Your Son does show Himself to be the Son of such a Father! May You be blessed forever and ever!
This favor would not be so great, Lord, if it came at the end of the prayer. But at the beginning, You fill our hands and give a reward so large that it would easily fill the intellect and thus occupy the will in such a way one would be unable to speak a word.
“O Son of God and my Lord! How is it that You give so much all together in the first words?” #StTeresaofAvila #OurFatherTweet
Since You humble Yourself to such an extreme in joining with us in prayer and making Yourself the Brother of creatures so lowly and wretched, how is it that You give us in the name of Your Father everything that can be given? For You desire that He consider us His children, because Your word cannot fail [Cf. Mt 24:35; Mk 13:31; Lk 21:33]. You oblige Him to be true to Your word, which is no small burden since in being Father He must bear with us no matter how serious the offenses.
Behold, my Lord, that since with the love You bear us and with Your humility, nothing will stop you… in sum, Lord, You are on earth and clothed with it. Since You possess our nature, it seems You have some reason to look to our gain.
But behold, Your Father is in heaven. You Yourself said so. It is right that You look to His honor. Since You have vowed to undergo disgrace for us, leave Your Father free. Don’t oblige Him to do so much for a people so wretched, like myself, who will not thank You properly [and there are no others who will do better.]
“How magnificent it is, the love You bear us!” #StTeresaofAvila #OurFatherTweet
You made use of roundabout ways, hiding from the devil the fact that You are the Son of God; and with the great desire You have for our good, nothing was able to stop You from granting us so very great a favor.
Who could have done it but You, Lord? I don’t know how the devil failed to understand in these words who You were, and had doubts about it.
At least I see it clearly, my Jesus. You have spoken, as a favored son, for Yourself and for us; and You are powerful enough so that what You say on earth will be done in heaven. May You be blessed forever, my Lord, for You are so willing to give that nothing will stop You from doing so.
Saint Teresa of Avila
The Way of Perfection, Chap. 27, nos. 1–4 (excerpts)
Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.
Featured image: This fresco of Jesus teaching his disciples is one of the many frescos painted by the great Dominican artist Fra Angelico, which are found in the cells of the Dominican convent of San Marco, Florence. You can see more of Father Lawrence’s photos from San Marco in his Flickr photo album from Firenze & Toscana (May 2019). Photo credit: Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. / Flickr (Some rights reserved)