Teresian scholar Father Kieran Kavanaugh, o.c.d. states that St. Teresa didn’t believe that in order to pray “it was sufficient to follow the rubrics and pronounce” the [Latin] words. Thus, she taught her nuns to be aware of the One to whom they were speaking.
While St Teresa was sick in Burgos in 1582, Blessed Mary of Jesus and the Discalced Carmelite nuns in Toledo sent 200 ducats of silver to help the Saint. Her words of gratitude come to us thanks to the correspondence of Blessed Mary of Jesus.
In 1576, St. Teresa of Avila described her mystical experiences in an objective way. We share excerpts concerning an "impulse" with references to her writings that provide us with examples of this grace.
Here St. Teresa explains her image of the well-watered garden, irrigated by "the water flowing from a river or spring." She compares the soul's joy to the woman who called her neighbors when she found her lost coin, one of the parables in our Gospel for Sunday, 11 September.
Quote of the day, 10 September: Père Jacques devoted his Friday evening retreat conference at the Carmel of Pontoise to the Cross and suffering. Paraphrasing St Teresa, he said, “Life without suffering is a waste of time. Every hour not united to God's will is an hour squandered.”
One of St. Teresa's benchmark passages about humility, worthy of memorization, she describes the equivalence between humility and love: "I cannot understand how there could be humility without love or love without humility."
Bishop Silvio José Báez, who is himself a Discalced Carmelite, describes the essential aspects of St. Teresa's encounter with the angel and his fiery dart: "God introduced her to the New Covenant."
"The chief among Teresa’s virtues was the love of God, which our Lord Jesus Christ increased by means of many visions and revelations... she saw an angel with a flaming dart piercing her heart..." (Pope Gregory XV)
On this day, 24 August 1562 St. Teresa established the first monastery of the Carmelite reform, St. Joseph's in Avila. As Father Peter-Thomas Rohrbach notes, she has "the unique distinction of being the only woman in the history of the Church ever to reform an order of men."
Saint John of the Cross escaped from his prison cell in Toledo during the night of 17-18 August 1578. We share the letter excerpts from 21 and 22 August 1578 in which she describes St. John's harrowing ordeal and her own feelings and thoughts concerning "such a martydom"... "I experience the greatest envy."
On 10 August 1567, Carmelite Prior General Giovanni Battista Rossi wrote from Barcelona giving St. Teresa permission to found two houses of "contemplative Carmelite friars" in Castile. Here is the story of how they met...
St. Teresa impresses upon her nuns, "Shouldn't we consider ourselves lucky to be able to repay something of what we owe Him for His service toward us? I say these words "His service toward us" unwillingly; but the fact is that He did nothing else but serve us all the time He lived in this world...."
Commenting on the vocation of Madre Beatriz de la Madre de Dios "While reading a book on the life of St. Anne, the child became very devoted to the saints of Carmel"
Practical and prudent St. Teresa reminds us of the example of the sons of Zebedee, James and John, whose mother asked Jesus to declare that her sons should sit at his side in the kingdom. The Gospel tells us, "But Jesus answered, 'You do not know what you are asking'." St. Teresa reminds her Sisters of this many times in her writings, as she reminds us all in today's quote from the Interior Castle: we may think we are prepared to face trials in our spiritual life, but God knows what is best for us. "There's no need for us to be advising Him about what He should give us, for He can rightly tell us that we don't know what we're asking for."
St. Teresa of Avila is overflowing with love and praise as she begins her commentary on the Lord's prayer. "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!"
St. Teresa of Avila counsels her daughters not to worry whether they are doing household chores or practicing mental prayer: "True humility consists very much in great readiness to be content with whatever the Lord may want to do with them and in always finding oneself unworthy to be called His servant."
Writing about perfect love, St. Teresa says that a person "does everything he can for the other's benefit... O precious love that imitates the Commander-in-chief of love, Jesus, our Good!"
We recall the death of the "holy nuncio" Nicolás Ormaneto on this date, 18 June 1577 in Madrid. He was the nuncio who favored the Teresian reform and helped it to flourish in the first fifteen years of Teresa's tireless efforts to establish the discalced friars and nuns in Castile. When she mentions her first meeting with Fray Jerónimo Gracián in Beas, she writes that Ormaneto :sent to see him and then gave him authority over the discalced friars and nuns of Castile.:
In her autobiography, St. Teresa of Avila writes about "the good that one who practices prayer possesses... I mean mental prayer—glory be to God for this good! If it were not for this good, even though I have little humility, I should not be so proud as to dare speak about mental prayer."