Thursday, October 15, 2009

...Good Lord, Deliver Us...

“From silly devotions and from sour-faced 'saints', good Lord, deliver us.”

St. Teresa of Avila is a delight to read: often she candidly expresses those exasperations we all feel in the day to day. Here, she is expressing frustration with the shallow-minded, the overly scrupulous, and those who put on a show for the sake of others.

This is a woman who struggled with bureaucracy, bad buildings, and human failings in both herself and in others. Loving, intelligent, witty, she was to the point and no-nonsense. Often cracking a joke with God and with others, she was a fully human and a fully devoted disciple. This woman presents as a flesh and blood saint, not some pious postcard. She tried to be an example of a higher standard of Christian discipleship yet readily admits her own failings. We can all learn from her humility, her humor and her passion for being a good disciple for Jesus.

Here are some of her other memorable tidbits to remind us that being human does not bar us from sainthood but rather it enriches our journey.

I tell you that I find here a wonderful leisure that I have desired for many years.... And the reason is that there is no more thought of Teresa of Jesus than if she were not in the world. And this will be the cause for my not making any attempt to leave here, unless I am ordered to do so. I was disheartened at times to hear so my foolishness; for when they say there [Valladolid] that someone is a saint, it's bound to be nonsense. They laugh because I say that should declare someone else in that place to be one, for it doesn't cost them any more than words. [p.251]

I tell you, daughters, although it may seem to you to be nothing, this incident was for me one of the really bad moments I went through. From the uproar of the people you would think that a herd of bulls had come into the church. [Foundations, ch.24, pp.226-27]

Her book Foundations is full up with wisdom and wit as are her Meditations and Letters. I recommend highly that everyone get a taste of Teresa in their library.
That's me away then.

1 comment:

Magdalena said...

How I love Teresa! If there is a saint to emulate, it is she. Although unshod does not work in these northern climes. I have tried it!

Matthew 5:16 So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

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