Teresa of Jesus is one of my favorite and most influential saints. October seems to be the month of Teresa, starting out with Terese on the first of the month and now Mother Teresa being declared blessed on the 19th of this month. Mother Teresa was named after Therese of Lisieux who in turn was named after St. Teresa of Avila. Additionally Teresa Benedicta of the Cross whose birthdays was on the 12th of October entered Carmel on todays date and her entry into the Church was greatly influenced by St. Teresa of Avila’s biography.
Before coming into the Church I watched the series Teresa of Avila: Personality & Prayer hosted by Fr. Dubay. In this series he talked about the fact that contemplation is not just reserved for those in convents and monasteries. This greatly intrigued me and I started by reading Fr. Dubay’s book on St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross called Fire Within. I then went on to read Way of Perfection, Interior Castle, and her Autobiography. I dearly love the wit and wisdom of this saint and whose writings hold no pretensions and work to explain the spiritual life to those on any level. There were many books I read at the start of my conversion that I know I now need to read again to try to plumb more of their depths and her books are on the top of that list.
The good news is that I can now pray just like St. Teresa of Avila did in a period of her life.
Unfortunately, it is the period when St. Teresa didn’t pray at all.
This saint who went from a luke-warm piety, to no prayer at all, and then to rediscover and fulfill her vocation and her prayer life is such an excellent example in perseverance. I am also distracted easily in prayer and I take great comfort in her having written.
As I write this, the noises in my head are so loud that I am beginning to wonder what is going on in it. As I said at the outset, they have been making it almost impossible for me to obey those who command me to write. My head sounds just as if it were full of brimming rivers, and then as if all the water in those rivers came suddenly rushing downward; and a host of little birds seem to be whistling, not the ears, but in the upper part of the head, where the higher part of the soul is said to be; I have held this view for a long time, for the spirit seems to move upward with great velocity. – Interior Castle, Fourth Mansion, Chapter 1
The mind of an adult is like an unbroken horse. It will go in any direction except the one in which you want it to go.
There is also another derivative of a pet name for Teresa that is on many minds lately. Terri as in Terri Schindler-Schiavo whose state ordered execution starts in an hour here in Florida. In my prayers I ask that St. Teresa, St. Terese, St. Teresa Benedicta, and soon to be Blessed Teresa of Calcutta intercede in saving Terri’s life and for the conversion of her husband, the Judge, and those who see her life only in material terms.