Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Prayer to St. Teresa of Avila

On October 15 Holy Mother Church celebrates the feast of St. Teresa of Avila. Born in Spain in 1515, Teresa and her brother loved to read the lives of the saints; later she became a nun. Early in her life as a Carmelite nun, St. Teresa, although devout to our Lord, had a difficult time focusing on prayer, which her frequent sickness and visitors at the convent made worse. However, one day while praying in front of a picture of Jesus, St. Teresa felt a great sadness for not loving God more, and from that moment she vowed to live for Him alone, despite the sacrifices necessary.

 In return for her love, Our Lord allowed St. Teresa the privilege of hearing Him speak to her and taught her to pray in a wonderful way. St. Teresa obediently recorded all she experienced. Later she worked to reform the Carmelite order, opening new convents that no longer allowed worldly interruptions in order to allow the nuns undisturbed prayer. Her nuns learned to work and pray with great love for Jesus, and St. Teresa provided the best example of this for them. Once when opening a new convent, St. Teresa of Avila had only a few coins. However, she remained calm, saying, “Teresa and this money are nothing.... But God, Teresa, and this money are enough.”

Because of St. Teresa's great writings, she now is known as the doctor of mystical theology and first among women for wisdom and learning. Numerous saints looked to her for example in the spiritual life, including St. Alphonsus Liguori who composed the prayer given below. In fact, St. Alphonsus looked to her for guidance to such an extent that he tried to imitate her to the point of pledging himself, as she had done, to do nothing unless it was for the glory of God; she also became his teacher of prayer. We would do well to imitate both St. Teresa of Avila and St. Alphonsus Liguori in their desire to imitate the Saints of the Church, using past saints' examples to improve their own prayer life and love for God, trusting in Him for all things.

Prayer to St. Teresa of Avila
O Saint Teresa, seraphic Virgin, beloved spouse of thy crucified Lord, thou who on earth didst burn with a love so intense toward thy God and my God, and now dost glow with a brighter and purer flame in paradise: obtain for me also, I beseech thee, a spark of that same holy fire which shall cause me to forget the world, all things created, and even myself; for thou didst ever avidly desire to see Him loved by all men. Grant that my every thought and desire and affection may be continually employed in doing the will of God, the supreme Good, whether I am in joy or in pain, for He is worthy to be loved and obeyed everlastingly. Obtain for me this grace, thou who art so powerful with God; may I be all on fire, like thee, with the holy love of God. Amen.
---St. Alphonsus Liguori
The Raccolta

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