Monday, 15 October 2012

Teresa of Avila

First readingGalatians 4:22-24,26-27,31-5:1 

The Law says, if you remember, that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave-girl, and one by his free-born wife. The child of the slave-girl was born in the ordinary way; the child of the free woman was born as the result of a promise. This can be regarded as an allegory: the women stand for the two covenants. The first who comes from Mount Sinai, and whose children are slaves, is Hagar – The Jerusalem above, however, is free and is our mother, since scripture says: Shout for joy, you barren women who bore no children! Break into shouts of joy and gladness, you who were never in labour. For there are more sons of the forsaken one than sons of the wedded wife. So, my brothers, we are the children, not of the slave-girl, but of the free-born wife.
  When Christ freed us, he meant us to remain free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

Today we celebrate the feast of one of my patron saints - Teresa of Avila - Virgin and Doctor of the Church.

A mystic; she delighted in, and taught a openness to the experience of God's presence as a deep, personal relationship. And having had that experience she was even able to identify the loss of an awareness of God as proof of His Presence (if He wasn't there how could you miss him?)Something we still have difficulties with even now.

Paul writes of a new convenant that is a promise, not of independence but of interdependence; of a relationship bound tightly and so deeply in love that fulfills everything that we could hope for. Yet the world continues to suggest otherwise. Teresa turns away from the yoke of slavery that meant other people had the right to decide what her life would be; what her future would be. She turns away from her own desire to be part of the world - discovering that she would likely be too 'prone' to sin. In a growing faith, that seems as much seduction as anything else, Jesus drew her to him with his need for good friends and her desire to be a true lover of Christ. 

In her teaching of Contemplative prayer she says; "it is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us. The important thing is not to think much but to love much and so do that which best stirs you to love. Love is not great delight but desire to please God in everything."

And in this we find freedom.

I feel your eyes, Lady.
Your indulgent smile
Graced upon a child,
A novice of your Way,
A pilgrim to the heart of Love.
You hear my exclamations of faith,
My delight in His glorious presence,
And, teacher that you are,
You speak your warning,
A whispered, ‘Beware’
For with the highs there is always…

Desolation, Lady?
I have also been a pilgrim along that road.
Life’s story unwinding, unheard
Neither written nor read by me.
Life once removed from love,
Purposefully drained empty,
I have lived the dread-filled nightmare
When there is no hope of sunrise.
I have lain submerged in despair
Listening to life move on around me.
Cowered in the dark from
Night stalkers that suck hope dry,
Borne days when life was merely an option.
I have sunk, sick to the stomach and
Screamed into the darkness,
To the lonely echo of my own voice.


And so, my consolation.
He found me then
And he has me now.
And, Mistress, you know as well as I,
That that is more than enough.



Lynda said...

I like the thought of being "seduced" by Jesus and can certainly relate to it. The poem is beautiful - the last stanza expresses my feelings so well. Thank you very much.

Word in the Hand said...

Thank you Lynda; it's a real relationship of love if we enter into it.