St. Teresa of Jesus tried to draw her own consecrated sisters and many others into a more profound relationship with Christ
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of St. Teresa of Jesus (October 15, 2021): ROM 4:1-8; PS 32:1-2,5,11; LK 12:1-7
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Canonized in 1622, she was named the first woman Doctor of the Church in 1970.
On this day we venerate the life of St. Teresa of Jesus, also known as Teresa of Avila, the Spanish city where she was born in 1515. She was part of an extremely rich and prominent family. After spending several years in a convent where she had been sent to be raised and educated after the death of her mother, she decided that she wanted to be a nun. She entered the local Carmel and remained there for a number of years leading a not very difficult or religious life. The convent was known for lax rules and, instead of long times of prayer and solitude, the nuns had many visitors and little sense of the poverty they professed. About this time St. Teresa recognized her own faults in this way of life and longed to reform the Carmelite order so that it would reflect its original ascetic values and dedication to our Redeemer. She experienced visions and other mystical experiences that convinced her that this was, indeed, God’s will for her. St. Teresa also spent much time writing about prayer and Christian mysticism.
St. Teresa set about her efforts with some support, but also much opposition. This made her work especially dangerous because she was called into account with the Spanish Inquisition. They eventually dismissed the charges and she continued her travels through Spain. She established the Discalced Carmelites that held to the original rule that called for the members to be poor and enclosed away from the outside world so that they could spend time in work and, especially, in prayer. She was a complex woman: active and practical, contemplative and prayerful, courageous and humble. When St. Teresa of Jesus died in 1582, her final words were addressed to her Beloved: “My Lord, it is time to move on. Well then, may Your will be done. O my Lord and my Spouse, the hour that I longed for has come. It is time to meet one another.” Canonized in 1622, she was named the first woman Doctor of the Church in 1970.
Suggested missionary action: To help our spiritual growth, let us use St. Teresa’s writings or one of her biographies. We could also choose the writings or a biography of another saint who interests us.