FEAST OF ST. THERESA OF AVILA
Pope Francis’ Letter for the Fifth Centenary of the Birth of St. Teresa of Avila
St. Teresa emphasised the importance of cheerful perseverance and prayer.
Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a message to Bishop Jesus Garcia Burillo of Avila on the occasion of the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila, whose feast day is celebrated today. In his letter, Pope Francis mentions the joy the saint often spoke of “in encountering the suffering of work and pain”, and how she affirmed that “the Gospel is not a bag of lead that trails heavily behind us, but rather a source of joy that leads the heart to God and urges us to serve our brethren”: St. Teresa emphasised the importance of cheerful perseverance and prayer. For her, contemplative prayer was “a close sharing between friends; … taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us”.
The Pope remarks that this advice is “perennially valid”: “In a culture of the temporary”, he says, “to live faithfully ‘forever and ever and ever’; in a world without hope, to show the fruitfulness of an enamoured heart; and in a society with many idols, to give witness that ‘only God is enough’”. A path that, the Holy Father reiterated, we cannot walk alone; we must do so together and, as the Saint said, with Christ. “Teresa of Jesus recommended three things: to love each other, to free each other, to free oneself of everything, and to aspire to true humility”.
“It is this Teresian realism”, writes the Pope, “that demands works instead of emotions, love in the place of dreams, and the realism of humble love instead of eager asceticism”. He concludes, “Let us hope that everyone may be infused by this holy impulse to travel the roads of our own time, with the Gospel in our hand and the Spirit in our heart!”.
From the Book of Heaven
V16 – 2.5.24 – “Don’t you know that cheerfulness for the soul is like fragrance for flowers, like condiment for foods, like the skin tone for people, like maturation for fruits, like the sun for plants?”
V6 – 10.29.04 – “Everything – everything is linked to the way of operating with Perseverance; the Chain of My Graces is linked to Persevering Works. So, if the soul makes some escapes, she breaks this Chain – and who can assure her that it will be linked again? My Designs are accomplished only in one who attaches his works to Perseverance. Perfection, sanctity, everything – everything goes along United with it; but if the soul is intermittent, her operating without Perseverance, like an intermittent fever, renders the Divine Designs vain, dissolves her perfection and makes her Sanctity fail.”
V6 – 4.11.05 – “Indeed, that of the soul which pleases Me the most is Perseverance, because Perseverance is Seal of Eternal Life and development of Divine Life. In fact, just as God is ever Old and ever New and Immutable, in the same way, through Perseverance, by having exercised it always, the soul is Old, and by her attitude of exercising it, she is ever New; and each time she exercises it she is Renewed in God, remaining Immutable, and without realizing it. Since through Perseverance she continuously acquires Divine Life within herself, by acquiring God she is Sealed with Eternal Life. Can there be a seal safer than God Himself?”