December 4 – Day Ten

Thoughts on Saint Teresa of Avila

By the Rev. Jennifer Kenna, Province II Representative to the NECW Board

St. Teresa of Avila
St. Teresa of Avila

A well-known passage from the prophet Isaiah stirs us this Second Sunday of Advent - the passage about a shoot coming from the stump of Jesse and a branch growing out of his roots. It goes on -

“The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”

Would that each of us could embrace that spirit – that each of us could be wise and understanding, offer counsel and be mighty, bear the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord – be saintly.

From her childhood Teresa of Avila took pleasure in reading and studying the lives of the Saints. Following her mother's death and finding Teresa to be quite worldly, her father placed her in an Augustinian convent to be educated. A series of illnesses hindered her education but she chose to enter a Carmelite order, a way of life she practiced til her death. She was instrumental in reforming the order, making it more contemplative and missionary in its work. She is described as “a practical organizer, a writer of native genius, a warm devoted friend and above all a lover and beloved of God.”

Rooted in the love of God and Jesus Christ, she spread her branches of faith wide throughout her life, always immersed in prayer and meditation. Living in peace in her home, centered on God in all she did, she leaves with us this prayer – this bidding to follow in Christ's footsteps.

Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, ours are the eyes with which he looks Compassion on this world, Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good, Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, Yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on the world. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

16days2016Lisa Towle