Thought for the Day – 10 May – the Memorial of St John of Avila (1499-1569) Doctor of the Church
St Teresa of Ávila, herself a Doctor of the Church, praised John of Ávila for his mastery of elements of the spiritual life. While he remains a little known and quoted figure, one saint celebrated among many, Master Ávila stands before us today as a witness to the need for continual reform, a commitment to reflection and renewal within the Church and for each one of us as followers of Jesus.
He understood that it is only through a spirit-filled engagement with the Word of God and a steadfast commitment to the pursuit of virtue that individual Christians would be able to fulfil the demands of the Gospel. In one of his sermons for Pentecost, John of Ávila asked his hearers, “What effect did the coming of the Holy Ghost have on the Church? What did the Holy Ghost accomplish in the hearts of those believers to whom He came? He gave them life, gave them gifts of infinite value, strengthened them and brought them near perfection.” St John of Ávila, in his life, his teachings and in his legacy, reveals that the Holy Spirit remains at work in the Church and, in this lesser known saint (sadly one who needs to be studied by all) of more than four centuries ago we discover a man, a saint, whose heart burned so purely with the fire of this same Spirit that he remains a light for us today. (BROTHER HENDERSON, O.S.B., is a Benedictine monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey.)
And to help us along the way, that is the only way, the way of the Cross of Christ, perhaps this practical bit of advice left us by St John of Avila, will be of assistance in our spiritual growth. St John of Avila, please pray for us for we all wish to join you as Saint in heaven!
This Doctor and Teacher of our Faith, St John of Avila divides the week into stages of the Passion of Christ:
• Monday think of our Lord’s agony in the garden and what passed in the house of Annas and Caiphas
• Tuesday, of the accusations, the removal from judge to judge, and the flagellation
• Wednesday, of the crowning with thorns and the mockery
• Thursday, of the washing of the feet, and the Blessed Eucharist
• Friday, of the sentence, the carrying of the cross, the crucifixion and death
• Saturday, of the piercing of the side, the taking down from the cross, the burial, and the grief of the Blessed Virgin
• Sunday, of the resurrection and the state of future glory.