Saint of the Day – 15 October – St Teresa of Jesus of Avila OCD (1515-1582) Virgin and Doctor of the Church
On the Life of Saint Teresa
By Fr Francis Xavier Weninger SJ (1805-1888)
I. Teresa began in early youth, after the teachings of her pious parents, to read devout books. From this, she first drew the spirit of piety. No sooner, however, had she become interested in reading worldly books, than she grew, from day-to-day, more indolent in the service of God and she returned, not to her first fervour, until she had cast aside those works and again resumed her pious reading – a proof of the great benefit we may derive from devout books and of the harm which worldly writings may do us.
Oh! that those, who desire to, live piously, may understand this and conform their lives to it.
Oh! that all Christians would guide their children, from their early youth, to the reading of devout books!
II. Teresa, after the death of her mother, chose the Blessed Virgin to be another mother to her, and sought and found, in her, comfort and assistance in all her needs. Thrugh her intercession and that of St Joseph, she received the grace of being constant in her reform.
Love Mary as your mother – seek, with filial trust, consolation and assistance from her.
St Joseph should be one of your principal Patrons, as his intercession is very powerful with the Almighty and, especially, as he has now been solemnly declared the Patron Saint of the Universal Church.
III. The sight of the wounded Jesus, filled the heart of St Teresa with great contrition for her former indifferent life. It inflamed her with true love of God and kept her, until her end, in these sentiments. Consider frequently how your Saviour suffered for your sake and repent of your sins sincerely, as they were the cause of Christ’s bitter Passion.
Love your Redeemer with all the strength of your heart and make the resolution to serve Him in future most fervently.
IV. Teresa saw the place in hell which would have been hers, if she had not discontinued her idle discourses and her indifference in the worship of the Most High. Hence, she often gave humble thanks to God that He had not condemned her and she learned, by it, how hurtful even a menial sin can become, since it may lead us gradually to the path of everlasting perdition.
You have still more reason to give thanks to God that He did not call you away, from this mortal life, in your sin.
How long would you already have been in hell?
If idle, empty conversation would have led Teresa gradually into hell, what may you not have to fear, if you do not abstain from so much sinful talking, in which you indulge?
Learn also that you should not esteem a venial sin, however small it appears to you, as trifling, for, it may slowly lead you to damnation!
V. Many other lessons, which the life of St Teresa contains, I leave to yourself to consider. One thing only I request of you. Call to mind frequently the words which the Saint uttered in her ecstasy:
“Only one God!
Only one death!
Only one soul!
Love this only God and do not offend Him.
Take earnest care of your only, your precious, your immortal soul. ‘Keep thyself, therefore and thy soul, carefully.’ (Deut., iv.)”