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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Teresa of Avila, Nun, 1582.

Undisciplined mystics sometimes become so enthralled in their rapturous experiences, so heavenly minded, that they are of no earthly use. A sterling example of a more orthodox and incarnational mystic piety is found in Teresa of Avila, a Spanish contemplative who founded a major religious order (the Discalced Carmelites), wrote a number of excellent books, and engaged in countless charitable activities and in theological dialogue with some of the best minds of her day.

Although a deeply spiritual and intuitive person, she resisted the temptation to dismiss the rational, analytical, and practical. Her powerful mystic experiences with God led her to love, not reject, humankind, and to hope, not despair, concerning human history. Her confidence in God's love and grace for all gave her a sparkling optimism and good humor which enabled her to minister to the heirs of the Renaissance in ways that the more dour and world-rejecting theologians of her day could not. Her brutally honest and deeply insightful autobiographical writings caused Frederich Heiler to call her a modern "psychologist among the saints." Her openness to change and her reforming spirit raised the suspicions of the Inquisition and she found herself the center of much controversy.

Her most famous pupil was John of the Cross. Her most famous book is The Interior Castle.

Give us a discerning mind so that we can see your vision and know your will. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

O God, by your Holy Spirit you moved Teresa of Avila to manifest to your Church the way of perfection: Grant us, we pray, to be nourished by her excellent teaching, and enkindle within us a keen and unquenchable longing for true holiness; through Jesus Christ, the joy of loving hearts, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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