A lovely story exists regarding St. Teresa of Avila, whose Feast Day we celebrate today. The mystic and author is said to have been out riding a donkey, when she fell off, into mud, and injured her leg. When she asked why that happened, the response from God was That is how I treat my friends to which she retorted And that is why you have so few of them! I love that this friend of God shared such an intimate, playful relationship. I can almost hear God chuckle at her answer.
St.Teresa, one of two female doctors of the Catholic Church, is accredited with several beautiful quotations that show her depth:
Prayer is not just spending time with God…If it ends there, it is fruitless. No, prayer is dynamic. Authentic prayer changes us–unmasks us.
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ’s compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless now.
I have not read the Interior Castle but perhaps one day I will. I would like to learn more about this woman who seemed to have a strong prayer life. She seems to be a good model for us today–stressing prayer on a personal level, with the ability not to take herself or God too seriously. I like that image. She also seems to have understood contemplative action well. We are the hands and feet of Christ and if we let nothing trouble us, God alone will suffice in our ministries.
What are your hands and feet doing for Christ?
What is your relationship with God like? Are you friends?
here are my hands and feet
Make them move in gentle, loving ways
Allow my eyes to shine with your compassion
Let no fear immobilize me
You alone are enough for me.