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Monday, October 15, 2018

Feast of St. Teresa of Avila

St. Teresa of Avila is known for her writings, especially her "Interior Castle". She was born in 1515, entered the Carmelite convent in Avila, but had a powerful conversion experience when thirty-nine and determined to devote herself more to prayer- and to establish a new reformed Carmelite community. Soon she had trouble with the Spanish Inquisition but she was allowed to continue with her foundations for the Discalced Carmelites.
 To travel in Spain and see her many foundations was a great experience for me when I was over there teaching a course on Teresa and John of the Cross. Teresa died in 1582, was canonized forty years later and named a Doctor of the Church in 1970, the first woman to be given this title.
Here is one or part of one of her poems - it is better in Spanish but I will give you the English translation:
In the Hands of God
I am Yours and born for you,
What do you want of me?

Majestic Sovereign,
Unending Wisdom,
Kindness pleasing to my soul;
God sublime, one Being Good,
Behold this one so vile, 
Singing of her love to you:
What do you want of me?

Yours, you made me,
Yours, you saved me,
Yours, you endured me,
Yours, you called me,
Yours, you awaited me,
Yours, I did not stray.
What do you want of me?

There are ten stanzas and I have only copied the first two, but that question is one that is haunting me ever since I was brought back to life in the hospital five years ago - What, Lord, do you want of me?

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