28th Sunday in
Ordinary Time – C
My next reflection on the 50 Saints with an Obligatory
Memorial and full set of orations [Collect, Prayer over the Offerings and Prayer after Communion]
is on Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church, whose Feast Day is October 15. Also known as Saint Therésè
[not Saint Therésè of the Child Jesus, the ‘Little Flower,’ whose Feast Day is October 1] she lived in very tumultuous, challenging times.
She was born in Avila, Spain, on March 28, 1515, just two decades after Columbus ‘discovered’ America and two years after Martin Luther ‘started’ the Protestant Reformation. She died on October 4, 1582, just two decades after the Council of Trent’s reform of Catholicism and response to the Reformer’s heretical errors. [Due to Pope Gregory XII’s calendar reform in 1582, in which 10 days were ‘lost,’ Saint Teresa’s
death date and Feast Day are now reckoned as being on October 15.] Here are Saint Teresa’s orations, which explain why her artistic symbols are a heart, an arrow, and a book – and why she is patron of all who suffer from headaches!
Collect – Saint Teresa of Jesus
O God, who through your Spirit
raised up Saint Teresa of Jesus to
show the Church the way to seek perfection,
grant that we may always be nourished
by the food of her heavenly teaching
and fired with longing for true holiness.
Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.
THE WAY OF PERFECTION.
At first, the future Saint Teresa
was no saint; like her mother, she loved reading romantic novels – which her pious, strict father forbid. She was also so lustful for boys and clothes, flirtatious and rebellious, that her dad put her in a convent – where she found little peace. For back then, convents overflowed with wayward girls who had NO vocation – but parents who wanted them far from worldly sins – which sadly permeated convent life! Although she put her whole heart into her Religious Life, her greatest struggle was with – of all things – prayer – yet she persevered and reaped the fruits of the spiritual life. She documented her challenging journey of faith in numerous books; one entitled “The Way of Perfection,” still helps countless seekers; thus, she is depicted with a book. The Church has declared only 36 Saints a ‘Doctor of the Church’ or highly intellectual educator; in 1970 she became one of four female ‘Doctors’ along with Saint Catherine of Siena [by Pope Paul VI in 1970], Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
[by Saint John Paul in1997], and Saint
Hildegard of Bingen
[by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.]
Prayer over the Offerings – Saint Teresa of Jesus
May our offerings, O Lord, be acceptable to your majesty, to whom the devoted service of Saint Teresa was pleasing in such great measure.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
DON’T BE HALF-HEARTED.
Like many Saints – and Jesus – Saint Teresa
was no stranger to misunderstandings, misjudgment or opposition – even from Church leaders and her confreres! She suffered from emotional and psychological, physical and spiritual ailments: malaria, seizures, unanswered prayers, annoying distractions and other trials. Yet she put her whole heart
into trying to reform the Church and living the ideals of Religious Life. One time she was so sick, they dug her grave! No wonder she’s depicted with an arrow and is the patron of those with headaches.
In her most famous statement, as she questioned God about all the woes she endured, she quipped: “If this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few!”
Prayer after Communion – Saint Teresa of Jesus
Grant, O Lord our God,
that your obedient family,
whom you have fed with the Bread of heaven,
may follow the example of Saint Teresa and rejoice to sing of your mercies for all eternity.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
LET NOTHING FRIGHTEN YOU.
One way to honor Saint Teresa
is to memorize a poem she composed and recite it daily, especially after receiving our Lord in Holy Communion: “Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things; Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.” What a great woman! Saint Teresa of Jesus, pray for us!
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS