“Thank God for the things that I do not own.” – St. Teresa of Avila
Our lives are not our own, I believe. A truth I am slowly living out through my time as a Carmelite. How did I get to Carmel? St. Teresa of Avila! I first read St. Teresa while I was in my first semester at seminary. I read many other saints during my return to the Church, in college, and the years after college. Before seminary, she was a saint I heard of, yet never got to reading that changed in seminary. What finally got me to read her work? While at the seminary I started to make a weekly trip to a local cloister of discalced Carmelite nuns. Remember, when nuns start praying for you, things happen. It was through this community that I was introduced to Carmel, and in a specific way, St. Teresa of Jesus (aka St. Teresa of Avila).
Upon my first reading of her works, it was not her keen spiritual insights that struck me, but her personality. Teresa was extroverted, affectionate, intuitive, and adaptable. All these traits just screamed at me through her works. She was a real person to me. She was not some master on a pedestal. She was human, she made mistakes, she had regrets, yet firmly trusted in the salvation won for her by the Lord. She did not present me with ideal of the spiritual life just out of my reach that I would be forced to always reach for, but never attain. She wrote so much about the incarnation of our Lord that, in a way, her personality incarnated a possible spiritual life for me that I knew was possible for me. She showed me saintliness and sainthood was a true reality for me.
My Possible Sainthood
I can be a saint! I am extroverted person, willing to give my time for all those God sends me. I am affectionate, showing my care for all those I love in my life. I am intuitive, able to pick up on problems and issues of those around me, including myself, even if the issues are not spoken about clearly. Also, I am adaptable, to situations as they arise. Before St. Teresa, I saw the negative aspects of these traits in my life as a way I harmed people. St. Teresa showed be that a life is like a coin. Yes, a coin has a tail’s side, a negative part, that can distract from the life the Lord wishes to give us, BUT a coin also has a head’s side, a part that always faces the light of God, to see the His light shining forth with His brilliance. Thus, unlike a coin flip that is random, our coin can always land on heads if we allow ourselves to become and remain open to Christ, who is always carrying us with Him. Yes, I am called to be a saint. The saint God desires me to be.
“God save us from gloomy saints!” – St. Teresa of Avila
Thank You, St Teresa, and please, Pray for Us!