Celebrating the Solemnity of St Teresa of Jesus

From the Office of Readings [Carmelite Proper].

Reading 2. Except from the autobiography of St Teresa

We should always be mindful of Christ’s love.

Whoever lives in the presence of so good a friend and excellent a leader, who went ahead of us to be the first to suffer, can endure all things. The Lord helps us, strengthens us, and never fails; he is a true friend. And I see clearly, and I saw afterward, that God desires that if we are going to please him and receive his great favors, we must do so through the most sacred humanity of Christ, in whom he takes his delight. Many, many times have I perceived this through experience. The Lord has told it to me. I have definitely seen that we must enter by this gate if we desire His Sovereign Majesty to show us great secrets.

Thus your Reverence and Lordship should desire no other path, even if you are at the summit of contemplation; on this road you walk safely. This Lord of ours is the one through whom all blessings come to us. He will teach us these things. In beholding his life we find that he is the best example. What more do we desire than to have such a good friend at our side, who will not abandon us in our labors and tribulations, as friends in the world do? Blessed is he who truly loves him and always keeps him at his side! Let us consider the glorious Saint Paul: it doesn’t seem that any other name fell from his lips than that of Jesus, as coming from one who kept the Lord close to his heart. Once I had come to understand this truth, I carefully considered the lives of some of the saints, the great contemplatives, and found that they hadn’t taken any other path: Saint Francis demonstrates this through the stigmata; Saint Anthony of Padua, with the Infant; Saint Bernard found his delight in the Humanity; Saint Catherine of Siena—and many others about whom your Reverence knows more than I.

We must walk along this path in freedom, placing ourselves in the hands of God. If His Majesty should desire to raise us to the position of one who is an intimate and shares his secrets, we ought to accept gladly. As often as we think of Christ we should recall the love with which he bestowed on us so many favors, and what great love God showed in giving us a pledge like this of his love; for love begets love. Even if we are at the very beginning and are very wretched, let us strive to keep this divine love always before our eyes and to waken ourselves to love. If at some time the Lord should favor us by impressing this love on our hearts, all will become easy for us, and we shall carry out our tasks quickly and without much effort.

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