Behold: January 12

Posted: January 12, 2010 in Uncategorized
  • She was born during the Spanish Inquisition in 1515.
  • At 7, she ran away from home, hoping to be martyred.
  • At 15, her mom died and she experienced a new desperation and new level of relationship with God in prayer.
  • As a young adult, she read the writings of Jerome and joined a convent.
  • She survived an illness that led to a coma and three years of paralysis.  During that time, she learned still more about the power of prayer.
  • Though she remained in the Catholic Church, she worked hard to bring reformation by teaching and writing about a life of personal, love-filled devotion to Jesus Christ.  She helped preserve the truth of the gospel underground and her works remain.

Though Teresa of Avila was not someone whose doctrine matches mine, I am deeply moved by her undeniable devotion to Jesus and commitment to living a life fueled entirely by love for Him and for people.  I want to be like that.

Today, I am reflecting on and enjoying some of her most profound statements.  In spite of the fact that we would have disagreed on a few things, this is a woman I wish I could have known:

It is love alone that gives worth to all things.

Pain is never permanent.

To have courage for whatever comes in life – everything lies in that. (I’m writing this one on sticky notes to put on every mirror, door, and calendar I own.)

Remember that you have only one soul; that you have only one death to die; that you have only one life. . . . If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing.

How is it, Lord, that we are cowards in everything save in opposing Thee?

The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.

And my personal favorite:

Do not be dismayed at the number of things which you have to consider before setting out on this divine journey…by  taking this road we gain such precious treasures that it is no wonder if the cost seems to us a high one. The time will come when we shall realize that all we have paid has been nothing at all by comparison with the greatness of our prizes.

Behold: an intelligent woman, filled with the rare combination of extreme bravery and extravagant love.

I dearly hope to become one.

  1. Jenn Hoff says:

    Oh my!
    “The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.”
    That one gave me the chills. Not just the idea that He is with me…that thought’s a given.
    More the idea that He journeys as I do…feeling disappointments, sorrows, joys the same way I do (or at least almost the same way). Oh, I know He is the God of the universe and what does he have to be disappointed about since he could change it if he wanted to anyway, but I’ve always had that feeling that he does journey the same way I do, and he does get disappointed when people don’t treat me the way he meant for them too (or vice versa). Hmm. I wonder if that’s what Teresa meant.

  2. bolovesjoe says:

    Wow, yes. I always think it’s funny when we assume that God doesn’t feel the jostles in the road the way that we do…you’d think that He, being the God of infinite emotion, would feel the bumps in the journey, the set backs, the wrong turns and the ditches we land in far more exquisitely than we do. Not that He MAKES the wrong turns – certainly not – but only that He feels it when we do. Like we feel it when our kids do. I don’t know…maybe that makes Him seem too human or too small, but it seems sometimes we make Him too big to fit in the spaces He’s already promised He would go with us. Really interesting conversation fodder. Having read a lot of her stuff, much of which is quite feisty indeed – that Teresa would have very much enjoyed this discussion.

  3. Aïda says:

    Bo, YOU ARE THE BEST!!!!

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