Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)
for October 15
Saint Teresa of Avila was a mystic, a teacher of the art of prayer, a Spirit-filled leader of a religious order, a woman of great courage, and an individual who lived life to the full. Born in Spain, she was one of the 10 children of her father's second wife. A beautiful, extroverted teenager, she lost interest in faith, instead falling in love with boys and books of chivalry. When she was 15, her mother died. Teresa was placed in the care of Augustinian nuns, where her love of God was rekindled. At 20 she entered a Carmelite monastery. There she suffered repeated serious illnesses, and struggled with prayer and a desire to be appreciated by others. In her 40s she experienced transforming mystical visions of Christ and began her work as a reformer, establishing a new convent against much opposition. She is recognized as a Doctor of the Church (someone whose writings have had a major impact on the Church) for the spiritual path she outlined in her writings, a path many have followed to holiness. Teresa spoke of prayer as an intimate sharing between friends, taking time frequently to be alone with God. In her book "The Interior Castle" she describes the union of our soul with God: "It is as if a tiny streamlet enters the sea, from which it will find no way of separating itself, or as if in a room there were two large windows through which the light streamed in: it enters in different places but it all becomes one." Her feast day is October 15. (Taken from "The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth.")
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Have you ever experienced, or are you now experiencing, a time of disinterest in your faith? Saint Teresa of Avila shows us that, even though we may lose interest in spiritual matters and pay more attention to secular things, God is always waiting for us to return to him. If you need help growing closer to God through your faith, all you need to do is ask him.
Dear Jesus, I ask for the gift of faith that I might believe in you and follow you all the days of my life. (Taken from "Take Ten: Daily Bible Reflections for Teens.")