The quotable St Teresa

The quotable St Teresa

Today is the feast of St Teresa of Ávila, one of the Church’s greatest theologians and greatest mystics.

Teresa is also unusual, I think, for her eminent common sense, which really isn’t common at all. I quote her often in the confessional and in spiritual direction, and occasionally in my preaching too. I think her insights might be helpful to others only because I find them so helpful myself.

For example, when Teresa was afflicted with one too many crosses, she lamented to God:

“If this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so many enemies.”

This demonstrates not only a supernatural attitude to suffering, but also a good sense of humour, and an easy familiarity with God. That’s three characteristics, right there, that I aspire to in my own spiritual life.

On another occasion, Teresa was very impressed by one of her sisters’ heroic penances, and wished to do something similar. Her spiritual director, however, forbade her from doing so. Teresa complained to the Lord, and apologised. His reply, which she not only recorded but also interiorised, is one worth remembering and repeating:

“I prefer your obedience to her penances.

Teresa was a great ascetic, but she was also a person of attractive and contagious joy. So she also showed in deed what she expresses here in words:

“God save us from gloomy saints!”

(This is the sort of thing I can easily imagine Pope Francis saying.)

Long before I was in the seminary, but perhaps when I was discerning my vocation (I forget the precise context), my spiritual director, whose patience was probably tested, exclaimed:

“The closer you get to God, the simpler you become.”

I remembered this and prayed on it often. (I still do.) Much later I learnt that it came from St Teresa.

I’ll finish with one of my all-time favourite quotes, which speaks for itself:

“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

4 Comments

  1. Simon Hogan
    Oct 18, 2013

    Ok here are some tips for tomorrow for all oover the countryside!
    First Caulfield
    Race1. 1,3,9 and 10.
    Race2.
    2,6 and 9
    Race3.
    5,8,9 and 12.
    Race 4
    3,6 11 and 13.
    Race5
    7. Prettyhappyaboutit.
    5.Members Joy
    16. Holder Sunset
    12. Spot on Maggie

    Race6.
    No. 5,6 and 11.
    Race7
    1,12,6 and3.
    Race8.
    2,6,and 10.
    Race9.
    13,1,8,10 and *19 if it gets a run.
    Now For the Caulfield Cup
    Race10 at 5.45pm
    3. Ethopia
    6. Mr. Moet
    11. My quest of peace and also chuck in 1,12,14 18into your tricfeccas.

    Randwick Race6 No11.
    Race 7No4
    Race8.4.
    Morpethville in South Australia.
    Race 4No7
    Race5No8
    Race 7No10
    Race 8No12.
    Good Luck for everyone having a bet this weekend and good luck if you have a horse running over the spring carnival. You might want Fr. John to bless it for you I am sure he’ll do it for you!
    The Horsham Cup is on this Sunday and Hamilton is on the following sunday.

  2. Simon Hogan
    Oct 24, 2013

    This photo is warrnambool golfcourse! We had plenty of rain! You also see the beach in the golf club! All welcome to play or just have a coffee!

  3. Simon hogan
    Oct 24, 2013

    Another photo!

  4. Simon Hogan
    Oct 25, 2013

    My tips for the cox plate! 2,6,8, 12 and 14. Number eight is trained at warrnambool and number 14 is called Long John! Well the big race is last at twenty to six. Race 1no 1,4 and 16. Race 3no2 Race 4no1 and 8. Race 6no11. Race 8no 6 and 7. Race nine 4 and 12and 10. Morphettville race 8no8 and race6no9. Jarrod McLean has two horses running tomorrow at the valley from a Yangery! Near warrnambool! Vegetmite 90th birthday. I gave you trifecca last week that $620! Sam Horgan won Melbourne to warrnambool! Happy punting from Simon the pieman.