Thursday, October 20, 2011

Feast of St. Teresa of Avila

Happy Feastday
St. Teresa of Avila
Doctor of Prayer

Some Reflections...

A Way of Being

Contemplation begins with desire – not our desire for God, but his desire for us. The first and greatest commandment may be to love God with every fibre of our being, but there is something still more fundamental: the realisation that we are loved first. Every contemplative makes this discovery, and in fact bases his/her life on it: that our God is a pursuing God. The whole Carmelite tradition is clear: our desire for God is first awakened by his desire for us. This is the message of our great saints and mystics. The Dark Night and The Spiritual Canticle of John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle – together with every other spiritual classic – celebrate this divine pursuit: the Lover and the beloved seeking each other in the light and the darkness of love’s turbulent ways.The hungers of the heart and the longings of the spirit are the result of God first desiring us and coming to us in love. This is what Iain Matthew, one of our most popular Carmelite writers, calls ‘the impact of God’: a God who is not a bystander waiting for us to find him but a restless God seeking to make space for himself in our lives. The challenge, of course, for all of us, is to let ourselves be loved, as the young French Carmelite, Elizabeth of the Trinity has said, and allow the reality of this love to change our hearts. It often comes as a surprise that Carmelite writers speak so little about ways and methods of prayer. Instead, they go straight to the heart of what prayer is all about: exposure to this selfsurrendering God. Their concern does not consist in the knowledge that we are saved, but in the assurance that we are loved. For them, the focus is clear and what they seek most of all is to awaken the heart to the presence within. ‘No matter how much you think you are searching for God’, John of the Cross reminds us, ‘he is searching for you much more.’ (By: Eugene McCaffrey, OCD)

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