Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
“I die a daughter of the Church”, these are the words of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church whom we celebrate today. These words “I die a daughter of the Church,” were spoken from her death bed and are words that we should hold dear as we journey through life as Catholic Christians. Through the struggles we endure, the joys we experience and the lessons that we learn, we should all strive to utter these words at the end, “I die a daughter/a son of the Church.” Saint Teresa of Avila, a Carmelite became one of the most important figures in all of the Church for her Catholic spirituality. Her works were many, her best known: The Life, The way of Perfection, The Mansions and The Foundations, contain a doctrine which encompasses the whole of the spiritual life. As we reflect on her today we should also reflect on our own lives spiritually in relation to the life that God has called us to, we should reflect on the struggles that Saint Teresa of Avila experienced and how she endured to become a Doctor of the Church. We should consider our lives from the perspective of our last days, working through our burdens, struggles and joys in light of our role as Catholic Christians in order that we too, in our last days, may consider the whole of our legacy as daughters and sons of the Church, as daughters and sons of Christ.
Today Jesus points us to an evil generation, who seeks a sign, but the only one given is the sign of Jonah and it is one of great theological importance. Jonah was a disobedient prophet who rejected his commission from God to go to the capital city of Nineveh, an enemy of Israel to warn them to repent or face imminent doom. Because of his disobedience Jonah was cast into the sea and swallowed by a great fish where he remained for three days, upon being rescued he changed his ways and obediently carried out his mission and the Nenevites repented, saving their city and its many citizens because there was something greater than Jonah at work here. And there is something greater than Jonah, something greater than Solomon and something greater than the great Saint Teresa of Jesus at work in each of our lives. It is the great Redeemer Himself, Jesus Christ who is always at work in our lives, who wants no more than for us to be sons and daughters of His Church and He always offers His graces which are sufficient for us to rise above the evils of our own generation.
Deacon James Anderson is the Administrator at Holy Name Passionist Retreat Center in Houston, Texas.