“I am yours and born for you! What do you want of me?”
(from the Poems of St. Teresa)
We opened our celebrations of the 5th Centenary Year honoring the Birth of Our Holy Mother St. Teresa of Jesus with a public Mass on October 12, 2014, with Father Jorge Cabrera, O.C.D. as Celebrant and Homilist. It was a glorious Mass, joined by a large group of both Secular Carmelites and other friends and local devotee’s of Carmel and of the Monastery, with the added flavor of the beautiful hymns (accompanied by the flute) honoring St. Teresa. Not least of all was the moving homily given by Father Jorge, a Carmelite of the Oaklahoma Province in Texas, in which he spoke of the great gift of God both to the Order and to the Church in the life and witness of St. Teresa of Avila. He spoke of the wisdom and of the practicality of her teaching both for her daughters and sons in Carmel and for all who wish to live a life according to the spirit. “Her response to the gifts which God granted her,” he explained, “were what made St. Teresa what she was. The great mystical graces which she received, were not what showed her greatness of itself. Rather it is her response to these great gifts which made her the saint that she was.” He continued, “So for us . . . the graces we receive from God speak to us more of God’s great love and mercy than of our ‘holiness’. . . . We must ask ourselves, are the graces I receive from God making me a more humble and generous ‘servant of love’ as St. Teresa wants us to be?” Our prayer life, ought to bring us to this gift of self, where we can leave “self” on the shore in order to go out to the needs of others, he concluded. It is our response of love to this relationship with God in prayer that will honor St. Teresa the most during this coming Year.