They way of togetherness (Part 2)

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By Arnold Van Vugt

The Living Spirit

Monday, March 30, 2015


WE cannot follow this path alone, but only together. For the saintly reformer the way of prayer goes along the way of fraternity in the womb of our Mother the Church.

This was her providential answer, born of divine inspiration and female intuition, to the problems of the Church and the society of her time: to form small communities of women, who like the college of Apostles would follow Christ, by living a life of simplicity according to the Gospel and to support the whole Church with a life of prayer. ‘For this He brought you here together, sisters’ and this was the promise: ‘Christ himself will stay in our midst’ (Book of her life 32, 11).

What a beautiful description of fraternity in the Church: as brothers and sisters together with Christ follow the road! For this Teresa doesn’t give many recommendations, but only three: to love each other much, to strip oneself of everything and possess real humility which ‘although I mention this as the last is the most important and

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Our own time

I would like very much to have more fraternal communities in our time where this road is followed: to proceed in the truth of humility, which liberates us from ourselves, in order to love the other more and better, and in particular the poorest. There is nothing more beautiful than this: to live and die as children of this Mother the Church. Just because the Church is a Mother where the doors are always open, she approaches people always to bring them ‘the living water’ (John 4, 10), which irrigates the garden of their thirsty heart.

The saintly writer and teacher of the prayer who was at the same time founder and missionary on the roads of Spain. Her mystical experiences don’t place her outside the world or the experiences of people. On the contrary, they gave her new impulses and courage for the work and obligations of every day, because ‘the Lord is also between the pots and pans’ (Foundations 5, 8).

She experienced the difficulties of her time, which were very complicated, without giving in to bitter lamentations, but by accepting them in faith and to see them as a challenge towards new steps on her road. ‘Because for God all times are good to give grace to him who serves Him honestly’ (Foundations 4, 5).

Teresa says to us today: pray more, to understand better what happens around you and to arrive at better actions. Prayer conquers pessimism and brings forth good initiatives (Inner castle VII, 4). This is Teresean realism, which calls for actions instead of emotions, to love instead of dreams; the realism of humble love against tiresome asceticism. Sometimes the saint shortens her letters by saying: ‘we are on the way’ as the expression of the urgency to bring the once started task to an end. When the world is in fire, we cannot waste our time with matters of no importance. May she contaminate us all with this holy haste to continue on the paths of our time. With the Gospel in our hand and the Spirit in our hearts.

‘It is time to go on the road’ (Anna of St. Bartolomeus about the last moments of Teresa). These words of Teresa of Avila, shortly before her death, are the synthesis of her life and become for us, and in particular for the Carmelite Family, her city companions from Avila and all Spaniards, a precious legacy which we must keep and enrich.

Dear brother, with my kind regards, I say to everybody: it is time to set off, to go on the roads of joy, prayer, fraternity and our time, lived as grace. Let us go on the life journey in the hands of Teresa. Her footsteps lead us always to Jesus. I ask you, please pray for me, because I need it. May Jesus bless you and the Blessed Virgin watch over you.

With fraternal greetings,

Francis.

[Email: nolvanvugr@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 30, 2015.

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