Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Saint Teresa of Avila 9: October 15, St. Teresa’s Feastday

img_5653
Photo credit:thespeakroom.org

Teach me your ways, oh Blessed Trinity

Teach me your ways, oh Creator of earth,
Born before the beginning of time.
In your cavernal womb,
Envelop me in loving secrecy.
Breathe into me the cool breath of life
From walls that have carried waters and springs eternal.
That I may never forget,
In the beginning, I was dust,
Formed into beauty by the Word,
Hidden beneath the stillness of Grace.

Here am I, Lord.
For I am nothing,
and You are everything
In all that I am,
and in all that I will be.- TL

Editor’s note: Saint John of the Cross’s sepulcre is located on the grounds of the Segovia Carmelite Friars Monastery.  St. John spent his later years praying in caves like the one in this photo, which is the same as mentioned in Father Robert’s homily below.  This homily was Father Robert’s final talk of the 2015 Pilgrimage to Spain in celebration of Saint Teresa’s Centenary. I wrote the prayer above after spending an extended time of silence in this cave.

Saint Teresa’s soul was prepared and marinated, like the meat Wisdom speaks of at the beginning of Proverbs, by the gifts of the Spirit. What does it mean to marinate meat? Those of you who have had more experience than I have know all the different spices that have to come in – oregano, the wine to receive the juices. Then it has to be refrigerated overnight to allow the meat to marinate, to soak up the juices of all the spices and flavors of the choice wines.

This is how our soul must be. Carmelites [pray novenas and] go to pilgrimages so as to marinate our souls in the spirit of Saint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Avila. We haven’t yet begun to fully see the effects these experiences can have on us. The fruits are still concealed when we return home and to our daily lives. The effects of how, our prayerful experiences in some way have imprinted itself upon us in order to shape us in some fashion will not be obvious. That spiritual growth and change usually takes place as an experience of God, but that encounter and experience is not necessarily going to be something overwhelming, something that can be fully grasped by our senses. That experience and encounter can be very subtle, very gentle, and even hidden from ourselves. Nevertheless, it is real, living and active in our spirits.

In Segovia, there is a large cave with a curtain at its entrance, and if you go into that cave, it is very dark. You don’t see anything that would really engage the senses. It doesn’t have all the baroque, gorgeous displays of the grandeur of God, as can be seen in many churches. In fact, the cave is the opposite; it’s poor, it’s barren, it’s dark, it’s cold, and it’s empty. Yet in the midst of that emptiness is a plump Presence and a supernatural peace. In that darkness, is the center of where God dwells. Hidden, unseen, and yet living and active, and ever so present.

When God speaks in the depths of our spirit, our senses cannot perceive how He is present, but He is certainly present. In the midst of His hiddenness, God is marinating us. He is planting seeds and the change, the effects, the fruits of the conversion that this encounter is meant to have isn’t necessarily going to be something extreme or clearly radical. It’ll be very subtle as well. We will see it in the subtlety of our choices, the subtlety of our drive, in the orientation of our desires, the subtlety of all the decisions that we make, in all the different opportunities, in how we move our senses, and in what we allow our eyes to look at and to not be engaged in; the subtlety of our choices on what we choose to respond to, and to hold back our tongue; the subtlety of our choices when we have a variety of options and we choose not simply what is good, but what is best. We choose to go from good to better and not settle for less.

This is conversion. This is the kind of change and transformation that is more common and more realistic when conversion takes place. Conversion happens in three primary stages and St. Teresa talks about this in The Interior Castle. There are always different degrees of conversion. St. Teresa herself experienced the fullness of conversion. She is a great theologian of the heart, the theologian of love, a teacher of love and life, a great master of wisdom. She teaches us the way of love, the way of the heart as a way to God through faith, hope, and love. Saint Teresa, pray for us.

Toledo, Spain 2015 (Last Pilgrimage Homily) – transcribed by TL

Copyright 2016, Father Robert Barcelos

Novena to Saint Teresa of Avila (written by St. Alphonsus of Liguori)
O most amiable Lord Jesus Christ! We thank Thee for the great gift of faith and of devotion to the Holy Sacrament, which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits and by those of Thy faithful spouse, to grant us the gift of a lively faith, and of a fervent devotion toward the most Holy Sacrament of the altar; where Thou, O infinite Majesty! hast obliged Thyself to abide with us even to the end of the world, and wherein Thou didst so lovingly give Thy whole Self to us.

Say one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us:

R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray: Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervour of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

‘Arm yourselves with the armor of faith and the sword of truth.  Pray for the grace to forgive and to ask for forgiveness – and for the healing of wounded bodies and souls.’

Dr. Anthony Lilles: Way of Perfection Overview, Saint Teresa of Avila 8

Painting by Father Robert Barcelos, OCD, 2014
Painting by Father Robert Barcelos, OCD, 2014

BTP-WP4 A broad overview of first 18 chapters – The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Avila – Beginning to Pray w/Dr. Anthony Lilles

Novena to Saint Teresa of Avila (written by St. Alphonsus of Liguori)
O most amiable Lord Jesus Christ! We thank Thee for the great gift of faith and of devotion to the Holy Sacrament, which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits and by those of Thy faithful spouse, to grant us the gift of a lively faith, and of a fervent devotion toward the most Holy Sacrament of the altar; where Thou, O infinite Majesty! hast obliged Thyself to abide with us even to the end of the world, and wherein Thou didst so lovingly give Thy whole Self to us.

Say one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us:

R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray: Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervour of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

‘Arm yourselves with the armor of faith and the sword of truth.  Pray for the grace to forgive and to ask for forgiveness – and for the healing of wounded bodies and souls.’

 

Dr. Anthony Lilles: Way of Perfection 3-4, Saint Teresa of Avila 7

Bernini's The Transverberation of Saint Teresa
Bernini’s The Transverberation of Saint Teresa

BTP-WP3 Chaps 3 – 4: The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Avila – Beginning to Pray w/Dr. Anthony Lilles

Novena to Saint Teresa of Avila (written by St. Alphonsus of Liguori)
O most amiable Lord Jesus Christ! We thank Thee for the great gift of faith and of devotion to the Holy Sacrament, which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits and by those of Thy faithful spouse, to grant us the gift of a lively faith, and of a fervent devotion toward the most Holy Sacrament of the altar; where Thou, O infinite Majesty! hast obliged Thyself to abide with us even to the end of the world, and wherein Thou didst so lovingly give Thy whole Self to us.

Say one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us:

R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray: Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervour of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Dr. Anthony Lilles: Way of Perfection 1-2, Saint Teresa of Avila 6

BTP-WP2 Chap 1 – 2: The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Avila – Beginning to Pray w/Dr. Anthony Lilles

CLICK ON THE TRIANGLE ON THE LEFT TO PLAY

Novena to Saint Teresa of Avila (written by St. Alphonsus of Liguori)
O most amiable Lord Jesus Christ! We thank Thee for the great gift of faith and of devotion to the Holy Sacrament, which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits and by those of Thy faithful spouse, to grant us the gift of a lively faith, and of a fervent devotion toward the most Holy Sacrament of the altar; where Thou, O infinite Majesty! hast obliged Thyself to abide with us even to the end of the world, and wherein Thou didst so lovingly give Thy whole Self to us.

Say one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us:

R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray: Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervour of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Dr. Anthony Lilles: Way of Perfection Intro – Saint Teresa of Avila 5

img_2604

 In this podcast, Dr. Anthony Lilles provides an “introduction to the life of Saint Teresa of Ávila, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus, baptized as Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada (28 March 1515 – 4 October 1582).  This opening conversation discusses 16th century Spain, events taking place in the world and the people who associated with Teresa. Dr. Lilles also gives introductions to her various spiritual works and the importance of The Way of Perfection.

CLICK ON THE TRIANGLE ON THE LEFT TO PLAY


Introduction –  Way of Perfection, Dr. Anthony Lilles

SOURCE:  http://www.discerninghearts.com/catholic-podcasts/btp-wp1-introduction-way-perfection-st-teresa-avila-beginning-pray-wdr-anthony-lilles/

Novena to Saint Teresa of Avila (written by St. Alphonsus of Liguori)
O most amiable Lord Jesus Christ! We thank Thee for the great gift of faith and of devotion to the Holy Sacrament, which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits and by those of Thy faithful spouse, to grant us the gift of a lively faith, and of a fervent devotion toward the most Holy Sacrament of the altar; where Thou, O infinite Majesty! hast obliged Thyself to abide with us even to the end of the world, and wherein Thou didst so lovingly give Thy whole Self to us.

Say one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us:

R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray: Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervour of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Saint Teresa of Avila 4

The Purgative Way (1-3)

The Third Mansion – the majority of Christians stay in this mansion because of too-human prudence.  Prayer in this stage includes active recollection, simplified mental prayer, and becomes more the work of the heart – St.Teresa calls this the Prayer of Simplicity. The prominent Gift of the Spirit is Fortitude.  Ascetic exercise, penance, and meditative prayer are essential, for we must do everything we can to get to know the humanity of Christ, using our imaginations so that we grow in our love for Jesus as we understand His love for us.

The life of prayer in the Purgative Way is what Saint Teresa calls, ‘the first water.’ To grow in prayer, we must desire it, and have ‘determined determination.’

Many enter the Third Mansion, but very few leave it.

CLICK ON THE TRIANGLE ON THE LEFT TO PLAY

SOURCE: Santa Clara OCDS Meeting, 2014 All Rights Reserved

Novena to Saint Teresa of Avila (written by St. Alphonsus of Liguori)
O most amiable Lord Jesus Christ! We thank Thee for the great gift of faith and of devotion to the Holy Sacrament, which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits and by those of Thy faithful spouse, to grant us the gift of a lively faith, and of a fervent devotion toward the most Holy Sacrament of the altar; where Thou, O infinite Majesty! hast obliged Thyself to abide with us even to the end of the world, and wherein Thou didst so lovingly give Thy whole Self to us.

Say one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us:

R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray: Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervour of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.


Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Saint Teresa of Avila 3

The Purgative Way (Mansions 1-3)

The Third Mansion – a mature friendship with God. We have a well-regulated spiritual life, a conscientious moral life, and an active life of charity. Prayers move from simple petitions to a necessity and longing of the soul. We consecrate ourselves to God in a new way. The predominant faults in this stage are in the thought life of the person: criticism, harsh judgment, easily scandalized, complaining, phariseeism, and egoism.

CLICK ON THE TRIANGLE ON THE LEFT TO PLAY

SOURCE: Santa Clara OCDS Meeting, 2014 All Rights Reserved

Novena to Saint Teresa of Avila (written by St. Alphonsus of Liguori)
O most amiable Lord Jesus Christ! We thank Thee for the great gift of faith and of devotion to the Holy Sacrament, which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits and by those of Thy faithful spouse, to grant us the gift of a lively faith, and of a fervent devotion toward the most Holy Sacrament of the altar; where Thou, O infinite Majesty! hast obliged Thyself to abide with us even to the end of the world, and wherein Thou didst so lovingly give Thy whole Self to us.

Say one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us:

R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray: Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervour of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Saint Teresa of Avila 2

The Purgative Way (Mansions 1-3)

The Second Mansion – This stage requires great battle and we experience increased temptations to turn back, especially through False Humility. It is crucial that we renounce temptations immediately before they grow and take root.  We must willfully and voluntarily mortify our senses so that we discipline and cultivate virtues in our lower faculties.  Spiritual readings, spiritual direction, spiritual friendships, and holy meditation, are helpful in overcoming these new trials.  The primary Gift of the Spirit here is Piety and Reverence.

CLICK ON THE TRIANGLE ON THE LEFT TO PLAY

SOURCE: Santa Clara OCDS Meeting, 2014 All Rights Reserved

Novena to Saint Teresa of Avila (written by St. Alphonsus of Liguori)
O most amiable Lord Jesus Christ! We thank Thee for the great gift of faith and of devotion to the Holy Sacrament, which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits and by those of Thy faithful spouse, to grant us the gift of a lively faith, and of a fervent devotion toward the most Holy Sacrament of the altar; where Thou, O infinite Majesty! hast obliged Thyself to abide with us even to the end of the world, and wherein Thou didst so lovingly give Thy whole Self to us.

Say one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us:

R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray: Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervour of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: St Teresa of Avila 1

The Purgative Way (Mansions 1-3)

In this conference Father Robert discusses the stages of the Prayer and Love relationship with God.

The First Mansion – is friendship with God, but not a deep personal relationship. The common form of prayer in this stage is Vocal Prayer – communal prayers, the rosary, and Mass prayers. The primary gift of the Spirit is Fear of the Lord

The Second Mansion – is an active life of friendship with God, the beginning of a personal relationship with Jesus, and the first desires to grow spiritually. The true self begins to emerge, and we begin to genuinely examine our conscience. We enter the beginnings of a new form of Prayer, Recollection/Meditation. Spiritual pride is prevalent in this stage, and so are dryness, trials, and discouragement.

SOURCE: Santa Clara OCDS Meeting, 2014 All Rights Reserved

Novena to Saint Teresa of Avila (written by St. Alphonsus of Liguori)
O most amiable Lord Jesus Christ! We thank Thee for the great gift of faith and of devotion to the Holy Sacrament, which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits and by those of Thy faithful spouse, to grant us the gift of a lively faith, and of a fervent devotion toward the most Holy Sacrament of the altar; where Thou, O infinite Majesty! hast obliged Thyself to abide with us even to the end of the world, and wherein Thou didst so lovingly give Thy whole Self to us.

Say one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us:

R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray: Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervour of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Brother Juan Torres, OCD: Saint Teresa of Avila 2

tr_e100f9c9437c67e8a0e90aa4c765195f7722

A melody to God.

It is always good to return to the sources of our spirituality and vocation, to reflect, and to ask ourselves if we really know the great treasure we have in our saints. Do we really know them? Do we really love their testimony? Do we approach them regularly? How have they helped us to live more consciously, our identities as Catholic Christians, and particularly as Discalced Carmelites, as Secular Carmelites, and as Teresian Carmelites?

These are questions that we can ask ourselves in our groups and churches, but we have to also personally think about how much interest we really have in the life and teachings of our saints. These wonderful saints are Doctors of the Church, and whose spirit and charism we intend to live by. However, one popular saying says, “You cannot love what you do not know.” As members of the Carmelite Order, in particular, we can’t simply know the saints, but we must strive every day to approach them, let them be our teachers, and let them form us and teach us. They can tell us how to become true disciples of Christ to our world today, and how to be true Carmelites.

In August 2015, I saw the places where St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross once lived. The experience made me reflect often of the many ways St. Teresa uses to explain her spiritual process and relationship with God. She uses images like the castle, comparisons like the chess game, natural elements like water and fire, or the transformation of the butterfly.  I too want to use a symbol to explain this spiritual reflection.

Life is like a melody, and every day is a different note that builds our lives’ harmony. For a melody to be complete and above all to make it a masterpiece, different musical notes that give the changes and nuances are necessary. For example, of all Beethoven symphonies, the Sixth Symphony [click on the link to listen–] is one of my favorites; it is a truly beautiful piece. Every one of its movements, each musical instrument and every note plays an important role in the harmony. There are times that the melody seems sad, others when it’s calm and quiet, while others are anxious musical moments that break into glorious moments, but later return to calm.

Similarly, our lives are a melody and every day we live is a musical note; all the notes are important in building a harmonic melody, so that together, every single note is part of a masterpiece; all our experiences are necessary and we must learn to find beauty moment by moment, measure by measure.

More importantly, the melody of our life is not for us, but is a melody that we are creating to delight Someone. This melody of our life is for God; it is a song, a hymn in his honor. And this symphony of our lives will be completed at the end of our days; it is our responsibility to keep composing a beautiful melody and not a musical disaster.

The life of St. Teresa was a song that she entitled “The Mercies of the Lord.” In fact the original title that she gave to the book of her life, was of the “The Mercies of the Lord.” Mother St. Teresa ‘s life was not easy, and it was full of different experiences and situations. Sometimes, the events were joyful but others were very painful. Many of her experiences were of difficulties, while others were of spiritual peace. God was present in her life always – whether she lived in coldness or dryness, and whether she lived the graces of union with God or when the fire of love wounded her heart. She also experienced physical diseases and had to suffer slanders and misunderstandings.

Every note of Teresa’s life was a melody to God. This melody started to be written in Avila on March 28, 1515, and was finished in Alba de Tormes on the evening of October 15, 1582. Today, we have the privilege of seeing, hearing, and learning from this masterpiece. She can inspire us, give us light, and advice us in the creation of our own melody. Saint Teresa, pray for us.

Copyright Brother Juan Torres 2016, All rights reserved

Novena to Saint Teresa of Avila (written by St. Alphonsus of Liguori)
O most amiable Lord Jesus Christ! We thank Thee for the great gift of faith and of devotion to the Holy Sacrament, which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits and by those of Thy faithful spouse, to grant us the gift of a lively faith, and of a fervent devotion toward the most Holy Sacrament of the altar; where Thou, O infinite Majesty! hast obliged Thyself to abide with us even to the end of the world, and wherein Thou didst so lovingly give Thy whole Self to us.

Say one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us:

R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray: Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervour of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

‘Arm yourselves with the armor of faith and the sword of truth.  Pray for the grace to forgive and to ask for forgiveness – and for the healing of wounded bodies and souls.’

If you liked this post, share it by clicking on one of the social media icons.  And if you were inspired or have a prayer request, share that too under the ‘comment’ section!