St. Teresa of Avila Novena
O most loving Heavenly Father! We thank you for the great gift you gave us through your beloved St. Teresa of Avila, virgin and doctor of the Church. Her life was a great example of prayer, sacrifice and faith in You. We humbly pray for her most holy intercession… (Mention your intentions)
St. Teresa, we know that you are a powerful intercessor because of your close relationship to the Holy Mother and Jesus through prayer. Open wide the doors to the interior castle of our hearts and souls so that we may know how to pray! Pray for us, that we may have the gift of prayer. St. Teresa of Avila, you are an example of prayerful holiness that we will try to follow. You are in heaven praising God. With your seat of honor, please beg God to bring me to eternal rest with you.
Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be…
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us! Amen
About the author: Erin Foord has been a Secular Discalced Carmelite for 40 years. He served as President of the California-Arizona Provincial Council from 2014-2017. He gave this conference as part of an Ongoing Formation class for the Santa Clara , CA OCDS community.
As an illustration of our minds being occupied with earthly things, the following is an excerpt from CS Lewis’s book, The Screwtape Letters, which is a novel where a senior demon (Screwtape) is writing to a junior demon (Wormwood) on how to best distract Christians from hearing and focusing on the promptings of God. Screwtape writes to Wormwood, “So engrained is their appetite for Heaven that our best method, at this stage, of attaching them to earth is to make them believe that earth can be turned into Heaven at some future date by politics. He writes,
“My Dear Wormwood,
Be sure that the patient remains completely fixated on politics. Arguments, political gossip, and obsessing on the faults of people they have never met serves as an excellent distraction from advancing in personal virtue, character, and the things the patient can control. Make sure to keep the patient in a constant state of angst, frustration, and general disdain towards the rest of the human race in order to avoid any kind of charity or inner peace from further developing. Ensure the patient continues to believe that the problem is “out there” in the “broken system” rather than recognizing there is a problem with himself.
Keep up the good work, – Uncle Screwtape”
I hope that none of you identify with those lines. I confess that I do and it is something I need to be vigilant about making a concerted effort to be consciously detached from.
When our disordered cravings and desires are threatened or unrealized, as will always be the case to one degree or another, it can engender a host of negative emotions that preoccupy, distract, and do us harm. When our disordered expectations are threatened, our attachments invite fear, worry, and distress into our life. As this continues over time, fear can intensify to anxiety and paranoia. When progress towards the fulfillment of our expectations is consistently less than desired we experience frustration, boredom, cynicism, and despair. These harmful emotions dominate our consciousness and keep us from perceiving clearly. We become quick to blame others for our frustrations and adept at rationalizing the real or imagined impairments to our misguided hopes. We lash out with feelings of suspicion, anger, and resentment. We bring this on ourselves when we attempt to control and manipulate other people and situations to comply with our disordered desires.
What are some of the attachments that disturb you? What are the situations that hinder you from being loving and respectful to others? Are you attached to personal ideas, to political views, to personal concepts about God, and how to serve Him? Are you attached to being “right” and find pleasure in pointing out how others are “wrong”? Do you get upset when things don’t go your way, revealing a desire for external power and control over people and situations?