St. Teresa of Jesus 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
This world is not our home. Saint Peter explained, “We are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). Saint John the Evangelist describes his vision of this new world, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them [as their God]. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order has passed away.” (Rev:21:1-4)
How do we become part of this new creation? Saint Paul insists, “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Rom.12:2) The transformation that occurs through the renewal of our mind begins with awareness. This awareness starts with simply discerning a thought. Is the thought, “good and pleasing and perfect?” If not, Saint Paul
commands us to, “…take every thought captive in obedience to Christ.”
Most of us don’t even remember what we say, much less the thoughts that run through our minds to occasion it. How could such fleeting impressions be of any importance? Yet, every thought and absolutely every vocalization of a thought into a shared expression has enormous power. Have you ever contemplated the power of a single thought and how everything in our existence is the result of thought? Nothing can come into being that has not first been thought. That makes our thoughts the building blocks of how we create and interpret existence. Beliefs are a collection of individual thoughts, as the bases of our choices, decisions, and judgments and these form the materialization of our consciousness into actions. Repeated ways of acting become behaviors and this whole process is the stream of consciousness that comprises the substance of our lives and defines our character. In other words, be aware of your thoughts, they become your words. Be aware of your words, they become your actions. Be aware of your actions, they become your behaviors. Be aware of your behaviors, they become your character. And be aware of your character, because it becomes your destiny!
Our actions also have a communal dimension as they contribute to the body of Christ or the social order defining the moral fabric and nature of the systems, structures and groups which we form and live in. Actions impact the world around us (helping or harming–ourselves, our neighbors, and our environment) for good or ill. Our lives are continuing encounters with this external world and our character is the person we become in and through such encounters. We grow by facing crises and challenges, and by responding to fresh opportunities in each moment. Developing the ability to risk, to change, to face new challenges, to be open to new ways of thinking, and to suffer the loss of old habits requires courage, prudence, love, faith, hope and a commitment to higher intentions and goals. Such virtues help us to grow, to unfold, and to realize a greater degree of our potential as flourishing human persons. This power to unfold is more than just a choice, it is a sustained commitment to expand, freely and intentionally, beyond present boundaries and limits. The renewal of our mind, requires elevating our perception from a worldly view to a spiritual understanding. When one of life’s situations goes awry, like the current suffering associated with COVID-19, we have an opportunity to demonstrate our faith, in an all-powerful, all-knowing and all- loving God and our hope in his will for our future as we embrace what seems unacceptable with love, peace, and joy.
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.