Monday, October 15, 2007

A woman named Teresa

Nada te turbe;
nada te espante;
todo se pasa;
Dios no se muda,
la pacienciatodo lo alcanza.
Quien a Dios tiene,nada le falta.
Solo Dios basta.

I first encountered this hymn when I joined the Taize movement in our parish. I was only 15 years old then. The meaning of the lyrics was, of course, beyond me. But the hymn was awesome. Gazing my eyes on the wooden cross surrounded by several candles, the song had an awesome calming effect on me whenever we would sing it.

The lyrics were from a poem believed to have been composed by St. Teresa of Avila. Her disciples found out a copy of this poem in her breviary. Below is a translation of the poem done by Jorge W. Suazo:

Let nothing disturb you.
Nothing dismay you.
All things pass.
But God never changes.
Whoever has God lacks nothing.
If you have only God,
You have more than enough.

Today is her feast. She died on Oct. 15 more than 500 years ago.

Her whole life is a concrete example of how it is to become in constant union with God. What she experienced wasn’t for the faint hearted. She suffered many a trial towards her way to perfection.

In fact, after professing her vows as a Carmelite nun after a year, she fell to serious illness. She was not simply dying. She already died. And when she was brought to life once again, her suffering went on.

It was from her lips that this famous quote came out: "God, if this is the way you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few of them

Even before I was in Canlubang, I realized that I’ve been so much interested to read books on spirituality and prayer. And each book on these genres cannot but quote her or run even a cursory anecdote of her life.

Two days ago, I finished reading a biographical book of St Teresa. Grace from God is common among all saints. I believe that an ordinary mortal, even with his/her willing it, cannot become a Saint without it. But the French author, AndrĂ© Maurois, believed otherwise: “A saint she indeed became, but by force of will.”

I know how my weaknesses can prevent me from becoming a Saint. I will not ask for the grace for me to be one. I don’t have much courage to face the difficulties she experienced. In my prayer this morning, I only ask God for one thing: “let me see her in heaven.”