After a series of mysterious illnesses, the most serious of which almost resulted in death, she began to rethink her attitude, which led to a very deep interior conversion. She realized through this process that she had lived in religious life for nearly 20 years and had done nothing to show her love and gratitude for all that Jesus had done for her and for the world. She was so horrified at this that she began to do penance and to change her prayer habits. The result of her experience is that she began to truly fall in love with Jesus, recognizing that His love was so great that she could only respond in love to Him. She grew in holiness and in prayer, such that she became a mystic and wrote many books for her sisters on the practice of prayer. She reformed the Carmelites, bringing about more depth in their prayer and community living. Interestingly, in religious life she was known as Sr. Teresa of Jesus; the name she chose when she entered truly became her identity. Indeed for her, the emphasis was on the latter part of her name. She was Teresa of Jesus, for Jesus, and in love with Jesus.
We also celebrate St. Luke the Evangelist this week. Luke was a convert from Greek paganism who came to devote his life to spreading the gospel. He was converted to the faith by none other than St. Paul, with whom he traveled until Paul's martyrdom. The love of Jesus was so important to Luke that love and its effects, especially joy and peace, are major themes of the gospel. He began by telling the love story of Mary and God, how God chose her from among all women and filled her womb with love beyond all telling. The love story continues as Luke told of the joy and peace that came to her, and which comes to all who allow the love of Jesus to transform their lives. Everything Luke wrote about in his gospel is centered on God's love which has burst into our lives through the giving of Jesus, who left us His love in the form of the Holy Spirit after He ascended to Heaven. Jesus was the center of Luke's life, just as He is the center of the life of every saint or holy one. For Luke, as for the others, it is not as important that we know of their love for Jesus, but that we know of His for us, and that we develop a close relationship with Him, too.
May we be inspired to seek Jesus in everything we do! May we call upon the Holy Spirit for an increase in faith, hope, and love! May we see Jesus in our brothers and sisters, especially those who are most in need! May we have hearts for greater love of Jesus so that we may grow in holiness! And may we know of the presence of Jesus in our own hearts so that we may come to know ever more clearly how much He loves us! Let us continue to meet in the Heart of Jesus! Peace!
©Michele L. Catanese
Here is a link to the lyrics and also to a link to the version of the song Give Me Jesus by Jeremy Camp. http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jeremycamp/givemejesus.html
The photos are mine. The first one is a rock formation in an area in the Black Hills of South Dakota called the Needles. If you look closely you will see the heart shaped opening in the cleft of the rock.
The icon is St. Teresa of Avila: Doctor of the Church by Fr. William Hart McNichols. It can be found at http://www.fatherbill.org/all-categories/product/80-st-teresa-of-avila-doctor-of-the-church
The next painting is of Jesus revealing His Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque found at http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/pictures/10_16_margaret_mary5.jpg
The final two photos are also mine. The first was taken on Copper Mountain in Colorado and the last was taken at Sylvan Lake in South Dakota.