The Spiritual Life: St. Teresa of Avila and Pope Francis, Pt. 4

Authored by Fr. Jean-François Lefebvre in Issue #1.4 of The Catechetical Review

This article is the final in a series on the spiritual life commemorating the five hundredth anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila.

From the moment of her conversion, a wellspring of joy sprang up in Teresa’s heart from its most inner “dwelling place,” and she wanted to share this wellspring with others. She proposes the image of two large basins of water in a garden to explain the essential feature in her new life of prayer, source of this wellspring:

With one, the water comes from far away through many aqueducts and the use of much ingenuity; with the other the source of the water is right there, and the trough fills without any noise (…). There is no need of any skill, nor does the building of aqueducts have to continue; but water is always flowing from the spring.[i]

For our Doctor of the Church, the first basin symbolizes the work of the Spirit in meditation. It produces joy, but it is a human joy, the joy produced by a work well done. The second basin symbolizes contemplation, which invites God’s pure gift, which is so abundant that the capacity of the basin is too small to receive all the water. Never mind that, says Teresa: the Lord himself will enlarge the basin,[ii] according to this Psalm verse:

I run the way of your commandments, for you enlarge my understanding [literally: my heart] (Ps 119:32).[iii]

Thus the basin will grow as it is filled by water. This dilation of the heart filled by love and joy cannot be the fruit of human work. “There is no need of any skill,” only a loving faith is necessary.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting editor@catechetics.com

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Kerygmatic Catechesis and the New Directory
By Dr. James Pauley
Free The much-anticipated Directory for Catechesis is finally here! So many of us involved in the work of catechetical renewal have eagerly awaited its publication. This directory is the third of its kind, following 1971 and 1997 directories that each proposed a vision for catechesis intended to prepare Catholics to live in the modern world as well-... Read more
An Invitation to a Faithful, Dynamic Renewal of Catechesis
By Jem Sullivan
Free This article explores c hapters 1-2 of the new Directory for Catechesis. The publication of a Directory for Catechesis by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization could not have arrived at a more providential moment as the universal Church seeks a renewal of Christian faith in local churches struggling through the effects... Read more
Becoming Windows for the Light of the Living God
By Brad Bursa
This article explores chapters 3-4 of the Directory for Catechesis. O ne could liken c hapters t hree (The Catechist) and f our (The Formation of Catechists) of the new Directory for Catechesis to a meditation on windows and how they are made. Identity and Vocation of the Catechist In the early Church, those who followed the Way were often called... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now