I haven't read the book yet- but I intend to! It takes the lives of four famous Catholic Teresas: St. Teresa of Avila, St Therese of Lisieux (I can never spell that right), St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein), and Mother Teresa.
I also haven't done any spiritual reading for myself in a lonnnnngggg time (shhh! don't tell my spiritual director! ;) He had been wanting me to read stuff from Teresa of Avila ('cause she is a sassy sister and we have a lot in common! ;) and then this literally fell into my lap!
G had each of us (there were four of us besides her gathered) read about one of the Teresas. Wouldn't you know I got my girl Teresa of Avila.
I was struck by her persistence and commitment to battling her vanity and selfishness. Like I said, she was a strong, sassy woman- lots of pride! But she practiced humility in a realistic way. She was aware of her faults, but did not beat herself up about them. She- and all the Teresas- balanced humility and confidence in God well. I have had to learn this practice in humility too! And keep learning it!
The reading on Teresa of Avila also reminded me of something so simple- all of our actions should be motivated by love. For as practical and down to earth as she was, she also had a great, deep love for Jesus. And she let that be the motivating factor in all her actions.
I have learned to surrender things and to do things for Jesus, but even those things can be done out of a different place sometime- out of knowledge or practicality- not always of a conscientious love.
I did do some spiritual reading earlier this week- but it was for my grad class. We read "Disciples of the Lord: Sharing the Vision" which Archbishop Wuerl of DC came up with (I believe) last summer. It is a good read- inspiring and practical. It encourages us practicing Catholics to reach out to those non-practicing or fallen away in a non-confrontational way.
This concept of "re-evangelizing" those who have already heard the Good News of Scripture and the Church is what JP2 called the "New Evangelization". So, reaching out to people who have been catechized but no longer practice or aka- a large percentage of Catholics, unfortuantely.
To do this, we have to come out of a place of love. It can't be motivated by pride or just merely knowledge. It has to be motivated by love, which goes back to my Teresa of Avila reminder. I DO feel called to New Evangelization, in whatever state in life I might be called to. I have been priveleged to work with teens in a very strong Catholic diocese. They know their faith. The challenge is making it meaningful for them. This where I believe the New Evangelization comes in.
So this week has put me back on a path of digging into spiritual reading for myself so that I might live this call I feel to New Evangelization. And above all, the call to do all things with love.