Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church
(Romans 3:21-30; Luke 11:47-54)
This year marks the 500th anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila’s birth. Interestingly, the Spanish Inquisition condemned her paternal grandfather of falsely converting from Judaism to Christianity. But Teresa’s devotion to the Lord was not in the least insincere. She lifted the decaying Carmelite tradition to new glory. Her written have become classics in Christian spirituality. Her success in the reform of the Carmelite Order buttressed the Church in a period of great trial. Although she was a person of great accomplishment, she adhered to St. Paul’s fundamental insight that humans are saved through faith.
Paul’s own story reflects something of Teresa’s. He was an accomplished Jewish scholar and reformer. Yet he came to realize by reason of a special revelation that his achievements could not bring about his salvation. That was to be done only through faith in Christ Jesus. Paul dedicated the rest of his life to preach that message to the world.
We are wise to ask ourselves if we allow pride to eclipse the salvation won by Christ for us. Often we fail to give due recognition to Christ for the grace to be who we are. We prefer to dwell on our own accomplishments. In the end, however, we should come to realize that personal efforts by themselves are in vain. We need Christ to stay the course and reach our destiny.