Tuesday, October 15, 2013

St. Teresa of Avila and the Interior Castle: Daily Mass Homily--Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

           St. Teresa of Avila exemplifies St. Paul’s exhortation: “Brothers and sisters: I am not ashamed of the Gospel.  It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.”
            Teresa wrote one of my favorite books—one of five books every Catholic should read—The Interior Castles.  She writes in a vivid yet tender way as she describes God as a friend to whom we should not walk to, but run to.  God is at the center of the seven rooms (castles, mansions) in our souls, and it is our job to draw near to Him.
            One of the great images of the book is the temptations we all face.  She describes them as lizards and reptiles that try to scare us from entering deeper into the castle.  At times they even try to coax us away from progressing.  Last night I was paging through this book and I saw a note I had written, “What are my reptiles?”  It is a good question.  When we can name what distracts us from God we can better overcome these obstacles.  What are your reptiles?
            Finally, I appreciate how St. Teresa gives a tool to track spiritual progress.  Most of us, if we were asked to describe where we are at spiritually, would respond, “Not nearly far enough.”  While this is true, we don’t often recognize the growth that has occurred in our own faith journey.  Reading through her book showed me that, while I am certainly not in the seventh room, I am through the first few.  You are all here at daily Mass.  You got up this morning and made through a cold rainy day to come to Church.  This shows that you have experienced conversion in your life and are progressing spiritually. 
            On the Memorial of Teresa of Avila we pray for the grace to advance in our spiritual lives to God, Who is our best friend.  As we do so we ask St. Teresa of Avila—pray for us.

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