One of the great reformers in the history of the Church is St. Teresa of Avila. On Thursday, October 15th, we celebrate her feast day! The 16th century was tumultuous in the Church. Luther, Calvin, Henry VIII, and others fractured the Church and severed ties with their brothers and sisters in faith.
The Church was in need of reform. Instead of splitting off from the Church, St. Teresa worked tirelessly to change and reform her Carmelite Order. She founded new monasteries of women and, with the help of St. John of the Cross, brought about change in the Carmelite friars too. Born in 1515, she lived for 67 years and died two years after the papal decree acknowledging a new group of Carmelites who follow the reforms of St. Teresa and St. John came to be in 1580 (the Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCD)).
We have descendants of St. Teresa here in Savannah! The Carmelite sisters at Our Lady of Confidence Monastery on Coffee Bluff live in the charism of St. Teresa. I, too, am a son of Teresa. I am a member of the secular branch of the Discalced Carmelites (OCDS). The Carmelite family in the tradition of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross consist of the Sisters, the Friars, and the Seculars – all one family. Of the members of the secular arm, quite a few are members of St. James! Please keep me in your prayers as I make my first promise in November!
“Nada te turbe.” One of the quotes from St. Teresa that I like the most reads, “Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you. All things are passing, God is unchanging. Patience gains all; nothing is lacking to those who have God: God alone is sufficient.”
In these trying times, I receive great comfort and guidance from that little quote! Perhaps we can all take these words to heart. Many things are in turmoil and it looks like God is absent here and there. Cities are burning. People are anxious. Society is in upheaval. Things are uncertain. But remember, “Nada te turbe.” We are men and women of faith. Let us walk in faith and strength!
May the Lord bless you and your families abundantly this week!
~ Fr. Daniel F. Firmin