Feast of St Teresa of Avila. Virgin and Doctor
There is one thing that you can say about the saints and Doctors of the Church, they are all very practical in their approach to the spiritual life. In the reading at this morning’s Office of Readings St Teresa talks about growth in the spiritual life and how a person attains that growth. She begins:
“If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend. And I clearly see that if we expect to please him and receive an abundance of his graces, God desires that these graces must come to us from the hands of Christ, through his most sacred humanity, in which God takes delight.”
It is only in close union, through the receiving of Jesus at Mass, that we get the strength to go on and to persevere in the Christian life. Later Teresa says that even those people who have gone far in the part of perfection should never stray from the fact that Jesus must be with them at all times if they are to succeed in living Christian lives.
However, and this is very important for us who are struggling with the world and all that it throws at us, Jesus wants to give us the grace to grow and to come to see the truth and what living in the truth entails. We are human beings, weak and fallible, but Jesus is with us, guiding and directing, as long as we allow him to dwell in us. Persistence in sin, even venial sin, is a sure way to drive him out: receiving communion, sharing with other like minded people and being part of a Christian community, builds us up and helps us to overcome the world.