Saint Teresa of Avila’s personality exuded passion and vibrancy. Shaker and mover. Trailblazer. Leader. Motivator. Her life personifies those fiery words first uttered by the prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel: “With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of Hosts!” (1 Kings 19:10).
One word that Saint Teresa did not have in her vocabulary was half-way. Rather, the words she expressed showed her energetic fullness of life – words such as, “Have courage!” “Decide!” “Higher.” In a word, “I want to see God.”
It was the same with her prayer. Saint Teresa used an hourglass filled with sand to time her hour of quiet prayer. At the beginning of the hour, she would turn it over and when the sand had run through, the hour was up. A nun in her convent commented that she would see Saint Teresa shaking the hourglass as she tried to make the hour go faster! This story tells us that even the mystics and the saints – for St. Teresa was both of these – had days when praying was difficult.
Mother Luisita spent hour after hour on her knees before the Blessed Sacrament. Hers was a different personality – interior, quiet, reflective. Yet she, too, abhorred mediocrity: “Adelante! Onward! God will provide!” “Please God and let the world roll by!” “Look to God, your soul and eternity. All the rest is a puff of smoke!”
Two women. One a saint, and the other on the road to sainthood. Completely opposite in personality yet alike in values, principles, and goals. Both were souls of prayer. Both wanted their relationship with Him to grow ever deeper. Neither held back and both lived to the fullest the exhortation from Deuteronomy: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole mind, and with your whole strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5).
Both made time for prayer in the midst of their amazingly busy lives. Both were contemplatives, yet different personalities, but united in basic values and principles, eager to grow closer to God through prayer.
Mother Luisita wrote, “I feel the necessity of prayer. It is my consolation and hope because without the help of God our Lord, I can do nothing. I am like a dry stick as regards doing anything that’s good, and bad weeds grow in my soul with great velocity and strength whenever I neglect prayer.”
This can be applied to you and me. To all of us, actually. To pray as we can, not as we can’t. To realize that each person’s prayer language is utterly unique. To prevent the weeds of mediocrity and laziness from growing in the garden of our souls. Rather, may we take our interior life of prayer more seriously and consider it a priority in our daily lives. Prayer is not something! It is directed to Someone.
Saint Teresa, pray for us!
Mother Luisita, pray for us!