“I am Black, But Lovely” (Song of Songs 1.5)

When still young, very young, she ran away from home.
An escapade with her older brother.
In the early morning she left home to go to the land of the Moors.
“There we shall beg for food for the love of God
and hopefully they will behead us.”
One simple way to go straight to heaven – die as a martyr!!
But her ambitious dream evaporated into thin air
when her uncle caught up with them and took them back home!
Her first adventure ended up in a spanking and a laugh!

But the dream remained.
When she grew up
she refused to adapt herself to mediocrity.
She kept aiming high.
“God loves bold people,” she would say.
She knew she was weak.
So she decided to rely not on herself but on Him.
She let God do great things in her life.

God did make her great.
He made a saint out of her.
The Spanish people call her the Saint.
Her name was TERESA AHUMADA DE CEPEDA,
or as we know her today, Saint Teresa of Jesus.
In our Carmelite circles, we call her ‘Teresa The Great’.

She had a daring spirit..
“I am amazed by how much can be accomplished on this path
by being bold and striving for great things.
Even if a soul is not quite strong enough yet,
she can still lift off and take flight.
She can soar to great heights.
But like a fledgling bird, she may tire herself out and need to perch for a while.”
So practical.

“If you work for God,
there is no need to be afraid of being a failure,
because He is strong!”

God made her what she became – a saint.
With hardly any external support,
she managed to establish
a number of monasteries of cloistered nuns
as living centers of real dynamic prayer.
“Everyone knows you are nuns and that your duty is to pray!”
she would tell them.
She even managed to convince some males
to walk in her footsteps
and start living a simpler Carmelite life
who recognize “the friendship and the joy
He gives to those who walk in his ways.”

A unknown anecdote in her life…
When Mother Teresa once entered the kitchen of the monastery,
she was dumbfounded to see one of the Sisters,
Sister Catherine of Christ balancing her way in the kitchen
with a number of pots on her head!

Mother Teresa could not help laughing and remarked:
“Sister, you will definitely go to Heaven laughing!”
And the sister quickly replied:
“What were you saying, Mother?!
Is there any other way to go to heaven?!”

This is the spirit of Saint Teresa.
It can be your spirit too!

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
before you came to birth I consecrated you.
I appointed you as prophet to the nations.
I then said:
‘Ah, Lord Yahweh, you see, I do not know how to speak, I am only a child.’
But Yahweh replied, ‘Do not say, “I am only a child.”
For you must go to all to whom I send you
And say whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of confronting them,
For I am with you to rescue you.’
Yahweh declares.
Then Yahweh stretched out his hand and touched my mouth.”
(Jeremiah 1, 5-9)


 

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.