Simple Words Guided by the Hand of God Part III , a short story by harrylime. Date added: 2012-07-02. Times viewed: 847.
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- Intro: The final installment of the Life Story of Saint Teresa of Avila.
SIMPLE WORDS GUIDED BY THE HAND OF GOD PART III
Saint Teresa of Avila is one of the most respected of the recognized Saints of the Catholic Church. In parts I and II, we learned how she lived her life of dedication to the service of God. Much of the opposition that she faced was due more to political intrigue and internal Church “Turf Warfare” rather than any true displeasure with her pious beliefs.
In her earlier convent years, Saint Teresa was mentored by the Society of Jesus and she often turned to Jesuit priests for advice and spiritual guidance. In her middle years and in times of stress, she later turned to the learned priests of the Dominican Order. They instructed on the ways she could navigate the twisting paths of Church teachings without causing unnecessary friction.
Saint John of the Cross, an early follower of Teresa’s reform efforts, gave her insight to psychological influences for meditation and the appreciation for true Divine Grace. Both Saint Teresa and Saint John of the Cross wrote inspired works on the process of “Mystical Theology”. In fact, the great work by Saint John of the Cross “Ascent of Mount Carmel” addressed the teachings of Saint Teresa. Teresa had scant training in Theology but described Church Doctrine with perfection in every word in her own revealing work “Interior Castle”. His brilliant work merely attested to the accuracy of her guiding words.
Over the Centuries that followed her time on earth, many learned Theologians have used Saint Teresa’s and Saint John of the Cross’s very words to explain and defend their theories.
Saint Teresa of Avila’s Feast Day is October 15. That is the day to celebrate her dedicated life and her revelation of the word of God.
It is important to consider the special feat accomplished by Saint Teresa of Avila. She was the first female member of the clergy to establish an order for males. Historically, it was the male order which was established first and then the convents of nuns would follow. By the time she died in 1582, her Discalced Carmelite order had become validated by the Pope as a recognized order of the Roman Catholic Church.
No less than 3 Pontifical “Bulls” between 1580 and 1605 gave full credence to the new Discalced Carmelite order as being the replacement for the original Carmelite order. In order to simplify the progression, it is easier to think of the Discalced Carmelite Monasteries as the “First of the Orders” and the Discalced Carmelite Convents as the “Second of the Orders” and the secular Carmelites as the “Third of the Orders.”
The obstacles to the establishment of this important Order were many and physically stressful.
It has been said that “Mighty Oaks grow from small acorns”. Thus it was with the Order of the Discalced Carmelites.
The original congregations consisted of the Spanish Order and of the Italian Order. Later, other congregations were added that included in a larger degree, the members of the Secular Order or “Third Order”. As the Centuries passed, the Tertiary Order became more numerous than the monasteries and the convents.
The Rule of the Third Order of the Teresian Carmel became predominant and Teresa’s reform continued in future Orders of the Carmelite movement. The spirit of prayer remained as the central theme and Teresa’s style of mental prayer was the driving force that motivated both the convents and the monasteries. This also applied to those giving their service to God under the Tertiary Order.
Not until the Vatican Council of 1970 did the Church make concessions to the Third order to allow both males and females to proceed on a slower path to a full vocation.
At the time of the Vatican Council, the statistics of the Order of Discalced Carmelites indicated the following levels:
FIRST ORDER: 357 Monasteries with 3,687 Monks.
SECOND ORDER: 783 Convents with 13,364 Sisters.
THIRD ORDER: 365 Fraternities with 50,000 members.
Devotion to Saint Teresa of Avila continues to inspire both clergy and lay-people alike. Her dedication to the service of God makes her one of the most revered Saints of the Roman Catholic Church.
(This concludes the short life story of Saint Teresa of Avila. The next life story of a Saint will be the life story of Saint John of the Cross, the male counterpart to Saint Teresa of Avila in the establishment of the Order of Discalced Carmelites.) Final Note: This 3 part short story of the Life of Saint Teresa of Avila is by no means either complete or scholarly in its presentation. The author has made every effort to stick with facts and not interject fiction or subjective opinion. June 2012 with the Grace of God.
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