Thursday, February 16, 2017

Spiritual Direction with St. Teresa of Jesus

Photo: R. Massaro (C) 2017 Spirit Singing

In today's Gospel we hear how the Lord severely reprimands Peter: "Get behind me Satan...!"
(Mk 8: 27-33)

Today's rebuke of St. Peter reminded me of our Holy Mother St. Teresa's teaching on accepting the crosses that the Lord sends to us or those we love.  Many times, we pray that the Lord will remove the cross in their lives, instead of praying that they have the grace to endure it.  Of course, we don't like to see the ones we love suffer, but perhaps the Lord is sending them a trial in order to purify them or strengthen them in virtue.

Here is what St. Teresa says about true spiritual love for another and suffering:

...You may speak about the licit love I mentioned, which we have for one another or for relatives and friends and in which our care is that our loved ones don't die; or, if the other's head aches our souls seem to ache too, and if they suffer trials, it seems that we lose our patience; and other things like that.

Spiritual love is not like this. Even though some grief is at first felt through natural weakness, reason immediately considers whether the trial is good for the one loved, whether there is an enrichment in virtue and how that soul bears the suffering; it asks God to give the other patience and merit in the trials. If this love sees that the other person has patience, no distress is felt; rather it rejoices and is consoled. 
The Way of Perfection, Chapter 7, No. 2,3

We can tell if we are advancing and making progress in virtue when we do not pray to be relieved or spared from trials and tribulations in life. St. Teresa describes this soul:

Now see, I am certain that those who reach perfection do not ask the Lord to free them from trials or temptations or persecutions or struggles. This is another very great and certain effect of contemplation and the favors His Majesty gives...
Way of Perfection, Chap. 38, No. 1

Perhaps we have a "Peter" in our life, one who tries to prevent us from following God's will. They try to help us see our foolishness of taking up our cross and treading on the narrow path of sacrifice, humility, and prayer. Let us be strong in our resolve to follow Jesus on the path he has marked out for us-which should be our delight.

You will show me the path of life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever. (Psalm 16)

Photo: R. Massaro Loyola of the Lakes

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

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