FEAST OF ST. TERESA OF AVILA – MASS PROPERS

OCTOBER 15 FEAST DAY OF St. Teresa of Avila - Peter Paul Rubens

St. Teresa of Avila – Virgin, Religious Foundress, Doctor of the Church

(1515 –1582)

Teresa of Ávila, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus. She was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and foundress of the Discalced Carmelites along with John of the Cross.

Teresa’s mother, Beatriz de Ahumada y Cuevas, was especially keen to raise her daughter as a pious Christian. Teresa was fascinated by accounts of the lives of the saints, and ran away from home at age seven with her brother Rodrigo to find martyrdom among the Moors. Her uncle stopped them as he was returning to the town, having spotted the two outside the town walls.

When Teresa was 14 her mother died, causing the girl a profound grief that prompted her to embrace a deeper devotion to the Virgin Mary as her spiritual mother. Teresa was sent for her education to the Augustinian nuns at Ávila.

Teresa entered a Carmelite Monastery of the Incarnation in Ávila, Spain, on 2 November 1535. She found herself increasingly in disharmony with the spiritual malaise prevailing at the Incarnation. Among the 150 nuns living there, the observance of cloister — designed to protect and strengthen the spirit and practice of prayer became so lax that it actually lost its very purpose. The daily invasion of visitors, many of high social and political rank, vitiated the atmosphere with frivolous concerns and vain conversations. These violations of the solitude absolutely essential to progress in genuine contemplative prayer grieved Teresa to the extent that she longed to do something.

In the cloister, she suffered greatly from illness. Early in her sickness, she experienced periods of religious ecstasy through the use of the devotional book Tercer abecedario espiritual, translated as the Third Spiritual Alphabet (published in 1527 and written by Francisco de Osuna). This work, following the example of similar writings of medieval mystics, consisted of directions for examinations of conscience and for spiritual self-concentration and inner contemplation (known in mystical nomenclature as oratio recollectionis or oratio mentalis). She also employed other mystical ascetic works such as the Tractatus de oratione et meditatione of Saint Peter of Alcantara, and perhaps many of those upon which Saint Ignatius of Loyola based his Spiritual Exercises and possibly the Spiritual Exercises themselves.

She claimed that during her illness she rose from the lowest stage, “recollection”, to the “devotions of silence” or even to the “devotions of ecstasy”, which was one of perfect union with God

During this final stage, she said she frequently experienced a rich “blessing of tears.” As the Catholic distinction between mortal and venial sin became clear to her, she says she came to understand the awful terror of sin and the inherent nature of original sin. She also became conscious of her own natural impotence in confronting sin, and the necessity of absolute subjection to God.

Around 1556, various friends suggested that her newfound knowledge was diabolical, not divine. She began to inflict various tortures and mortifications of the flesh upon herself. But her confessor, the Jesuit Saint Francis Borgia, reassured her of the divine inspiration of her thoughts. On St. Peter’s Day in 1559, Teresa became firmly convinced that Jesus Christ presented himself to her in bodily form, though invisible. These visions lasted almost uninterrupted for more than two years. In another vision, a seraph drove the fiery point of a golden lance repeatedly through her heart, causing an ineffable spiritual-bodily pain.

St. Teresa Of Avila -

I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it…

The memory of this episode served as an inspiration throughout the rest of her life, and motivated her lifelong imitation of the life and suffering of Jesus, epitomized in the motto usually associated with her: Lord, either let me suffer or let me die.

The incentive to give outward practical expression to her inward motive was inspired in Teresa by the Franciscan priest Saint Peter of Alcantara who became acquainted with her early in 1560, and became her spiritual guide and counselor. She now resolved to found a reformed Carmelite convent, correcting the laxity which she had found in the Cloister of the Incarnation and others. Guimara de Ulloa, a woman of wealth and a friend, supplied the funds. Teresa worked for many years encouraging Spanish Jewish converts to follow Christianity.

The absolute poverty of the new monastery, established in 1562 and named St. Joseph’s (San José), at first excited a scandal among the citizens and authorities of Ávila, and the little house with its chapel was in peril of suppression; but powerful patrons, including the bishop himself, as well as the impression of well-secured subsistence and prosperity, turned animosity into applause.

In March 1563, when Teresa moved to the new cloister, she received the papal sanction to her prime principle of absolute poverty and renunciation of property, which she proceeded to formulate into a “Constitution”. Her plan was the revival of the earlier, stricter rules, supplemented by new regulations such as the three disciplines of ceremonial flagellation prescribed for the divine service every week, and the discalceation of the nun. For the first five years, Teresa remained in pious seclusion, engaged in writing.

During the last three years of her life, Teresa founded convents at Villanueva de la Jara in northern Andalusia (1580), Palencia (1580), Soria (1581), Burgos, and Granada (1582).

Her last words were: “My Lord, it is time to move on. Well then, may your will be done. O my Lord and my Spouse, the hour that I have longed for has come. It is time to meet one another.”

In 1622, forty years after her death, she was canonized by Pope Gregory XV and on 27 September 1970, was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI.

Mental Prayer / St. Alphonsus Devotion to St. Teresa of Avila

One of the foremost writers on mental prayer, St. Teresa of Avila, stated: “Mental prayer is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.” Since the emphasis is on love rather than thought, modern authors recommend that it be called interior prayer.

Meditation and contemplative prayer which takes place in mental prayer are “major expressions of the life of prayer” in the Christian tradition. The practice of mental prayer is necessary for reaching the goal of Christian perfection. “Holiness is impossible without it.” All saints, according to St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of Church on Moral theology, have become saints by mental prayer.

St. Alphonsus Liguori

In his work, Necessity and Power of Prayer, The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection, St. Alphonsus Ligouri explained the effectiveness of mental prayer:

This is the chief fruit of mental prayer, to ask God for the graces which we need for perseverance and for eternal salvation; and chiefly for this reason it is that mental prayer is morally necessary for the soul, to enable it to preserve itself in the grace of God.

For if a person does not remember in the time of meditation to ask for the help necessary for perseverance, he will not do so at any other time; for without meditation he will not think of asking for it, and will not even think of the necessity for asking it.

On the other hand, he who makes his meditation every day will easily see the needs of his soul, its dangers, and the necessity of his prayer; and so he, will pray, and will obtain the graces which will enable him to persevere and save his soul.

While in the seminary, Alphonsus grew attached to St. Teresa, prayed to her as to an older sister or a mother; and tried to imitate her to the point of pledging himself, as she had done, to do nothing unless it were for the glory of God.  She became his Maestra, his teacher of prayer; in life she became his “seconda mamma” (second mother) after the Blessed Mother.  From then on all of his letters carried the motto: “Long live Jesus, Mary, Joseph and Teresa.”

Holy Sacrifice of the Mass-

October 15 – FEAST OF ST. TERESA OF AVILA – Virgin, Religious Foundress and Doctor / Wednesday in the Eighteenth Week after Pentecost

Double / White Vestments  –  Missa “Dilexísti justítiam”

INTROIT Psalm 44: 8

Dilexísti justitiam, et odisti iniquitatem: propterea unxit te Deus, Deus tuus, oleo lætitiæ præ consortibus tuis.

Ps. Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea Regi.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Dilexísti justitiam, et odisti iniquitatem: propterea unxit te Deus, Deus tuus, oleo lætitiæ præ consortibus tuis.

Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

(Ps. 44: 2) My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

October 15 The Ecstasy of Saint Therese (detail)

COLLECT

Graciously hear us, O God, our Savior; that as we rejoice in the festival of Thy holy virgin Teresa, so we may be fed food of her heavenly teaching, and grow in loving devotion towards thee. Through our Lord.

EPISTLE: 2 Corinthians 10: 17-18; 11: 1-2

Lesson from the Epistle of Bl. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians

Brethren, he that glory, let him glory in the Lord. For not that he that commendeth himself is approved, but he whom God commendeth. Would to God you could bear with some little of my folly, but do bear with me. For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God. For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

GRADUAL: Psalm 44: 5

With thy comeliness and thy beauty set out, proceed prosperously, and reign. Because of truth, and meekness and justice: and thy right hand shall conduct thee wonderfully.

The Ecstasy of St Teresa of Avila

ALLELUIA: Ps 44:15-16

Alleluia, alleluia. After her shall virgins be brought to the king: her neighbors shall be brought to thee with gladness. Alleluia.

GOSPEL Matthew 25: 1-13

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.

At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: Then shall the kingdom of heaven be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise. But the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them:  But the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept.

And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out.  The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut.

But at last come also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us.  But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.

OFFERTORY Psalm 44: 10

The daughters of kings are in thine honor, the queen stood on thy right hand in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety.

October 15 St Teresa Avila

SECRET

May the offering of Thy consecrated people be accepted by Thee, O Lord, in honor of Thy saints, by whose merits it knoweth that it hath received aid in time of trouble. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God…

PREFACE   Common Preface

It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:

SANCTUS, SANCTUS, SANCTUS Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria Tua. Hosanna in excelsis.  Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna in excelsis.

holy communion-

COMMUNION Matt. 25, 4 and 6

The five wise virgins took oil in their vessels with the lamps: and at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the bridegroom cometh: go ye forth to meet Christ our Lord.

POSTCOMMUNION

Thou hast filled Thy household, O Lord, with sacred gifts; ever comfort us, we beseech Thee, through her intercession whose festival we celebrate. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God…

St Teresa of Ávila

St. Teresa ora pro nobis.

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