She was just seven years old when little Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada set to the land of the Moors along with her brother Rodrigo to be martyred for faith. What triggered the little girl for such an audacious act was the inspiration she imbibed from reading the saints. Anyway, the ‘wannabe martyr kids’ were caught red-handedly by their uncle, who brought them back. This girl grew up, excelled in holiness, founded on of the greatest religious orders of Catholic Church the Order of Discalced Carmelites. She became a saint and later the Doctor of the Church. She has a very special place in the history of the Catholic Church as the saint who taught the depth and vastness of prayer. Her name is Saint Teresa of Avila.
Teresa was born in 1515 in Gotarrendura, in the province of Ávila, Spain. Her father was Alonso Sánchez de Cepeda and her mother was Beatriz de Ahumada y Cuevas. She lost her mother when she was just 14 years old. From the day onwards, she took refuge in the motherly care of the Virgin Mary. But during her teenage she was fascinated by the whimsical attractions of life, as often happens with the people of her age. Later, she had been deeply remorseful of her life during this period.
Her education at an Augustinian convent, where she happened to read the letters of St. Jerome inspired he to enter the religious life, and thus at the age of 20, Teresa joined the Incarnation convent of Carmelite Order. Life there was lose in morals. The charming Teresa was a favourite among her peers. She recalls later that she spent time in idle chats, vanities and gossips. Meanwhile she fell ill with malaria, which caused her much pain. The seed of mental prayers was sowed into her heart during this period. She had a vision of the ‘wounded Christ’ which touched her so deeply that her life was changed forever.
Teresa struggled in the elusive path of mental prayer for long eighteen years, until she was raised to the great heights of contemplative prayer, eventually. Her vast experience in prayer inspired her to write the spiritual classics like Interior Castle and Way of Perfection. Her autobiography ‘Life’ has been instrumental in the conversion of St. Edith Stein.
Her journey of prayer was literally a spiritual Odyssey. In the early stages, her ecstasies and supernatural experiences were termed as diabolical by her own friends. She even underwent extreme mortifications to get rid of them. But, it was St. Francis Borgia, who discerned that her spiritual experiences were genuine and from God.
Teresa defines prayer thus: ”Contemplative 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.”
When Teresa was 43, she felt urge to reform the Carmelite Order by reviving its original purity and spirit. Overcoming a sea of impediments from the traditionalists, Teresa, along with Saint John of the Cross eventually founded the reformed Carmelite Order – Order of Discalced Carmelites. The first house of the reformed order was founded in 1568 at Duruello.
Teresa died on 4th October 1582 at the age of 67. Her legacy is remarkable, especially the contributions she has given to those who wish to advance in mental prayer.
മരിയന് ടൈംസില് പ്രസിദ്ധീകരിക്കുന്ന വാര്ത്തകളും ലേഖനങ്ങളും വീഡിയോകളും മരിയന് ടൈംസിന്റെ മൊബൈല് ആപ്പിലൂടെ നിങ്ങള്ക്ക് നേരിട്ട് ലഭിക്കും.