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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

THE FATHER'S GIFT: The Holy Eucharist!

by Susan Fox

IN THE YEAR THAT KING UZZI’AH DIED, Isaiah had a vision of God on His holy throne. Overcome with reverence, he prayed, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 5-6)

I find his response to seeing God most comforting as I often feel the same way.

I have spent my entire life in the Presence of God in the Holy Eucharist, the One whom Isaiah prophesized when he said “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name
Immanuel (which means God is with us).”

Providentially, God provided a means for Isaiah to bear the vision. He sent a seraphim, a holy angel, with a burning coal taken from the altar, “And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgiven.”  And God has provided the same recourse to Catholics in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We have a means to forgiveness that will enable us to approach God in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

My pastor today pointed out that in the Catholic Church, God is always present with us under the appearance of Bread and Wine. In the Holy Mass (where the word Christ’s Mass comes from), the priest prays the words of consecration over the bread and wine, and the Holy Spirit responds by turning these gifts into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ really present among us.  Just as the Holy Spirit overshadowed the Virgin Mary and made her with Child (as Isaiah foretold), the Holy Spirit turns the bread and wine into the Real Presence of Jesus.  Jesus promised us He would be with us until the end of time, and He has kept His promise.

 “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (John 6:53-56)

This was no symbolic talk. The disciples heard it and started muttering among themselves that this was hard to accept.  But Jesus didn’t water down the message. He simply pointed out that no one can come to Him unless it be granted to him by the Father.

This has been given to me by the Father. I was four years old when my family was involved in a car accident in New Orleans in 1957.  I remember the details distinctly  -- a rare gift as many people don’t remember things that happened at that early an age.

I remember the comic book I was looking at (I couldn’t read) in the back seat. I remember looking over the seat and seeing a car coming straight for us (it was a head on collision) and I remember my parents didn’t see it because they were looking at each other with great love. It was a lovely last memory of my parents’ life together, one I treasure.

When the accident occurred I was protected by the back seat, but my parents had not used the seat belts on our new car, as it was not something they were used to. By the time I climbed out of the back seat, I saw Mom was knocked out in the front seat (glass emerged from her eye decades later resulting from this accident) and my father emerged from the car with blood on his throat.

I was taken from the car vomiting, and screaming, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!” They didn’t let me go to him, and he died three days later in the hospital. But when I cried out, my Father in heaven heard me and answered. He so loved the world, He sent His only Son, and I was about to be the beneficiary of that Gift foretold by Isaiah in a very personal way. 

I WAS A CATHOLIC CHILD, baptized and loved, but really my faith was not visible to me before that time.  I didn’t know Jesus.  But when my father died, my mother and grandmother took me to the hospital chapel. It was a Catholic hospital, so the Body of Christ under the appearance of bread was stored in a golden tabernacle in the hospital chapel. As Isaiah prophesized, His Name was Immanuel. God was waiting for me. He was there in a real physical way after the accident that took my father’s life.

Mom said, “There is Jesus in that tabernacle. Pray for your Daddy.”

I prayed. I told Him I wouldn’t pray.

Now today whenever I can I go back there, and pray again, but with great joy and gratitude for so much was given to me through that tragic circumstance.  It was April 28, 1957, but it was Christmas in a little girl’s life. God sat with me.  It was as if Christ on the cross had just said, “It is finished.” And then He was immediately by my side when I grieved my father’s death.

This great gift of His presence in the Eucharist has remained with me my entire life. And I tell you about it now, so that you can know He is available to you in the same way at any time in whatever troubling circumstances you find in your life.

We often think of the Christmas story as one of joyful anticipation and fulfillment of God’s promise to send His Son. This it is. But there is also a lot of suffering in the Nativity of Jesus. He chose the circumstances of His own birth, and He did not make it easy on Himself. He wasn’t born to a rich family. There was no room at the inn, so He was born in a stable, described as a cave. When King Herod heard of His birth, he  saw a threat to his throne. So he ordered the execution of all the male children under the age of two in Bethlehem. This was a terrible atrocity.  “Rachel weeps for her children, and they are no more.”

His family became refugees in Egypt as his father Joseph was warned to flee the persecution.

But I remember my son James at one week old. We took him to a restaurant with a thousand tiny lights. He marveled at this for some time, and then promptly fell asleep. He had also marveled at his father’s face on the morning he was first born. His Dad was tired, having been up all night, wore a hospital gown and puffy blue hat, but he was rocking James and singing, “Do dee do do.” Real intelligent stuff.
Just out of the womb, the baby stared at Larry’s face very intently.

I think Jesus picked the circumstances of His birth so He could stare into the loving faces of Mary and Joseph, see the humble shepherds when they came to pay their respects, and accept the homage of kings. Jesus was always a sucker for the little people. He – King of Kings, Lord of Lords -- chose to become a little One Himself.

And that’s how I found Him, under the appearance of simple bread, waiting to comfort me when my father died.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Message to Wayne

Wayne, 8 p.m. Sunday Oct. 21 Mountain Time in the United States, we prayed as you requested. God bless you. Susan Fox

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Welcome Wayne!
By Susan Fox
Folks, here is a comment from Wayne who I met at the National Catholic Register online discussion board. If I publish the comment by the regular means, I can’t answer the question. Please I encourage you to comment on this posting if you have anything to add to my answer. Your insights will be most welcome. Notice on this site you can sign up to become a follower. (Right Hand column below --  just above the Total Pageviews.) This allows me to send you an email directly without knowing your email address.

Hi, its me, your friend wayne.
Heres a quote fom your piece....Jesus said, "Begone Satan: for it is written, "The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve." And Satan left Him.
You were , along with sister tarah, the only 2 who made sense in that NCR site. Now, if you could, help me out with this one. The adore part. Dont the catholics adore hundreds of "saints" and poor old mary? i know the prevailing theory is that these departed ones in turn pray to Jesus for you. The word adore...i dont see any problem with that. But does that quote mean to adore god only? i dont see adore as meaning worship. i adore. I adore Welches white grape peach juice. Glad to talk to you again

Yes, Wayne I adore chocolate, but – you are correct -- that is different than adoring God. It’s too bad we can’t use the Greek language because they have a whole bunch of verbs that mean different kinds of love, and that’s what we are really talking about.

I adore you, too, Wayne, but in that context I am really talking about friendship. I adore my husband, but in that context I am talking about romantic married love. My love for chocolate is self indulgent, though not necessarily bad, whereas friendship and married love involve a certain element of selfless giving. At least that is the goal.

But the love I have for God is totally different. If any of my other loves interfere with the love of God, I have to put them aside and chose God alone. You know Jesus said, any man who has left brothers, sisters, father, mother or children, or lands for My sake and the Gospel, he shall receive a hundredfold now in this life houses, brothers, sisters, mothers and children with persecutions and eternal life in the world to come.  (Mark 10: 29-30)

We do indeed believe we can adore only God and Him alone. It comes from this commandment: “Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, your whole mind, your whole strength, your whole being and your neighbor as yourself.”
So as they say on Star Trek: THIS IS THE PRIME DIRECTIVE, the essence of the Christian life as Christ has laid it out for us. Our loves are prioritized.

So where does this leave poor Mary? Or poor old St. Anthony? I really love Mary. I really love St. Francis, St. Anthony, St. Faustina, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Isaac Jogues, St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, St. Joseph, St. Peter To Rot, St. Juan Diego, St. Pio.  I love so many saints I can’t list them all. I was tempted to say I adore them, but I adore them the same way I adore you, Wayne – they are my friends. So I do not adore them the same way I adore God, and if I did, I would be committing the sin of idolatry.

The Catholic Church calls this form of friendship veneration. We venerate the saints. For me, it means loving them as my friends in heaven. But the definition of venerate is “to regard with reverential respect or with admiring deference.”

So how do we venerate a person in heaven without giving them the regard due to God?  It’s simple. HERE IS THE ANSWER: All devotion to the saints must have as its end Jesus Christ.

That is if you find yourself loving St. Anthony to the exclusion of God (and I know some people who don’t go to Mass but they always pray to St. Anthony), then our love has become disordered. It is idolatry.

But in the Catholic Church we are always running around talking about “True Devotion to Mary.” TRUE Devotion as opposed to FALSE (idolatry) devotion. It’s means that we do not worship her as a goddess, by no means, she is a creature created by God. We go to her instead as a more perfect means to get to Jesus. Jesus is always the goal in any devotion to the saints. Well, why not go directly to Jesus? You can! And you can go to your friends in heaven as well, and end up at the same place, God.

In fact, one of the most frustrating things about the Blessed Virgin Mary is whenever I go to her, I end up with Jesus or the Father or the Holy Spirit. She just disappears. I can’t get a firm fix on her. I ask St. Anthony to get me a parking space. I find a parking space and I thank God! I forget St. Anthony. And you know what? That makes him very happy because he lived his life loving God with his whole heart. He is one of those Christians, who gave up father, brother, sister, mother, children, lands to serve God. I think he even slept in a tree, which is much more than I do. I sleep in an apartment.

He was one crazy dude (from the world’s point of view), but he loved God more than anything in this world and it was evidenced by his life. He was a Catholic priest, a Franciscan in the time that St. Francis lived. He really embraced poverty just like St. Francis.

Most of the time we Catholics pray to St. Anthony to ask him to find something that is lost. But it almost seems to me sacrilegious because he was such an incredible man. (It’s not sacrilegious however. The saints are very humble.) He was sent to preach to the Waldensians  (early Protestants), and they hid in their houses and refused to listen. He happened to be standing on a bluff next to the sea and all the creatures there came to the top of the water. They seemed to be listening, so St. Anthony began to preach to them and eventually 50 people came out to listen to him along with the sea creatures.

One man didn’t believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, so St. Anthony made a deal with him. The man had a mule. So St. Anthony said, “Starve the mule for one day and at the end of that time, we’ll offer him food or the opportunity to worship Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.”  The man agreed. St Anthony prayed all night and said Mass on the next morning. The man did not feed his donkey for one day. St. Anthony put Jesus in a gold vessel called a Monstrance. The donkey was put in a pen. Hay was placed on one side of the pen and St. Anthony came with Jesus on the other side of the pen. The donkey did not go to his food. He went to Our Lord Jesus Christ present in the Holy Eucharist and held by St. Anthony. Then the donkey knelt.

I know that’s impossible! It was a miracle. But the man who owned the donkey returned to the Catholic faith, so I guess God felt the miracle was necessary. (See poem about this below)

One time on my birthday I lost my favorite Brown Scapular (it’s like a Catholic altar call. It’s a rope with a brown cloth and an image of Our Lady on it, worn around the neck, and it means I belong to Jesus, not to the world.)

So I said to St. Anthony, “I hate to ask you to help find my scapular because you were such an incredible miracle worker, but could ya? Would ya?”
Now I don’t hear voices or see visions but somehow I understood that I would find my scapular before the end of the day.   Suddenly I noticed it was 11:30 p.m. on my birthday and I didn’t have my scapular. So I said, “St. Anthony. It’s 11:30 p.m.!” Wayne, I kid you not, I was walking out of my dark bedroom where my husband was sleeping when I said that, and I reached out for the doorknob behind the bedroom door and my scapular was hanging on it! Now, of course, I thanked God! (not poor St. Anthony).

If you wish to know more about St. Anthony there is an article on him on our blog

Or check the labels on the right side for an article called, “St. Anthony of Padua.”

I did mention earlier that Mary is a more perfect means to Jesus, and why is that? Mary is His Mother. Christianity is really about relationships. Our God is Three Persons in a Triune Relationship. Our God is One, but He is also a Community of Persons. If I want to get to Jesus only the Holy Spirit can bring me. I can’t even say His name unless the Holy Spirit allows me to. If I want to reach the Father, only Jesus can bring me. Jesus and The Father send the Spirit. The path of holiness for myself is to understand who am I in relation to God? Who am I in relation to each Person of the Blessed Trinity? Mary was Jesus’ mother. Jesus is the God who said, “Honor Your Father and Mother.” He doesn’t disobey his own commandments. He also gave away his most precious and last possession from the cross – His mother. (He'd given up everything else, including his clothes at that point.) He said to John, “Behold Your Mother.” And to Mary, he said, “Behold your son.” It was his last moments on earth and He was dying. But He gave away His mother. So Jesus felt His mother could help us. He was giving us a short cut to salvation. 

Do you know about short cuts? They have them in computer games. They are called cheat codes. You learn the cheat code and you can win the game faster and easier. In some of the games my son played he never ever would have unlocked the puzzle to get to the next level unless he first searched online for the “cheat codes.”  In giving us His mother, Jesus gave us the “cheat code” to salvation. (Disclaimer: this is my explanation of the Catholic teaching on Mary, not that of the Catholic Church.)

In the Old Testament, when people wanted something from the King, they approached the King’s mother first to sort of soften him up. St. Louis Marie de Montfort, who wrote “True Devotion to Mary,” said that when a soul gives himself to Jesus through Mary, it’s like handing a wormy apple to the King’s mother.  Mary slices the apple, cuts out the worms (our gifts are not perfect) and places the apple slices on a gold plate and hands it to Jesus. And Jesus is very pleased with you.

St. Louis Marie de Montfort called devotion to Mary the short, sure and easy way to enter the Kingdom of God. And the veneration we Catholics give to Mary is greater than the veneration we give to all the other saints. But still we realize she is a creature of God, and He made her. But what a creature! I am so grateful to her. When I think about the fact that if she hadn’t told God, “Yes, I’ll be the Mother of Your Son,” then I, Susan Fox, would never, ever have met Jesus. How sad my life would have been without Him.

Now below I share a poem I wrote some years ago about St. Anthony’s miracle:

St. Anthony's Bread

(St. Anthony of Padua converted an unbeliever by working a miracle. He gave a mule a choice between his feed or the Eucharist. The mule had been starved, but chose to kneel in front of the Eucharist instead of eating.)

I am a poor dumb mule,
     starved for a day and given a choice:
my feed or the Food of the Universe.

I knew Him:
He was the Baker who kneaded my life.
He was the King who once lay in the cold before my kind
in the form of a baby.

My knees were not made for this.
I am constructed awkwardly.
But my choice was simple:
      I knelt before the Bread of my life.
      I knelt before my Maker.
(Susan Fox)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION: Satan's strategy in the life of St. Teresa of Avila

by Susan Fox
"No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you." (John 15:15)

(This review of the temptations of  St. Teresa of Avila is based on the saint's autobiography. From her temptations, she discovered God's plan for her life -- to be a FRIEND OF THE LORD)

She enjoyed gossip, respected wealth, read trashy novels of chivalry, and took great trouble with her hair and nails.

Worldly honor was important to her and she bestowed her friendship in an ill-advised manner, believing mistakenly that it is a great virtue to be grateful to those who like you.

But once Jesus chose to be her friend, Teresa of Avila changed to become one of the great spiritual mystics of all times.

She single-handedly reformed the Carmelite order against fierce opposition, returning the nuns to the practice of the strict rule of its foundation. She founded 16 reformed convents, and lived to see her discalced reform recognized by Pope Gregory XIII only two years before her death at age 67.

She died Oct. 14, 1582, calling herself a "child of the Church" because she had come to mistrust herself so completely she acted only under obedience to her confessors. She was canonized in 1622, and enjoyed the distinction of being the first woman declared a doctor of the Roman Catholic Church. The honor was bestowed on her by Pope Paul VI in 1970.

But all of that was at the end of a long and bitter struggle with self, the world and Satan, a struggle that characterized Teresa's life, and the lives of all who seek the "narrow gate."

St Teresa of Avila 
The story of this struggle is contained in St. Teresa's autobiography, and it's worth reviewing her temptations because even today over 400 years after her death, Teresa's struggles are frighteningly familiar to those seeking the narrow and sometimes obscure road to glory.
For as the new Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: "discernment is required to unmask the lie of temptation, whose object often appears to be good." As Eve found in the garden of Eden, the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was a "delight to the eye" and desirable. But in reality, the eating of this fruit led to death.

Teresa was born on March 28, 1515 at Avila, Castile, Spain to Alonso Sanchez de Cepeda and his second wife, Beatrice.

Teresa admired her mother, who was beautiful, chaste, without vanity and very devoted to the Blessed Virgin. When Teresa was 12, her mother died. And in her grief she turned to the Mother of Jesus, and asked her to be her Mother also. In later years, she felt this one act of consecration to Mary gave her a special protection during her entire life.

As a young girl, she developed a habit of reading trashy novels of chivalry, and found she wasn't happy unless she had a good book. Later she understood this was a great waste of time, and found her treasure in God's friendship.

The simple words of the Our Father, "and lead us not into temptation" implies a decision of the heart, according to the new Catholic Catechism. Unless we wholeheartedly desire to do God's will, we will never know it. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. . . . No one can serve two masters." (Matt. 6:21,24)

Throughout her life Teresa was plagued with the temptation to care what others thought of her. She learned to enjoy gossip at a young age. And even as a young novice in the Carmelite convent, she engaged in frivolous conversations with visitors. This was strictly speaking against the rules of her order, but was a widely accepted practice. The visits also had the advantage of enhancing her reputation from a worldly point of view.

But God sent her many signals about the danger of bad companionship and the value of good companionship. As a child of 12, she was sent to an Augustinian convent after her mother's death where the friendship of a good nun turned her back from a lifestyle of vanity and worldly honor, which she had been about to embrace.

As a young novice Christ appeared to her in her mind's eye - that is interiorly - and with great sternness warned her about wasting time with visitors. Satan, however, convinced her that unless a vision is in bodily form, it doesn't count. So she
continued to receive visitors in the convent, but one day was frightened when a big ugly toad hopped toward her and a visitor. She eventually learned interior visions or locutions are far more valuable than exterior visions because Satan cannot interfere with these.

Teresa was tempted by false loyalties. She befriended a priest, who had an affectionate relationship with a woman in the convent for several years. She said that he'd lost all honor, but no one had reproved him. Teresa liked him very much, and felt sorry for him. At this time, she felt it was a virtue to be loyal to anyone who liked her.

"I had a very serious fault which led me into great trouble. If I realized that a person liked me, and I liked them, I would grow so fond of them that I would think of them constantly without any intention of offending God. This was such a harmful thing, it was ruining my soul."

God solved this problem by giving her a vision of Himself: "Once I had seen the great beauty of the Lord, I saw no one who by comparison with Him seemed acceptable to me or on whom my thoughts wished to dwell. For if I merely turn the eyes of my mind to the image of Him which I have within my soul I find I have such freedom that from that time forward everything I see appears nauseating to me by comparison."

Teresa's final temptation to misplaced loyalty was severed when a spiritual director told her to abandon certain friendships that were not actually causing her to offend God. Believing this would be an act of ingratitude, she asked him why. He told her to ask God that question and then recite the hymn "Veni Creator." While she was doing so, she was put into rapture, and heard these words: "I will have you converse now, not with men, but with angels."

After that she said she was unable to be friends with anyone except those who loved God and were trying to serve Him. She reported that this gave her such freedom - something she had been unable to achieve for herself despite doing violence to herself to the point where it affected her health.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus also faces the great tempter before beginning his public ministry. After fasting 40 days in the desert to prepare Himself for His ministry, Satan appears to Him, and offers Him something good - bread. But He turns it into a test of Jesus' identity: "If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread."

Then the devil offers Christ His own Father's protection, but wants Him again to prove who He is by jumping off a building. Finally, Satan offers Jesus the homage of all the kingdoms of the world. The catch is that Jesus must first fall down and worship Satan.

Each temptation appeared on the surface to be a good thing - bread, the Father's protection, the world's homage. But each would take Jesus away from God's plan for His Life. There was to be no short cuts for the Son of God. He was to go the way of the cross. Jesus rejects each temptation, never revealing to Satan who He really is. The third temptation - leading to blatant idolatry - was the last straw.

Jesus said, "Begone Satan: for it is written, "The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve." And Satan left Him.

Teresa similarly sent Satan away once and for all when she abandoned all other forms of friendship except her friendship in prayer with her Lord, when she abandoned all other loyalties except her loyalty to God, and when worldly honor ceased to matter. In short, she ceased to serve "two masters" and put her heartfelt trust into God alone.

Each of us, too, must find our way to obedience to this one basic commandment: "I am the Lord your God, and I will have no other gods before me."

The means by which God weaned Teresa from her false loyalty was by drawing her into intimate friendship with Himself through prayer. Teresa reports that her virtue increased as she spent more time with the Lord in prayer. 

As a beginner, Teresa endured great aridities in prayer and was distracted by evil thoughts. She said at this stage it's important to persevere in prayer solely to please God. She endured these trials for many years with great courage.

But the Lord gives these "tortures" and many other temptations to test "His lovers" to see if they are willing to drink of the same cup He drank and to carry the same cross He bore for our transgressions. Once they persevere through these trials, then He can begin to trust them with His great treasures.

Teresa was given all this, and more. In fact, Teresa often says that the Lord trusted her with "His secrets" of prayer, giving her infused knowledge that allowed her to explain the prayer life to the simple and the learned. "Although He is my Lord, I can talk to Him as my friend," she wrote. And the fruits of her life show that Our Lord could talk to her in the same fashion.

However, Satan recognized this "intimate friendship of prayer" was disturbing his plans for Teresa.

After she was no longer a beginner in prayer, Teresa was tempted by false humility to abandon her friendship with Christ. Seeing her sins, she resolved to stop praying until she had achieved virtue. She went on this way for more than a year, and the result, she says, was she almost lost her soul.

"I do not believe I have ever passed through so grave a peril as when the devil put
this idea into my head under the guise of humility," she wrote.

This was the same principle on which the devil tempted Judas, also identified as a "Friend of the Lord" in Sacred Scripture. Teresa wrote that Satan would have gradually brought her to the same fate of betrayal, suicide and despair. "The worst life I ever led was when I abandoned prayer," she said.

Returning to prayer, Teresa found she still suffered terrible bouts of false humility between her raptures in prayer. She felt evil, and felt like all the evils of the world were caused by her sins. This disquiet and unrest plunged her soul into a state where she had no disposition to prayer or good works. This state of desolation is caused by Satan and leads a soul to despair. Over the centuries, her books have taught many others to ignore desolation and consolation, to simply persevere in prayer regardless of what is taking place in the soul.

Teresa learned the value of trusting in the goodness of God, which is greater than any evil we can do. Because she persevered in prayer, Her own love for God finally overcame her fear and self-loathing.

Teresa also was tempted by what might seem to be prudent concern for her own health. Fears for her health held her back from undertaking penance and impeded her prayer life. She finally overcame the temptation, and her health improved. When Satan would suggest something would ruin her health, she'd respond, "Even if I die, it is of little consequence." She found that silence was a wonderful mortification, and never ruined one's health.

Another temptation Teresa had to face was the desire to do good for others. When she began to experience the benefits of prayer, she desired that everyone live a very spiritual life. It's not wrong to desire this, but it must be done with discretion. For Teresa was preaching the benefits of prayer when she was still poverty stricken in virtue and this taught others that some sins are okay because Teresa did it, and she prayed.

Another way this temptation played out was that she became distressed by the sins and failings of others when she should have kept her focus on Christ and her own faults. This caused her to stop praying and become anxious. It also leads to meddling. Safety lies in not being anxious about anything or anyone. This experience taught Teresa humility: she found her happiness in considering all others greater than herself.

Word of Teresa's great favors in prayer eventually got out through a mistake made by one of her spiritual directors. She was judged and persecuted. But this experience also taught her humility. And best of all, Teresa no longer cared what other people thought of her. Only God's opinion mattered.

"No testing has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, so that you may be able to endure it." (1Cor 10:13)

"It is by his prayer (lead us not into temptation) that Jesus vanquishes the tempter, both at the outset of his public mission and in the ultimate struggle of his agony," the new Catholic Cathechism states.

"In this petition to our heavenly Father, Christ unites us to his battle and his agony. He urges us to vigilance of the heart in communion with his own." Jesus prayed for us to the Father: "Keep them in your name." 

Like to read a post on angels and St. Teresa? Read

This story is the fruit of my participation in Disciples of Jesus and Mary (DJM), a Catholic formation program in Prayer, Discernment and Discipleship. We find the pattern of our own relationship with God by studying the lives of the saints and reading Scripture. Teresa self-identified as a Friend of the Lord. Mary identified herself as God's Servant when she said, "I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me according to your word." We all have a unique plan of life, and each plan emphasizes some aspect of the Life of Christ: Suffering Servant, Beloved Son, Child of God, etc. When God the Father will look down upon His saints in heaven, He will see the Face of His Son Jesus. 

Disciples of Jesus and Mary can be found online at http://www.disciplesofjesusandmary.org. They have a contact button. They are in many cities, some in Europe, but if they are not near you they have a satellite program, which can be done online. My husband and I always said we were Daily Mass going Catholics on the road to hell until we joined DJM in 1991. Then we had a complete turn around. Now we are on the road to heaven at last! When I was 13 years old, I read St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. I closed both books and said, "I can't do that." I couldn't really. I didn't have spiritual direction, but then when I was 39, I joined DJM and lo, I now understand both saints, and the Diary of St. Faustina too! It's funny when I joined the Eucharistic Apostles of the Divine Mercy, they put me in charge of the local group in Apache Junction, AZ because they could see I understood the Diary even though I had never read it before. God bless you. Keep pursuing holiness. It's the pearl of great price. Susan Fox