Sermon: Teresa of Ávila

In Chapter IV, the 21st section of The Interior Castle, Teresa of Ávila tells us, “The devil frequently fills our thoughts with great schemes, so that instead of putting our hands to what work we can do to serve our Lord, we may rest satisfied with wishing to perform impossibilities.”

There is a story about the architect Frank Lloyd Wright when he was a boy. It was the winter he was nine years old and he was visiting his uncle. They had gone for a walk and crossed a snow covered field. When they had reached the far side, the uncle turned and pointed out the tracks they had made. The uncle’s tracks were in a straight line, where young Frank’s wandered all over the field. The uncle had the destination in mind as he walked, however, Frank had run about investigating every little thing along the way. The uncle reportedly said to Frank, “Notice how your tracks wander aimlessly from the fence to the cattle to the woods and back again. And see how my tracks aim directly to my goal. There is an important lesson in that.”

I suppose there is, but the moral of the story can go either way, for Frank Lloyd Wright said while reflecting on this incident, “I determined right then not to miss most things in life, as my uncle had.”

Sometimes we have this idea that in order to serve Christ, we must always remained focused or undertake the big tasks. Like so much in society, we remain under the impression bigger is always better, so we seek to accomplish these task with a singular focus. However, we stand the risk of missing all the other opportunities along the way. For example, when these natural disasters come along like Hurricane Matthew, it is possible to become so focused on caring for such a large group of people there, that we will literally step over the one or the few in our own community who may have the exact same need. St. Josemaría Escrivá asks us, “Do you really want to be a saint?” If yes, he says, “Carry out the little duty of each moment: do what you ought and concentrate on what you are doing.”

Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Those good works don’t always have to be those great schemes. They will most often be the small possibly even seen as insignificant, but through accomplishing them in love, not weighing the cost or the lack there of, then the light of Christ that is within will shine and we will bring glory to our Father.

The following is a prayer – a blessing – of St. Teresa.
“May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”

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