Saturday, May 15, 2010

Serving God at a snail's pace

"The penances done by these persons are as carefully ordered as their lives.  They have a great desire for penance, so that by means of it they may serve Our Lord--and there is nothing wrong in that--and for this reason they observe great discretion in their penances, lest they should injure their health.  You need never fear that they will kill themselves:  they are eminently reasonable folk!  Their love is not yet ardent enough to overwhelm their reason.  How I wish ours would make us dissatisfied with this habit of always serving God at a snail's pace!  As long as we do that we shall never get to the end of the road.  And as we seem to be walking along and getting fatigued all the time--for, believe me, it is an exhausting road--we shall be very lucky if we escape getting lost.  Do you think, daughters, if we could get from one country to another in a week, it would be advisable, with all the winds and snow and floods and bad roads, to take a year over it?  Would it not be better to get the journey over and done with? . . .
"When we proceed with all this caution, we find stumbling blocks everywhere; for we are afraid of everything, and so dare not go farther, as if we could arrive at these Mansions by letting others make the journey for us!  That is not possible, my sisters; so, for the love of the Lord, let us make a real effort:  let us leave our reason and our fears in His hands and let us forget the weakness of our nature which is apt to cause us so much worry.  Let our superiors see to the care of our bodies; that must be their concern:  our own task is only to journey with good speed so that we may see the Lord."

St. Teresa of Avila, Interior castle, Third mansions, chap. 2 (Complete works of St. Teresa of Jesus, translated and edited by E. Allison Peers, vol. 2 (London:  Sheed & Ward, 1946), 226).

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