"Give me wings to get to the point"
(St Teresa of Avila)
Today is the feast day of St Teresa of Avila, the Spanish-born mystic, reformer of the Carmelite Order and Doctor of the Catholic Church (see earlier post: "The Friendship of God", April 2012).
The patron saint of those in need of grace as well as those ridiculed for their piety, she is also patron of headache and migraine sufferers! My migraine today is probably due as much to my own intolerance of my neighbours' high-spirits yesterday as it is to any particular clamour they were making. St Teresa's "Prayer for Virtue" is as stoical as it is inspiring: where is it written that saints can't have a sense of humour? I would have thought it was a pre-requisite.
(This little post is especially for Catriona McGlynn and her lovely mum; but also for all those with headaches today...)
St Teresa's "Prayer for Virtue"
Thou knowest better than I myself
that I am growing older and will someday be old.
Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking
I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.
Release me from craving to
straighten out everybody’s affairs.
Make me thoughtful but not moody;
helpful but not bossy.
With my vast store of wisdom,
it seems a pity not to use it all;
but Thou knowest, Lord,
that I want a few friends at the end.
Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details:
give me wings to get to the point.
Seal my lips on my aches and pains;
they are increasing, and love of rehearsing them
is becoming sweeter as the years go by.
I dare not ask for improved memory,
but for a growing humility and a lessening cock-sureness
when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others.
Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.
Keep me reasonably sweet, for a sour old person
is one of the crowning works of the devil.
Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places
and talents in unexpected people;
and give, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.
"Nada te Turbe" as sung for meditation on retreat at Taize, France (2009)
"Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world.
Yours are the feet
with which Christ walks to do good."
(St Teresa of Avila)