15th October – Memorial of St Teresa of Avila

Today I visited one of our three parish schools. I spoke to the children about why we arefather child special. One little girl said that we are all unique. I went on to say that even identical twins have different personalities because of differing life experiences. Another girl who spoke about baptism making us children of God was closer to the mark of what I wanted to discuss. I spoke about the anointing of Chrism that immediately follows the pouring of water as being a coronation ritual; it signifies that we are princes and princesses by virtue of being children of THE King. Also the white garment that signifies our purity given the removal of all sin – original and any actual – from our souls. Both of these should always remind us of our dignity and that we should behave accordingly.

We also shared a bit of humour! Here’s a sample:

Where do fish put their money? In the River Bank!

What would you call a fish without an eye/’i’? A f-s-s-h!

Did you hear about the magic tractor? It ‘turned into’ a field!

Where do you bring a really sick horse? To a horse-pital!

Why did the sheep go to the horse-pital? She was feeling baa-aad!

The banana? It wasn’t peeling very well!

To finish we had a prayer. Along with the usual assortment of family concerns, one girl wanted to pray for her dead dog. Without getting into the issue of the mortality of animal souls, I’m sure God will sort out our kindly intentions!

Pope Francis sent a message to Bishop Jesus Garcia Burillo of Avila on the occasion of Teresa_of_Avila_dsc01644the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila, whose feast day is celebrated today. In his letter, Pope Francis mentions the joy the saint often spoke of “in encountering the suffering of work and pain”, and how she affirmed that “the Gospel is not a bag of lead that trails heavily behind us, but rather a source of joy that leads the heart to God and urges us to serve our brethren”: St. Teresa emphasised the importance of cheerful perseverance and prayer. For her, contemplative prayer was “a close sharing between friends; … taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us”.

The Pope remarks that this advice is “perennially valid”: “In a culture of the temporary”, he says, “to live faithfully ‘forever and ever and ever’; in a world without hope, to show the fruitfulness of an enamoured heart; and in a society with many idols, to give witness that ‘only God is enough’”. A path that, the Holy Father reiterated, we cannot walk alone; we must do so together and, as the Saint said, with Christ. “Teresa of Jesus recommended three things: to love each other, to free each other, to free oneself of everything, and to aspire to true humility”.

“It is this Teresian realism”, writes the Pope, “that demands works instead of emotions, love in the place of dreams, and the realism of humble love instead of eager asceticism”. He concludes, “Let us hope that everyone may be infused by this holy impulse to travel the roads of our own time, with the Gospel in our hand and the Spirit in our heart!”.

As Garfield travels the roads of his time, he doesnt have a single charitable thought about canines!