08 Apr FIFTH SUNDY OF LENT 2014
It was one of the joys of St Teresa in founding a new house of her Reform that she was offering Jesus another tabernacle in which to dwell. During her years as a young Carmelite in the monastery of the Incarnation, visitors to the parlour must sometimes have brought news of what was happening in far away England, for Henry VIII’s suppression of some 800 monasteries began when Teresa was a novice. She must certainly have heard of the destruction of Walsingham in 1538, while she was away from her monastery seeking a cure for her illness. Walsingham was one of the most famous shrines in Europe, a centre of pilgrimage, and it’s desecration would have sent shockwaves through Catholic Spain. Later, while she was preparing for her Reform, she learned of the attacks on the Church in neighbouring France and was especially distressed by the profanation of the Eucharist. She writes, “For nowadays these heretics have so little regard for the Blessed Sacrament that they take away its dwelling places by destroying churches” and again, “it seems these traitors would want Him to be crucified again and that He have no place to lay His head.
We are so accustomed to the easy availability of the Eucharist and frequent Communion that we are in danger of taking for granted the intimate presence of Our Lord. St Teresa was always vividly aware of such a great gift and held it in loving reverence. Her words can help to stimulate our own faith and gratitude.
“The Lord had given this person (herself) such a lively faith that, when she heard people say they wished they had lived when Christ walked on this earth, she would smile to herself, for she knew that we have Him as truly with us in the Most Holy Sacrament as people had Him then, and wonder what more they could possibly want.”