08 Apr PALM SUNDAY 2014
Passiontide with St Teresa
The passion, death and resurrection of Christ constitute the awesome mystery at the centre of our faith, awesome because it concerns the suffering of our God, and yet accessible because suffering is a reality of which we all have experience. St Teresa declares that, “a person will not be right if he says he does not dwell on these mysteries or often have them in mind, especially when the Catholic church celebrates them”. But her way of dwelling on them was a very simple one, “I strove to be His companion there…I remained with Him as long as my thoughts allowed me to”. She was especially drawn to the gospel account of Our Lord’s agony in the garden before his capture and she reveals a lifelong practice of her own: “Most nights, before going to bed, when I commended myself to God in preparation for sleep, I always pondered for a little while this episode of the prayer in the garden”.
During these days, when the Church’s liturgy unfolds for us again the shocking truth of all that Jesus suffered to conquer sin and death, the simple directness of St Teresa’s approach can be an encouragement to us. She did not try to compose a devout meditation, or to study the theology of our redemption. But she made a personal effort to be present to Jesus in his lonely moments of pain and desolation, silently witnessing his sorrow and staying with him, “as long as my thoughts allowed me to”. We can be sure that in our own times of suffering Jesus will do the same. He will stay with us.