St Teresa of Avila, a real mujer fuerte, a strong woman, teaches us that we will have to suffer a bit for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Listen to my homily for today:
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Surely it is not evil to ask God for a sign that he loves us. Most certainly he will somehow direct our gaze to the Cross, the sign of Jonah, by which every other sign is measured, from which all signs derive their meaning and power. The Most Holy Eucharist is the Sign of signs because it is the only Sign that contains also the signifier, God himself.
When we look at the Cross we see what Jesus means too by an evil sign, for it was as he hung upon the Cross that the pharisees asked him for a wicked sign: "If you are the Son of God, come down from the Cross!"(Mark 15:30). As Jesus is crucified in our lives, in our pains, in our sufferings, yes harsh as it may sound, it is a wicked thing to test God and say, "If you are God remove this Cross from me, or I will stop believing in you." As if the Gospel meant you would be rich, famous, healthy, sleek and sheik, with no sufferings at all?! It is the devil who seeks to empty the Cross of its power. When St Peter, the prince of the apostles, said to Jesus that he must not suffer, Jesus said to him, "Get behind me satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." (Matthew 16:23)
What then do we do? We seek to find the sign of God among us AMIDST our sufferings, knowing that everything we have gone through Jesus personally and intimately associated himself with on the Cross. Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted.
"But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed." (Isaiah 53:4-5)He knows our sufferings from the inside out and this is more meaningful to us, because it means that our fears and failings, our sins and weakness, our pain, our humanity, are known to God. WE ARE NOT ALONE! This is our resurrection and alleluia, not the removal of our sufferings, but their sanctification and signification.
St Teresa of Avila was closely related with sufferings. Anyone who is close to Jesus suffers as he does. Love suffers. Anyone who loves suffers in love. And this is why we are able to suffer nobly. St Teresa of Avila shows us that everybody's gotta eat crow. We all have to eat humble pie, we all have to go through the stink of life to discover its beauty.
May the prayers of St Teresa of Avila, Mary the Mother of God, help us to find the Sign of the Cross within our own lives that we may be sanctified and saved.