"Christ has no body now, but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world.
Yours are the feet
with which Christ walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which Christ blesses the world."
St. Teresa of Avila
It's not something that I've shared much on the blog, but I'm a convert from Hinduism. Part of my reluctance to share is that I have no St. Paul story. I have no intellectual assent into the faith. It's a long and drawn out love story better told over time and in fullness another day...or long series of days.
The only reason I bring it up this morning as I have just a few minutes to write is that it is important in my connection to St. Teresa of Avila. When I went through RCIA in college, let's just say that my collegiate mindset was in full effect rather than the mindset of a disciple. I don't think I even knew what that meant at the time.
When it came time in RCIA to choose a confirmation saint, however, my inner nerd told over and I began poring over books of saints, lists of patronages, etc. I had NO IDEA how one went about choosing! My sponsor told me to look for someone who resonated with my interests, which at the time were politics and drinking, and I went from there. Our RCIA coordinator, Dennis, shared that somehow it would all come together, that I couldn't make a mistake. So after a lot of looking, I settled on St. Teresa of Avila, knowing not much at all about her. Remember that lack of intellectual assent? Here too. I think at the time I read she was somewhat feisty and the patron of politicians. Not quite on the money, but a deadline was looming and this seemed as good as any other saint.
Little did I understand how much the Holy Spirit was working in my life. While she is not a particular patron of politicians, she is a patron of those suffering the loss of a parent as well as Catholic writers. Shortly after I came into the Church, my father passed away. I've only recently come to know of her patronage over parental loss. Breathtakingly omniscient, that Holy Spirit!
As for the patronage over writers, I have always had a love of writing, but never much pursued it because, well, that's not a reliable living for an Indian girl who was supposed to be a doctor. This ignores the wonderful instructor I had as a freshman who strongly encouraged me to hone and develop the gift and consider it as a major.
The more I develop my writing, the more I understand what it means for it to be a charism and a life giving pursuit, the more I appreciate how the Holy Spirit moved in my life in that moment, joining me in some mysterious way to this "just as good as any other" saint. What a powerful ally in heaven He gave me! And the more I read about St. Teresa, the more I know I at least got the feisty part right, not that I need much assistance on that.
So today, on her feast day, I'm reminded how much God is in control. I'm reminded how much he equips us to do the work he has entrusted to us, to be His presence in the world using the gifts he has given us. I'm reminded most of all, that in this mystical body of Christ, we are all connected in a way even more mystifying than the World Wide Web, with a story that unfurls by every little act of faith, with every yes, however informed or not. I don't think I could have picked a better partner in crime that this Doctor of the Church. See? This Indian girl's still hanging with the doctors!
There is more value in a little study of humility and in a single act of it than in all the knowledge in the world. - Saint Teresa of Avila