Written for the canonization of Teresa de Los the Andes in 1993
We give here the English translation of an article of Rev. Marino Purroy, ocd, who was vice-postulator of Teresa's canonization cause. This article was written in 1993, on the occasion of Teresa's canonization and just after the celebration of the fifth centenial of America's evangelization (1492-1992). The Spanish original version was published in: Santa Teresa de Los Andes
- Orden del Carmen Descalzo - Chile.
Through the canonization of Teresa de Los Andes the Church presents to the world one of the best fruits of the five hundred years of the evangelization of America. She presents Teresa as an example, understanding that the Lord wants to use her as an instrument to renew and revive the faith of American nations.
Since her childhood Teresa had the charism to draw people to God; now she goes on doing it from her shrine, through her writings, with her sympathy, her youth and her contagious joy.
Since her canonization, Teresa, "the jewel of the Fernández Solar family", "most beloved daughter of the Chilean Church", gift of God for Chile, stimulating model for its young people, has become universal.
Increasing the range of her action, Teresa shall continue her mission, raising the hunger and thirst for God in our materialistic world. She shall now quench her thirst to see people looking for God (see Letter No. 104). Without frontiers to limit her apostolic zeal, she shall announce to the world the happiness of knowing and loving the Lord.
The great doctors of spirituality (St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross) said it clearly: man is a being open to transcendence. As a creature of God, he depends on Him and irresistibly tends toward Him. He has an existential need of God who is the center and the purpose of his life. Man is called to enter in communication, in communion with God. If he does not respond to that irresistible call, if he spreads himsel foutside, he remains deeply dissatisfied, even if he enjoys all creatures. He exposes himself to degradation, like the prodigal son reduced to eating like pigs.
Thus comes the pressing call from so many masters to live in intimate communion with the Lord so that we may totally fulfill ourselves, that we come to control ourselves and become lords of all things.
There is an urgent need to respond to the this call. But the marvelous writings of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross (the unquestionable doctors of silent prayer), which delight experts, do not reach the majority of people who do not have access to them. This is why the Lord had the goodness to offer us this sweet and nice Chilean Carmelite, entrusting her the mission to echo and amplify for our time the spiritual message of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross.
Teresa de Los Andes is in the best conditions to proclaim this message to our society, repeating loudly: let us no think that there is vacuum inside ourselves. We are inhabited by a marvelous guest, God, and we must open ourselves to Him, trust Him, if we wish to become fully human and truly happy. "Uniting myself to his divine being, I sanctify myself, I perfection myself, I divinize myself", writes Teresa (Letter No. 121).
It would be hard to find better messenger of this truth than Teresa de Los Andes. As a matter of fact, the nations of Latin America are young: 60% of their population has less than 30 years of age. Teresa was a nice young girl, joyful, communicative, fond of sport, who tried to make virtue lovable. She speaks a language accessible to all.
"How much I would like that all would love God, but before anything else that they would know him", she wrote (Letter No. 60). Her life and writings are an enthusiastic invitation to deal with God though Christ in a familiar way. From her first communion on, "I would receive holy communion every day and would speak a long time with Jesus" (Diary No. 6). Before even entering the Carmel she already longed for her entire life to be a continuous silent prayer. Everywhere, even in the street and in the feasts, she would speak to Jesus. Her brother Lucho said that "her soul was kneeling before God". Teresa felt a pressing need to pray. From the cloister she said that aspeople in love look for solitude to share their love, she finds her happiness to live hidden in Christ, immersed in infinite Being, without the interposition of any creature.
Teresa is convincing when she invites us to enter into relationship with God. She teaches us how to deal with Jesus in a familiar way, to speak to him heart to heart, without affected speech or complex methods. She is convincing because this conversation with Jesus is neither an evasion nor an alienation. It requires to listen to Christ's voice, to be available to accomplish the divine will, to commit oneself to eliminate everything in us that displeases the Lord, until reaching configuration with Christ (Letters No. 56, 58; Diary No. 16, 22, 28). Teresa is convincing because the fruit of this conversation is to sacrifice egoism, to be buried with Christ to raise as new men, spiritually united to the entire world (Diary No. 58), as Teresa sacrificed herself to get the happiness of others (Diary No. 20; Letter No. 35) and made her life an offering for the salvation of mankind.
She is convincing because she invites us to a prayer in which we learn to know and love Jesus, to choose him with determination and in which we gather spiritual energy to love him for the entire day (Letter No. 105), which is the way to make our life a continuous silent prayer. Praying in this way, the ordinary person, who just cannot live in a permanent dialog with God as the monk, can and must live his entire day for God and according to God, always accomplishing his divine will, transforming his life and work into a melody of love, into a host of praise to the Most Holy Trinity.
Teresa is convincing because her life was centered on the core of the Gospel. Touched by Christ, in love for Him, always walking with Him, she learnt to organize her life, to realize in herself the enviable harmony of the divine and the human, of the relationship with God and the relationship with the neighbour, reaching a rare degree of self control, of balance and maturity which are the basis of her contagious joy.