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Brookline Carmel Bulletin †††††††††††††††††††††††

October 9 1960

Cogitatio Sancta

(Holy Meditation)


Saint Teresa of Jesus†††



Beneath the apple tree, there were thou betrothed to me; there did I give thee my hand.And thou were redeemed where thy mother had been corrupted. (Spiritual Canticle: Stanza 28 of 1st, 23 of 2nd Redaction, Saint John of the Cross.)


In each one of us there is a desire to be as God.We have it because God put it there in order to draw us to Himself.Only when we are one with Him in Charity will that desire be satisfied.Until then, we will be a prey to its persistent urgings.


Having the desire, however, does not guarantee that we will fulfill it.In fact, it exposes us to great danger.The devil was able to capitalize on it, using it to trick Eve into plucking and eating the forbidden fruit, and giving it to Adam, who when he took it brought upon us all the bitter consequences of Original Sin.


The devil deceived our common mother by getting her to believe that creatures (for that is what the fruit symbolizes) can satisfy our desire to be as God.If, like Eve, we stop to reflect on it, we will come to that same conclusion:they can make us to be as gods.


When we possess a creature and attach our heart to it, we become like it.Our soul finds itself clothed with its virtues, attributes, good qualities and beauty.If we possess a great many creatures, we heap up perfections in our soul and thus begin to resemble God, who is the sum total of all perfection.


Invested with those perfections, then, the soul like God, find itself the object of a Ďcultí.It receives love, admiration, respect, fear and it exercises a certain power and influence over the minds of men.God Himself inspires these same sentiments and exercises supreme dominion over man.


Furthermore, having many possessions (capital), a man is able to impose his will upon the material universe surrounding him, and to achieve marvelous works in it.The marvels he has wrought seem to rival the wonders of God.Think of the miracles of transportation and communication.Another reason for his thinking he is as God.


Finally, if he possesses enough of creatures and exerts enough influence upon others, he can gain an exemption from human law.It is just a short step to thinking he is not subject to divine law.A man is holy when he has no external law to conform to, but becomes a law unto himself, and can do whatever he pleases, because his will is his law.


No wonder Eve, despite her powerful, unimpaired intellect, fell victim to the devilís wiles.No wonder we fall victim to the appeal of creatures so easily.We ought then to have a holy fear of a superabundance of money, talent, beauty and brains.Those who possess them are so strongly tempted to exalt themselves as a kind of god.Doing so they run such a great risk of losing their souls.


And so we marvel and bless God when we see someone who has within his grasp all that the world has to offer and rejects it in order to consecrate himself entirely to God.Saint Teresa of Jesus was one such person.She had everything:noble birth, means, beauty, brains, wit and charm.We can think of her, standing beneath the tree, like Eve.But whereas Eve succumbed to the devilís wiles and was corrupted, Saint Teresa stretched forth her hand and accepted the hand of the Son of God.She sacrificed the fruit so palatable to the rational appetite and became the spouse of Jesus Christ.On her feast day, October 15, we honor her as the Holy Mother of countless young men and women, rich in natural gifts and graces, who have followed her into the cloisters of Carmel, owing their vocation to her merits.No one of these, striving to be like his or her Holy Mother Teresa, will ever be sorry for having taken that step.We can put on the lips of Saint Teresa, and on the lips of all true Carmelites, the words of the bride of the songs:Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my Lover among men.I delight to rest in His shadow, and His fruit is sweet to my mouth.(Canticle of Canticles 2:3, Conf. Ed.)


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