Late April, 2008, I accompanied Steven to a conference he was attending at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
Teresa of Avila
The beauty of staying across the street from campus meant that I had access to the bookstore, which I visited daily for hours on end. And, much to my delight, Follett had a seemingly endless sale on books throughout the store.
Among the many I purchased were three copies of Teresa of Avila (Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc., 1979) based on selections from The Interior Castle (Avila, 1577), which I intended to give to Sam and Ning, Junebug and Gary, and Neli-Beli. However, on inscribing the books at home, I noticed that one copy had an ever so slight irregularity; so I kept it instead.
Mind you, Teresa of Avila didn’t strike me as particularly interesting when I first noticed the books on sale. The brown, black, white cover was so nondescript and the colors so sedate that I wasn’t the least bit intrigued. Besides, I had no idea who Teresa of Avila was! Yet, knowing how much our Why Catholic? group members had enjoyed discussing our read-alouds, I’d thought that the book might appeal to them enough that they’d want to share their perspectives with the rest of us.
Then, a couple of months ago, I awoke with a burning question prompted by The book on St. Anthony’s miracles. More and more, my wanting to know escalated to my having to find out.
But how? Where?
Walking past the hallway shelves, I stopped without realizing what I was doing. Running my fingers along the book spines, my eye caught sight of a little blue book, so I marked the spot and pulled out the book to read its back cover and its table of contents.
Within moments I had a second book, Teresa of Avila, in tow as I proceeded to my workspace here.
As with so much that happens in life, timing had everything to do with my finding
St. Teresa’s book that Saturday morning. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that things happen in their own special time. It’s my Train A / Train B theory, although it could also be called God’s good time.
As Segy was growing up we had lots of really interesting conversations, but the one I revisit most stems from his middle school days.
Our brains are sponges, he said. They’re forever collecting information left and right, trivial and meaningful, tidbits and tomes. Our brains get so full that information can’t all be tagged and categorized right away. It’s like standing in the checkout lane at the grocery store. Information is processed only as the brain’s dendrites are able to make meaningful connections between the newly acquired and what’s already there.
Listening to Segy, I recalled my Kroger experience. Since only one lane was open, I couldn’t check out right away. Standing in line, I actively perused the books on display to make the most of my wait time. So, yes. I could easily visualize what Segy was talking about.
The brain’s always ON. Even when we’re quiet, our senses and our thoughts are still at work. Even when we forget, the brain remembers what’s etched in long-term memory.
Like a good battery gone dead, all the brain needs is a jumpstart, a sensory experience, that allows it to intuit and remember thoughts lost that had no real value when they were forgotten.
In my case I had a burning desire to quench my thirst, so… ta dah… my hands reached into the bookshelf and effortlessly located the books on St. Anthony and St. Teresa. Just like that.
By finding what was lost, the old became new with meaningful implications.
In good time
Time and again, I serendipitously connect with people, places, things, and/or ideas that propel me to another level of understanding. It’s all so bizarre yet so refreshingly awesome.
Like, OMG! So God’s actually paying attention? Listening? Helping me retrace my steps, so I can finally have a worthwhile encounter with something I’d previously overlooked?
It’s what I’ve come to call my Easter egg hunt in life.
When the time’s right, I find the means to advance to that which awaits… that wonderful, glorious knowledge that I so eagerly seek… that awareness that I’ve been oblivious to… that special moment that fills me with wonder and makes me giggle with delight.
So why worry when, in God’s good time, I’ll have the answers to all my questions?
St. Teresa’s book
And so it’s been with Teresa of Avila.
If anyone had told me that Teresa of Avila had really been meant for me to read and subsequently share, I wouldn’t have believed it. Yet, God has his ways of helping us discover what he wants us to enjoy when the time is right, the very same way he gifts us with the perfectly timed lily blossoms in our garden during the Lent and Easter season every single year.
March 3, 2014
It is a lesson we all need— to let alone the things that do not concern us. He has other ways for others to follow him; all do not go by the same path. It is for each of us to learn the path by which he requires us to follow him, and to follow him in that path (St. Katharine Drexel).
August 12, 2014
“If we patiently accept through love all that God allows to happen, then we will begin to taste even here on earth something of the delights the saints experience in heaven”
(St. Jane Frances de Chantal).
June 2, 2015
“The will of God is not a fate which has to be endured, but a holy and meaningful act which ushers in a new creation” (Fr. Romano Guardini, 1885-1968).
November 13, 2015
If God seems slow in responding, it is because he is preparing a better gift. He will not deny us. God withholds what you are not yet ready for. He wants you to have a lively desire for his greatest gifts. All of which is to say, pray always and do not lose heart (St. Augustine).
Links of interest… Fr. Romano Guardini: about (more) / Art of praying (more)… God’s perfect timing… Old Dominion: bookstore / university… St. Anthony: about (more) / biography / mail deliveries (S.A.G.) / miracles & traditions / shrine / wonder worker… St. Teresa of Avila: about (more) / biography (more) / book (more) / chaplet / doctor (more / first woman) / feast day / foundress / frases / friendship with Jesus / headaches / history / holiness & works / interior castle (more / video) / litany / memorial / mystic / novena / poems / prayers / quotes (more) / saint (more) / tribute (movie) / videos…
WP posts… Budding relationships… Christmas year ’round… Connected tangents… Gift of love… Growing pains… Holy relics… Making meaning… On being Christian… Prayer… Promise of hope… Prayerful ways… Santo Niño… Seven dwelling places… Soulful… Sweet Jesus… Teresa of Avila… Two letters… Two prompt replies… Venerable Margaret