I have to admit, as a martial artist whose patron saints are Michael the Archangel and Joan of Arc, the article in the October, 2014 Word Among Us about St. Teresa of Avila really caught my eye. It is written by Leopold Glueckert, a Carmelite friar.
In his article, entitled, 'Teresa of Avila: Slayer of Dragons' he refers to her as a spiritual dragon slayer because of her casual but confident approach to overturning powerful and common spiritual obstacles that we all face.
Having had many spiritual obstacles off and on throughout my life, I was interested in learning what this saintly female 'dragon slayer' had to say about deterrents in her life that led her to becoming a nun and teaching others to love the Lord. I was especially interested in Teresa because she taught with joy. She never took herself too seriously and was able to find joy and humor in problems she faced in her life.
It reminded me that despite really trying times in my life, I've always felt a pull back to wanting to be a joyful Christian. I just couldn't see the point of being a sad faced, pessimistic Catholic. What's the point of being Catholic if we don't always try to see God's goodness in everything?
I was especially happy that I found this article just as I was wallowing in a blue funk over a remark someone made to me. Though not intended to hurt my feelings, I let it happen and boy did I wallow in the mud!
While reading Glueckert's article, I realized I had found a new friend and ally in the day-to-day struggle to be a happy Catholic. Being joyful is really important to me in my ministry because I think it's by your example you help others to God, not just by your disciplines and rules. St. Teresa really helped me see that I was wrong in being mad and hurt by someone who was questioning my methods. She says if someone questions you or speaks disparagingly about your faith, you can always find a way to reply humbly but point out how much your prayer has helped in your daily life.
She also reminds us that even when we get upset with our adversaries, we owe them a smile. Why? Because, she says, "It was a loving, warm smile from God that had filled her with so much love in the first place!"
I agree! I will follow God's call in my ministry and as the author says, "Take up the shield of humility and the sword of good humor!"