Saint for the day: Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)
Ephesians 1:15-23 – Psalm 8 – Luke 12:8-12
“I will sing for ever of your mercies, O Lord; through all ages my mouth will proclaim your fidelity.” (today’s ‘Communion Antiphon’)
Our reading from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians continues with the theme of “faith.” Our Gospel presents us with an interesting statement: in a sense, all sins can be forgiven but then Jesus goes on to say “except the sin against the Holy Sprit.” So we have to ask ourselves, what is this “sin against the HS?”
But, before we get there we need to focus on one more facet of today’s liturgy: the Feast Day of St. Therese of Avila. She was born in the era of the Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent. Two serious events in the life of the Church. Yet this “women of God” was able to stand firm and, not only that, but go out and challenge those who were in the wrong. And all this she did – much like Catherine of Siena – in an age when women were not necessarily thought to have brains enough to find their way out of a brown paper bag! She was a contemplative women of prayer and a reformer of the Carmelite traditions. She founded countless new communities and still remained faithful to her prayer life and commitment. She had her eyes fixed on Jesus and pushed forward creating and re-creating the Carmelite way of life. In this, she did not grieve the Holy Spirit.
I believe that the “sin against the HS is one that has its origins all the way back to Genesis: “In the beginning the Spirit hovered over the diversity (or chaos) of the waters and brought them into unity and purpose. Making the HS the creator force of God. And from that first creative moment the HS is a spirit of movement and creativity. In a nutshell, any time we stifle the HS action in our lives we are at the edge of “grieving the HS.” Any time we want to go back – in a sense undoing the creative work of God and His HS we might be falling into this unforgivable sin.
Our prayer, guided by St. Therese, is: Lord, give me the courage to always move forward into your life and grace. Never let me backslide into “the way things were” but keep me on the path of creativity as we realize: “It’s Heaven all the way to Heaven. Amen!