Benedict XVI Reflects on 450 Years of Carmelite Reform

Recommends St. Teresa’s Daring: Fear Not to Tell Our Lord, ‘I Am Yours’

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By Junno Arocho

ROME, JULY 16, 2012 ( Benedict XVI sent a message today to Bishop Jesús Garcia Burillo of Avila, Spain, to mark the 450th anniversary of the beginning of the Carmelite Reform and the founding of the Carmelite convent of St. Joseph in Avila. 

The Pope said he was united with the Diocese of Avila, the Order of the Discalced Carmelites, and with all those who follow the spirituality of St. Teresa. 

«In fact, a saint is not one who carries out great feats based on the excellence of his human qualities, but one who allows Christ to penetrate their soul, to act through their person, He being the real protagonist of all their actions and desires, who inspires every initiative and sustains every silence,» the Holy Father said. 

Reflecting on the reform of the Carmelites, the Pontiff said that it was «born of prayer and tends to prayer» and that it fostered a way of life that favored a more personal encounter with Jesus Christ. «The convent of Saint Joseph was born precisely so that [Teresa’s] daughters would have the best conditions to find God and establish a profound and intimate relationship with Him,» he said. 

Saying that the Teresian reform protected apostolic work through prayer in a world that lacked spiritual values, Pope Benedict XVI reiterated that «confident prayer be at the heart of the apostolate, so that the message of the Redeemer Jesus Christ will resound with crystal clarity and forceful dynamism.» The Holy Father also called for all members of the Church, especially young people, to take the vocation of sanctity seriously. 

«Following in Teresa of Jesus’ footprints, allow me to say to those who have the future before them: aspire also to belong totally to Jesus, only to Jesus and always to Jesus. Fear not to tell Our Lord as she did: ‘I am yours, for you I was born, what do you want me to do?’ And I ask Him to enable you to respond to his calls illumined by divine grace, with ‘determined determination,’ to offer the ‘little’ that is in you, trusting that God never abandons those who leave everything for His glory,» he said. 

Pope Benedict XVI concluded his message to Bishop Garcia Burillo entrusting the Church in Avila to the Blessed Virgin Mary and exhorting them to continue on the mission of carrying out the mission that St. Teresa of Avila began 450 years ago. «I place under her maternal protection the apostolic endeavors of the Church in Avila so that, rejuvenated by the Holy Spirit, she will find the appropriate ways to proclaim the Gospel with enthusiasm and courage. May Mary, Star of evangelization, and her chaste spouse Saint Joseph intercede so that the ‘star’ that the Lord lighted in the universe of the Church with the Teresian reform will continue to radiate the great brilliance of the love and truth of Christ to all men,» the Pope said. 

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