St Teresa de Jesus de Los Andes

Discalced Carmelite nun, first Chilean saint (entered heaven this day in 1920)

Dear Andy,

If I may be so bold as to speak plainly – may I?  Thank you.  The frustration you discuss in your last note is clearly the result of your own arrogance, not, as you surmised, of your holiness.  If you expected, as a freshman, to have the same kind of reputation and influence in college as you had in high school when you were a senior, it’s safe to say your expectations did not spring from an exemplary humility.  Eventually, I am sure your talents and skills will be recognized and appreciated, but before you take on some real leadership positions, either in the Catholic student union or anywhere else, you need to put in your time as a normal, dedicated, hardworking member.  You keep forgetting that God’s glory doesn’t consist primarily in visible earthly glory, but in invisible, grace-filled love.  Today’s saint can help remind you.

Teresa first experienced God’s presence in her life at the age of six.  It was one of those special vocations; God was in a hurry to bring this girl to the heights of holiness.  Then, while preparing for first Communion at the age of 10, she decided that it was time to root out all of her natural stubbornness, pride, and arrogance, and, as amazing as it may sound, she did.  She received her first Communion dressed in glorious white on the outside, and brilliantly adorned with every virtue on the inside.  From that moment, God granted her the grace of interior locutions, as well as increasing the gift of prayer and the intimacy of friendship with him.  When she was fifteen, she knew God was asking her to join the Discalced Carmelites, but she wasn’t able to enter the convent until three years later.  In the meantime, she continued going to school and shouldering all the normal household responsibilities of a girl her age.  She played sports and participated fully in school activities, but all the while she was falling more and more deeply in love with her divine Spouse.  When she took the Carmelite habit, she was 19, and in the Carmel she felt completely free to transform absolutely every detail of life into the sweetest embrace of love.  So intense was her union with God that after only eleven months, she died.  It was as if Jesus couldn’t wait any longer to bring her to himself.

On the outside, nothing was happening in this girl’s life: no Olympic medals, no child prodigy awards, not even any big charitable projects or any sign of social excellence.  But on the inside, that was another story altogether; there an immense castle of holiness and eternal love was rising.  I know your freshman year was pretty bland on the outside too; has it been as productive on the inside?

Your devoted uncle,


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