Remain in me

It's been yet another grey, gloomy day. The mornings are getting darker, the evenings starting that bit earlier. The trees haven't yet started their vibrant transition into autumn glory, so we don't even have their reds and golds to light up our gloom. The colour is fading elsewhere, too. At the weekend I decanted all the highly useful stuff I carry around with me from my tan summer shoulder bag, and stuffed it into my black winter bag. I also stashed away my sandals, folded up the remains of my light, bright summer clothes and ironed the creases out of my winter trousers and skirts - all darker colours.

But then, just as I had finished typing those words, the sun came out and brightened everyone's mood! And for me there is another reason to be of good cheer, too, as today is the Feast of Santa Teresa, a woman who, despite numerous trials and difficulties, always managed to remember her sense of humour. She's also my patron, as I'm Silvana Teresa, so it's buon onomastico and a happy feast to me!

Inevitably, both Facebook and Twitter have been full of quotes today and yesterday evening; the well-known prayers and the one-liners, several displaying her shrewdness and dry humour, as much as her complete centredness in God. One which caught my eye came from @AandBVocations:

Prayer is not a question of what you say or feel, but of love. And you love when you try hard to say something to the Lord, even though you might not actually say anything.

It goes hand in hand with some words buried in today's Gospel. Underlying the beautiful imagery of vines and pruning, repeated two or three times, is the same urgent request - remain in me, also translated as make your home in me. Remain in me... even when all seems dark, when hope fails or prayer seems impossible or feels useless. Then, especially then, remain in me... make your home in me... remain in my love...

And that, really, is the message of Teresa's life: to remain in God, be at home in God, in prayer as in daily life; steadfast, hope-filled, and with as much grace and good cheer as possible.