From the believer's heart

Last night I asked a Carmelite friend what readings they use for today's saint, Teresa of Avila, which they keep as a solemnity. And as soon as I saw which Gospel, I remembered a retreat from some years ago, in which these verses were woven through, as a leitmotif.

Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink... out of the believer's heart shall flow rivers of living water...
John 7: 37-38

Digging out my old journal I found notes from that retreat, and reflections on a nearby half-dry stream, a trickle in some places and an isolated puddle in others. Throughout, there was a call to deeper, more prolonged prayer, both as the means of satisfying my thirst for God, and to enable me to become living water for others.

And I also discovered that during the retreat I'd copied out some words from Fray Francisco de Osuna, a sixteenth-century Spanish Franciscan friar and author, whose book The Third Spiritual Alphabet was a great influence on... St Teresa herself! I didn't write any reflections on these words, and can't even remember praying with them, but the rich imagery and connection with the Gospel is so clear.

And I can feel Teresa inviting me to share them today, on her feast...

So dam up with reeds the fountain of your soul whose love... is always springing forth, so that it will be forced to rise. Should it not rise, if it remains quiet and at rest within you, you will see the image of God reflected in your own clear waters, more resplendent there than in any other thing, provided the disturbing turmoil of thoughts dies down.

Happy feast everyone (unless you're a Carmelite, in which case - happy solemnity!) May St Teresa's prayers help us to grow as people whose hearts rest in God, whose image we cannot help reflecting and radiating, with love which is always rising, brimming over, springing and flowing forth...