Vatican City, Jul 16, 2012 / 09:35 am America/Denver (CNA).
Pope Benedict XVI believes that 16th-century Saint Teresa of Avila is a model for current efforts to launch the New Evangelization.
“The ultimate goal of Teresa’s reform and the creation of new monasteries in a world lacking spiritual values was to protect apostolic work with prayer,” the Pope said July 16.
“Today too, as in the sixteenth century, in the midst of rapid transformation, it is important that trusting prayer be the heart of the apostolate, so that the redeeming message of Jesus Christ may sound out clearly and dynamically,” he added.
Pope Benedict made his comments in a letter to Bishop Jesus Garcia Burillo of Avila, Spain for the 450th anniversary of St. Teresa founding the Monastery of St. Joseph, which marked the beginning of her Carmelite reform.
In promoting a “radical return” to a more austere form of Carmelite life, St. Teresa sought “to create a form of life which favored a personal encounter with the Lord,” the Pope explained.
Rather than harking back to the past, however, St. Teresa presented “a new way of being Carmelite” to “a world which was also new,” Pope Benedict observed. He quoted the Spanish saint’s own writings to her religious sisters in which she summed up the “difficult times” in which they lived.