“…The important thing is not to think much, but to love much…” Teresa of Avila
Summer seems to be a good season in which to take Teresa’s words to heart. Lazing around on a summer day allows one’s thoughts to lighten and sheer love of life to emerge. Living in Colorado, I find the joy of summer in emerging from the indoors, particularly after a snowy winter, into lengthy periods outdoors. I’ve been watching a mother robin tend her babies in a nest she built on the beam of our neighbor’s front porch. Tiny goldfinches are regular visitors to the birdbath and a baby rabbit has taken to grazing right beside our back patio. All is not sunshine and roses, however. The other day, a ferocious hailstorm ravaged the petunias and shredded trees around the neighborhood. The horrific shooting in Orlando shattered the national landscape and tinged the advent of summer with sorrow. Once again we are wrapped in a fog of grief and anguish as we mourn the deaths and wounding of so many precious people.
Does the devastation outstrip the joy? I have to trust that it doesn’t. I take to heart what Teresa wrote so many years ago about the value of love over thought. It’s not to say that our ability to think and reason is not important; quite the contrary. The problem seems to be in overthinking that can lead straight to fear and anxiety. Moving towards the heart widens the scope of our vision beyond the immediate and reveals a grander view of God. “Remember: if you want to make progress on the path and ascend to the places you have longed for, the important thing is not to think much but to love much, and so to do whatever best awakens you to that love” (The Interior Castle). The robin and the rabbit, the sun and the storm – all awaken me to a Divine love that shimmers all around us. Even in the midst of unspeakable horror, joy turns our hearts towards the sun where the warmth of God’s mercy shines upon us all.
Learn more about the life of Saint Teresa of Avila and download activities to use this summer in your home or parish.