St. Teresa of Avila by Peter Paul Rubens
One humorous story tells of her being thrown from a horse as she crossed a river. Looking up to heaven, it is reported that she said, “If this is how you choose your friends, Oh God, no wonder you have so few!”
One theme of this Synod has been the hardship of religious liberty endured in places like the Middle East, the Far East, and Africa.
As I listen to accounts of the assaults on religious liberty, my heart goes out to those who suffer. I also acknowledge the assaults in the United States, especially the Department of Health and Human Services mandates.
As we seek the courage to stand up for religious freedom as the first freedom, we also seek the example of St. Teresa of Avila, who brought joy and even humor to a world filled with hardships.
In the midst of hardship, we often find stories of lively faith among those who trust God and embrace the gift of joy, a gift that allows us to enjoy the humorous parts of life.
The gift of joy is a great lesson as I begin the second week of the Synod and the responsibility that comes with it. We need, sometimes, to take ourselves less seriously and trust in God’s grace to direct the new evangelization amidst hardship and, yes, the joy and even humor of serving the Lord Jesus.