Wednesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Today’s first reading recalls an event from the life of St. Teresa of Avila, the great Spanish reformer, doctor of the church, and mystic. While St. Teresa was on mule back riding through the plains of Spain she and the mule crossed a shallow river. The saddle became disengaged flipping the saint into the river while still attached to the mule. The mule made its slow progress through the river almost causing death by drowning of St. Teresa. Sputtering and finally righting herself on the mule she shouted aloud to God, “is this the way you treat people who love you. In a mystical locution the words of today’s first reading came to her:
…do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
or lose heart when reproved by him;
for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;
he scourges every son he acknowledges.
Teresa’s frustrated response was, “no wonder you have so few people who love you!
The response of St. Teresa often is ours in the face of difficulty or challenges, when we ask ourselves and others how could a good God allow so many bad things to happen. Often I ask the question asked by the Psalmist, “Oh Lord why do the evil prosper..” In a parable Jesus tells a story of a man who planted wheat and when the crop grew there were both wheat and weeds. The farm hands asked if they should go through the field and pull the weeds. “No,” the owner of the field said, “let the wheat and the weeds grow together until the harvest.” The parable reminds us that some aspects of our life will remain a mystery until the harvest. In the mean time, its ok to yell at God on occasion instead of your spouse or your children. Yelling and expressing some frustration to God may be the appropriate prayer at a given time. Keeping the conversation up with God, even in times of frustration as Teresa demonstrated, is a true mark of holiness.