Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Luke (12: 1-7) in which Jesus warns the disciples and the crowds against the dangers of hypocrisy and tells them how precious each of them is to God. After reading the Gospel, Fr Paul shares a little about the life of St Teresa of Avila whose memorial we celebrate today.

Before speaking of St Teresa, Fr Paul shares a chuckle that this Gospel always brings when he reads the line ‘why every hair on your head has been counted’… he reckons it’s not that hard for God to do for him these days!

Teresa was born in Avila, Spain and she entered the Carmelite convent at the age of 20.  She did this not because she was attracted to this life but because she thought is was the sensible thing to do.  It was a comfortable, well-looked after life.  She made great progress with contemplative prayer and she had some mystical experiences as a result.

In 1562 she established the Discalced Carmelites, which had an emphasis on poverty.  This was intensely opposed by the unreformed Carmelites; however, the order was finally approved in 1580 and Teresa was able to form new convents before she died, worn out, in 1582.

Teresa was declared a doctor of the Church in 1970 and so according to our tradition, today, St Teresa of Avila, pray for us.