Today, June 7th, is the feast day of Blessed Ann of Saint Bartholomew, Carmelite, secretary and close friend of St. Teresa of Avila.
Ana Garcia was born at Almendral, Castille, in 1549. In 1572 she made her profession as a Carmelite in the hands of St. Teresa, at St. Joseph’s, Avila. The saint later chose her as her companion and nurse, and she subsequently brought the Teresian spirit to France and Belgium, where she proved herself, like Teresa, a daughter of the Church in her great zeal for the salvation of souls. She died at Antwerp in 1626.
A reading from the “Meditations on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ” by Bl. Anne of St. Bartholomew
According to St. Bernard it is the person who keeps silent and says nothing when things go wrong who is really humble. It is very virtuous, he says, to keep silent when people are talking about our true faults; but more perfect when we are slighted or accused without having committed any fault or sin. And though it is virtuous indeed to bear this in silence, it is more perfect still to want to be despised and thought mad and good-for-nothing, and to go on, as our Lord Jesus Christ did, wholeheartedly loving those who despise us.
If Jesus kept silent, it was not because He hated anyone. He was simply saying to His eternal Father what He said on the cross: ‘Lord, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ What infinite love burned in that sacred heart of yours, Lord Jesus! Without uttering a single word You spoke to us; without a word You worked the mysteries You came to accomplish– teaching virtue to the ignorant and blind.
What our Lord did was no small thing. Where should we get patience and humility and poverty and the other virtues, and how could we carry the cross for one another, if Christ had not taught us all this first, and given Himself as a living model of all perfection?
Blessed silence! In it You cry out and preach to the whole world by Your example. Volumes could be written about Your silence, Lord! There is more wisdom to be learned from it by those who love You than from books or study.
Our Lord became a spring for us, so that we should not die of thirst among all the miseries that surround us. How truly He said in the Gospel that He came to serve and not to be served! What tremendous goodness! Can we fail to be shamed by Your words and deeds, and the patience You show with us every day? How truly, again Lord, did You say: ‘Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart.’
Where can we obtain this patience and humbleness of heart? Is there any way to achieve it except by taking it from Christ as He taught it to us with those other virtues we need–faith, hope and charity? Without faith we cannot follow that royal road of the divine mysteries. It is faith that opens our eyes and makes us see the truth; and where faith is wanting there is no light, and no way leading to goodness.