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What we are Celebrating

There was once a woman who lived in a time when, even more than now, men were at the helm of the ship of history, driven by an insatiable thirst for power that took them to fight an endless number of wars and exploit innocent peoples. She lived behind the walls of an enclosed convent and there she received the sad news of wars even among those who professed her own religion, of people who died without hearing about the God she loved.

Thus, she felt all the pain of the world, all the pain of a period in time, she saw it while she thought she could do nothing because she was a woman and, as a woman, she was suspect, because she could only ever say the odd word, because those who needed to listen to her ignored her and thought she was incapable.

That woman was Teresa of Jesus and the 500th anniversary of her birth will take place on 28 March 2015. Like us now, she also knew that history was controlled by only a few, but she never believed she would be unable to change anything. That is possibly the main difference between us and her.

Standing before God, she knew him as a Friend and Teacher, as a Living Book in which she could understand her own truth and the truth of the world. In Christ, her Beloved, God revealed his concerns to her for history, his concerns for the men and women of all times, his concerns for her.

Teresa knew that, by giving her life to others, Jesus had marked out her path and asked her to follow his footsteps and that, walking by His side, she could also help change history, transform the city on earth into the city of God and leave the imprint of His kingdom on this world. And she set about her work.

She founded small communities of women who were determined to show the world that love can change history. There, her daughters lived (and lived today) in love for each other, capable of relinquishing everything in favour of others, without imposing on themselves, without overcoming the temptation of greed and exaggerated concern for themselves, which leads us to a lack of concern for others, knowing that each man and each woman is a companion on the road whose life is a word I have to respect and listen to.

Celebrating the 5th Centenary of St Teresa is, above all, deciding to discover that, among the ashes of this world, there are still burning coals of another world that is much fairer, much more human and possible. Remembering her can help you become aware of how much you can do to change things if you decide to change yourself, to opt for a life that is simpler and more committed, more in accordance with the Word of Jesus, the Word of love.

Then, we will celebrate a Centenary that is not just a 'celebration of archaeology' or a romantic return to a glorious past that is nostalgically missed; we will turn it into a time of spiritual reactivation and renewal, of rejuvenation.

Thanks to St Teresa, celebrating this event will help us face up to the present and future with courage, with creativity and decision, determined to achieve a fairer world with more solidarity in which each person can discover that they are unique and unrepeatable, that they are loved and called to be happy, but that they will not be happy if they shut themselves off and refuse to open themselves up to God and others.