Saints of WYD 2011: St. John of Avila
“Turn yourself round like a piece of clay and say to the Lord: I am clay, and you, Lord, the potter. Make of me what you will.” ~St. John of Avila
So, two of my favorite saints are St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. Those saints managed to live a life so enraptured with our Lord it rivals the greatest of love stories. St. John of the Cross wrote buckets of poetry exquisitely capturing God’s great love for Him and his love in return. And St. Teresa of Avila was one spunky, beautiful girl who daringly refused all of her many suitors and went straight to the author of romance: she married Christ and became a nun– and she still had men knocking down her doors. I kid you not. Her Mother Superior had to remove her from her cloistered counseling cell where men would come just to hear her voice and receive her sage advice. Teresa was so charming and wise men managed to fall in love with her just by hearing her voice.
And so, I just learned that the hermit on the hill who was the spiritual advisor to both of these amazing saints was none other than St. John of Avila. He started out studying law and then became a hermit… gee, I can’t imagine why. Sounds like something a lot of lawyers would appreciate today! He was known for his hugely popular and fiery sermons and the beautiful and meditative way in which he celebrated Mass. He also helped develop the theology of the priesthood. A brief imprisonment during the Inquisition even made him even more popular. St. John of Avila claimed he learned more through his year of suffering in prison than in all his previous studies. He was only recently canonized in 1970. I think people probably figured that anyone who could inspire St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila (Two Doctors of the Church) must be pretty special himself. In fact, it is said that Pope Benedict may soon declare St. John of Avila the 34th Doctor of the Church. Stay tuned to the Vatican for more info!
- Saints of WYD 2011: St. John of the Cross (virtualpilgrimage.wordpress.com)