How We Spent Our Summer Vacation, Part 5: The Labor Day Week Finale!

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Each year around Labor Day, we have the privilege and joy of extending hospitality to one of our Dominican friars, Father Luke Buckles, O.P., before he returns to the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) in Rome, where he is a professor of theology. This year, as part of his visit, we were treated to a two-session seminar on Dominican and Carmelite mystics. Father wove together insights from St. Catherine of Siena, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. John of the Cross. One common thread that emerged was the unity of life bestowed by grace in the lives of the mystics. Each of these Doctors of the Church experienced a profound sense of God’s presence at every moment and in every circumstance, whether sacred or mundane.

While we make think that mysticism is too lofty for everyday life, Father reminded us of a few lessons from these great saints: St. Teresa of Avila taught her sisters that prayer is never interrupted by charity. If one is called out of choir to help a sister in need, there is no break in one’s prayerful union with the Lord. St. Therese of Lisieux found heaven in doing little, mundane tasks, such as picking up a pen from the floor, with great love for God and neighbor. St. Catherine of Siena is famous for her discovery of the “interior cell,” in which she constantly dwelt with God even in the midst of a crowd.

And to quote another Dominican, Meister Eckhart, we are challenged: “Don’t go around doing holy things. Make everything you do holy!”