by ROWENA OREJANA
Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn has called on the faithful to listen for the “call within a call” to put God at the
centre of their lives.
The bishop made the call as he thanked the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Auckland for fulfilling their “important
and precious” role in the diocese and the Church in New Zealand.
Bishop Dunn concelebrated Mass at the closing of the fifth centenary of the birth of St Teresa of Jesus (of Avila) on October 11 at their chapel in Royal Oak with Bishops Stuart O’Connell, SM, and Owen Dolan.
He said he is a great fan of the three Teresas: Teresa of Avila, Therese of Liseux and Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
“One of the interesting things in the life of these three women is that they all experienced what Mother Teresa of
Calcutta would call a call within a call, a second call,” he said.
With St Teresa of Avila, Bishop Dunn said, she answered the call to join the Carmelites. However, after finding the
chatter in the parlour too distracting, and losing the practice of mental prayer, she went on to establish the Discalced Carmelites, the shoeless or sandalwearing nuns.
“What characterised their life was a strict silence, a real spirit of poverty,” Bishop Dunn explained.
St Therese of Lisieux, Bishop Dunn said, also answered the call to join the Carmelites.
“Then after a few years, she took a private vow to refuse God nothing. Sort of like a call within a call,” he said.
St Teresa of Calcutta heard her second call on a train, telling her to, “Be my light”.
“The call for each of them was to place God very much in the centre of their lives. And to live a life of real simplicity, God at the heart,” Bishop Dunn said.
The bishop said we may have already answered God’s call, but we need to listen to a second calling.
“Let’s pray also for ourselves, that like Teresa of Avila we sort of just be open. Is the Holy Spirit prompting me in some way to live my life at a deeper level to respond to a call within a call as we seek to serve the Lord as his disciples?” he asked.
Sr Mariam, prioress of the Carmelites, echoed Bishop Dunn’s message, noting that the life of St Teresa called us to a deeper relationship with God.
“The life and teaching of St Teresa is a message in itself, calling us to live in Way, the Truth and the Life. We are born and made for God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in him,” she said.
She said this thought of St Augustine resonated deeply with St Teresa.
“It is true for each and everyone, now as then. ‘I am Yours, O Lord, for you I was born, for you I want to live. O Lord, what do you want of me?’
“Those words of St Teresa, sung during the Mass, have been the theme of the Teresian Year, and may they be the
theme of our lives,” said Sr Mariam.