“But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you (Luke 11:41).”

Saint Augustine of Hippo offers the following insight on this verse from today’s Gospel:

“What our Lord says, “Give alms, and behold, all things are clean to you,” applies to all useful acts of mercy. It does not apply just to the one who gives food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothing to the naked, hospitality to the wayfarer or refuge to the fugitive. It also applies to one who visits the sick and the prisoner, redeems the captive, bears the burdens of the weak, leads the blind, comforts the sorrowful, heals the sick, shows the erring the right way, gives advice to the perplexed, and does whatever is needful for the needy. Not only does this person give alms, but the person who forgives the trespasser also gives alms as well. He is also a giver of alms who, by blows or other discipline, corrects and restrains those under his command. At the same time he forgives from the heart the sin by which he has been wronged or offended or prays that it be forgiven the offender. Such a person gives alms not only because he forgives and prays but also because he rebukes and administers corrective punishment, since in this he shows mercy. There are many kinds of alms. When we do them, we are helped in receiving forgiveness of our own sins. (Enchiridion, 19)”

Today is the memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus. In February 2011, Pope Benedict XVI devoted his weekly audience to a reflection on the life and insights of this Doctor of the Church. An excerpt from of Saint Teresa’s work is provided here. This is also the Second Reading in today’s Liturgy of the Hours, Office of Readings.

As a Doctor of the Church, Saint Teresa’s teachings and writings provide authentic help in living the life of Jesus Christ. Among many of her contributions, Saint Teresa is known for her teachings on prayer. The Catechism of the Catholic Church provides some points to ponder concerning prayer. Some of the references are from Saint Teresa’s works.

O God,
Who through your Spirit
raised up Saint Teresa of Jesus
to show the Church the way to seek perfection,
grant that we may always be nourished
by the food of her heavenly teaching
and fired with longing for true holiness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever.

“Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours, no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ’s compassion to the world.
Yours are the feet with which
He is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.”

Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!