Martyrdom is not something punctual that affects only those some particular persons who, in concrete context and circumstances, offer their life for Christ giving testimony of their faith shedding their blood. It’s something wider and deeper than we could imagine. Let’s remember words of Saint Ignatius of Antioquia: «I am a grain of God and I ground in between teeth of the beast to become pure bread of Christ… When the world won’t see my body anymore, then I will be truly a disciple. Pray to Christ for me so I may achieve to be a sacrifice for God… If I suffer, I will be free in Jesus Christ and I will be risen free in Him».
During history there have been many people who have had become this grain of God crushed by the teeth of so many persons and circumstances, that even being good and maybe without malice, because it’s not a case for judging when it is already forgive, have propitiated that those souls chosen by God, like our sister Teresa, would celebrate and live becoming bread of Christ.
One becomes martyr when he is Eucharist, allowing Christ to live in him, experiencing in his own flesh the mystery of death and resurrection of the Lord. “Because for me, to live is Christ and to die is to gain. But if living in the flesh means a fruitful labor for me, I don’t know what to choose…” (Flp 1:21–22).
The gain of dying arrives living Eucharist as martyrdom, arrives celebrating with words and life the One who died for us, arrives being memory in our own flesh of the passion and resurrection of Christ. To celebrate and die is to live and achieve the life of the Risen one.
There was an invisible martyrdom that pinched the body, mind and soul of sister Teresa Mira. Sisters who lived with her and many people close to her were not able to see this light she was bearing in her lamp made of mud; there were even those who, because of jealousy, frustration, ambition, egocentrism… dared to put a block over this lamp so its light wouldn’t be noticed and wouldn’t shine. But Jesus got this small flame with gratitude and put it on the high, so that whole world could see and give glory to God.
The martyrdom lived by Teresa was propitiated by social and communitarian circumstances, although not everybody was ready to acknowledge that, that killed her body directly, meaning they didn’t obliged her to reject her faith to save her life, but they brought her to give testimony of her faith with her life in high and clear manner, even when she did it in silence and as if nothing was happening. Because sometimes it seemed she was against current when in reality she was right searching the true current. She never wanted to stand out, but still there were those who felt bad because it seemed to them she was standing out too much; without wanting to be noticed her presence was noticed by all; when some didn’t want her to be present because she was casting shadow on them, her absence was more than noticeable and she was missed by all…
Teresa was a faithful heart that was holding on to Christ; she didn’t escape from the challenges of communitarian life and its conflicts, rather she answered and faced them showing attitudes of courage and perseverance that put in her hands this palm of martyrdom that will never be invisible in the eyes of God.
Things were arriving to her with subtlety, and that’s how she fought then, with subtlety, but also with courage of Jacob in the middle of the night. Almost noone saw in her great struggles, also her good deeds, which we remember now and share with so much respect and love. But those who truly loved her and knew her, knew from the first hand what was happening. It was something bigger than a simple „do good to everyone”, that is something good in itself.
“I, sister Teresa of Child Jesus of Prague, make my profession and promise to God and to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel and to our General Mother obedience, chastity and poverty…”
That’s how humbly she pronounced her offer to Christ, that’s how between God and this small woman of great soul there was a beautiful covenant. In her heart there were not words of ritual. She listened inside of her those words of Saint Paul that were becoming in her a way of life: „Rejoice always in the Lord; once more, rejoice. May your measure be known among all men. The Lord is near. Let nothing disturbed you; rather in every occasion present your petitions to God through prayer and plea accompanied by thanksgiving. And peace which surpasses all knowledge will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus” (Flp 4:4-7).
And that’s how it was, she remained joyful, from the moment of her profession, offering her small coin with value of remaining joyful in spite of not having, like other sisters, her loved ones who would accompany her, and she remained in the chapel, with her Spouse, united in one „Yes, I do”, offering herself for the souls of those she loved in heaven, accepting he with love this humble offering. Meanwhile other sisters in a cloister were embracing and chatting with their families. And she went to serve this same night, to keep vigil at the bed of a sick person, because in so big a house with so many sisters, the superior had no idea of finding someone more appropriate than the newly professed sister Teresa of Child Jesus of Prague (because noone from her family came…). Her Spouse was also smiling and keeping in his Sacred Heart those precious coins (cf. Luc 21:2-4).
She was touched by love, touch by Love. And she began her configuration with Christ, martyr of all martyrs. Because although young, she already had some way done, her soul was already broken into pieces, and it will continue breaking, but she learned not to waste anything, to pick up these pieces and keep them wrapped in a scarf she would offer to Mary, in a mantle she would offer Jesus, she would pick them up carefully, so they wouldn’t lose their value, and would keep them in her interior basket. This basket in which by the law of love the bread for the hungry will be miraculously multiplied.
She made a covenant of love with God himself, and then came what had to come to fulfil said liaison. Sickness was coming, at the same time with so many incomprehensions of her sisters who were thinking it couldn’t be that a young one wouldn’t work and serve to the elder and sicker ones. Because her face wasn’t showing it; her smile and affability were the same just to please and sew harmony.
And she picked up the last piece of her soul made grain and bread, she kept it in her basket and continued journeyed with discalced feet starting to step on holy land, because in her interior the bush was already burning without being consumed. She were noticing that even when she wasn’t feeling strong enough, she was strong enough; she was the first one to get surprised on how she was able to overcome this load of fatigue that wasn’t allowing her to work and to be happy for accompanying Jesus in his pain when she also was feeling her own pain while doing her conventual tasks entrusted to her, without loosing his Sweet Company that sounded for her made a Voice inside and Neighbor outside. From there she was feeling encouraged to struggle against this physical, moral an spiritual pain which was transforming slowly into the „invisible martyrdom”, which was transforming her slowly into another Christ.
“Rather heap up treasures in heaven, where there are no moths or rust to corrode, no thieves to undermine and steal. Because where your treasure is, there your heart will also be” (Mt 6:20-21).
We don’t know how much it cost her to say goodbye to this world, because sometimes it seems that it’s easy for holy souls, as if it was a natural grace that comes given from heaven and there it is, but the voice of God sewing a talent of capacity has to be accompanied by a response of a human being making effort and putting his will. Teresa knew to leave it all with dignity, respect, interior harmony, as if it was easy, but God only knows how much it cost her, because to offer to God something that is easy would be like to offer him an empty box. The value in the eyes of God is in what it means for each one of us. This way, step by step, Teresa went letting go of feelings, things, reasons… that she was exchanging for sacrifices of poverty, chastity and obedience, sacrifices that far from alienating her from the world were making her free, close, more human.
To let go the easy staff was not a big deal; to let go of feelings, persons she loved… was more complicated, but she discovered that what one can bring in own heart would never be lost, but its value would increase. In this she worked her whole life, in knowing how to distinguish between what she should bring in her heart and what drops from the pockets of a soul no matter how hard we would like to keep it.
In the last moments of her life she lived loneliness and silence as this kind of a company that was bringing to her the news of her Beloved that was near. „Every day good Jesus gives another blow, I don’t know when the last one will be, even if I would hope for what I hope, I would desire it the way I desire…”. She was being conformed, meaning, she was acquiring a form more and more similar to „the One who gave his life for us”. She had a no consecrated form close to the holy images on one chair near her bed, something that was helping her to be close with Jesus in the Sacrament, was helping her to make spiritual communion when she wasn’t able anymore to participate in the Eucharist. She also missed so much her beloved sister Magdalena, for whom she sew some pieces of paper with intention of writing to her with last words of love. She missed to hug and brush little children with whom she learned so much. She missed to go out on the street to share a little bit of herself that she was bringing hidden in this extraordinary basket. But with time it was less and less what she was missing because what she was giving, she was receiving it in return. She knew where her heart was, and as the Gospel says: „where your treasure is, there your heart will also be”(Mt 6.21).
„I tell you that if they will be silenced, stones will shout”(Lc 19:40)
She faded away silently, February 26. The bells sang of it, those heard miraculously by some of those persons who even before were able to hear her when nobody else was listening, because she passed through this world without making noise, as many of those who knew her use to say. Her lamp of mud burnt out in this world to start shining in heaven made a star, the small one, the one that doesn’t want to be in the spotlight. And it seemed as if nothing happened, but Teresa Mira did happen, a consecrated woman, „an invisible martyr”, who at the image of her Spouse passed through this world doing good. And she continues doing good, because she continues pleading. Hopefully we will know to live picking up and keeping our soul surrendered by pieces to be able, like she, to make ona beautiful offer, even though in remanded basket.
The Gospel reminds us that „many are called and few are chosen” (Mt 22:14), and I like to think that it’s also other way out: „many called, few decided”, but of the latter ones, the decided, the capable of accepting „the invisible martyrdom” is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Sister Pili Jordà CMT