ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Authentic Obedience and the Cleansing Power of Almsgiving

Updated on December 14, 2021

“I know the power obedience has of making things easy which seem impossible.” ~ Saint Teresa of Avila

“I am not ashamed of the Gospel” Paul boldly and bluntly asserts in the opening words of today’s 1st Reading (Romans 1:16-25), going on to promise that “the one who is righteous by faith will live.”

Paul points out that God has indeed revealed himself in such a way that his eternal power and divinity should be evident. Yet the wicked chose disobedience, becoming “vain in their reasoning,” giving way to the foolishness of idol worship and the like.

Disobedience is part of the intrinsically disordered and sinful human condition. Saint Teresa of Avila, whose quote leads off today’s essay and whose Feast Day we celebrate today, allowed obedience to be her roadmap to sainthood. Although born into a life of nobility in Spain, she instead chose a monastic life, one rooted in discipline, simplicity and yes, above all else, obedience.

Active during the Counter-Reformation, Teresa set out to reform the Carmelite Orders of both women and men. She would cross paths with a young Spanish Carmelite friar and mystic in the process, John of the Cross, a man destined for sainthood in his own right. This chance encounter eventually led to the establishment of the Discalced Carmelites. These men and women dedicate themselves to a life of deep and profound prayer, contemplative lives spent in cloistered monasteries.

Saint Teresa would go on to become recognized as one of only 36 Doctors of the Church, a title bestowed upon her four centuries later in 1970 by Pope Paul VI, the first woman to earn this lofty designation. Many think that attaining the title of Doctor of the Church requires one to be an uber-intellectual esoteric theologian. Saint Teresa of Avila proves otherwise. One achieves this title by re-shaping the way people go about praising, worshipping and subsequently acting out their faith and love for God. One need only read ‘The Way of Perfection’ or her seminal work ‘The Interior Castle’ to see the genuine and concise authenticity with which she taught. No-nonsense practicality was her calling card, and her words still resonate today. They’re needed now more then ever too I might add.

In our Gospel today (Luke 11:37-41) Jesus encourages the Pharisees he dines with to give alms as a means of “internal cleansing,” something he made very clear that they were in dire need of.

But aren’t we all?

Saint Clement of Alexandria, in taking this passage very much to heart, once said “Sins are purged by alms and acts of faith.”

Indifference to the poor is unacceptable to the genuine Christian. The prophets long held that compassion, feeling the pain of others in our own hearts, must become a part of who we are. We know that the two great commandments are tightly interwoven and must be pursued and obeyed as such: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart . . . and love your neighbor as yourself."

Or to give the great Saint Teresa of Avila the last word on this the day we celebrate her sainthood:

“. . . . accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul.”


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)