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The Four Teresas

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  • Posted May 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Models for Living the Great Commandment Today

    Gina Loehr writes of questions we all face in trying to live our faith. She reminds us that the same kind of anxieties and uncertainties existed in Jesus' day, and that he provided a simple guide. When the Pharisees asked which commandment was the greatest, Jesus told them to love God with their whole hearts, souls, and minds and their neighbors as themselves.

    The book's first four chapters focus on the separate "Teresas" each with an emphasis on a specific element of the great commandment. For loving God, Loehr gives us Thérèse of Lisieux (with your whole heart); Teresa of Avila (with your whole soul); and Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (with your whole mind). For loving our neighbors, she has chosen Mother Teresa of Calcutta. "The lives and writings of these four women present us with clear, solid guidance for putting Christianity into practice," she writes. The fifth chapter looks at connections that link all four Teresas, from their common name to their shared belief that perfect love of God flows into love of neighbor.

    The chapters on each saint consist of biographical sketches, direct teachings, and reflections. The reflections contain a list of ten ways to be more like the saint and five "points for consideration," brief paragraphs about the saint followed by a question relating the topic to our own life.

    For example, two of the ways we might be more like Teresa of Avila are meditate on the Gospels and redirect gossip by publicly giving the benefit of the doubt to the victim. The first point for consideration suggests that if Teresa were alive today she might read magazines like Glamour and gossip with her friends. "Like many of us, she had to battle to free herself from her intense desire to have a perfect appearance and to be popular," writes Loehr. She asks us to consider how concerns about our looks and popularity distract us from seeking holiness.

    The Four Teresas offers plenty of ideas for practicing the great commandment in our own lives. It would make a lovely gift for anyone named for one of the Teresas and would also be suitable for faith sharing groups.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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