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Let nothing

Disturb you,

Let nothing

Frighten you,

All things are

Passing away:

God never changes.

Patience obtains

All things.

Whoever has God

Lacks nothing;

God alone suffices.

     St. Teresa of Avila

     1515 - 1582


This year marks the 500th anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila's birth. To commemorate this, we have been saying the above prayer at the beginning of English class. We have not spent much time discussing what this great Doctor of the Church is teaching in this well-known prayer; for now, just learning the words by heart and letting them sink into our memory is good enough. What we have spent some time doing, though, is learning how to read the words with meaning. I took the liberty of presenting the prayer with shortened lines, giving it the appearance of a poem. For such a brief work, there are a number marks of punctuation within it: comma's, period's, a colon, and a semi-colon. Each one of these demands a different kind of pause on the reader's part.

The students tend to gallop through this paying scant attention to the layout of the text. More than a few times, we have needed to go " back to the top and try it again ." Perhaps they think I'm being too exacting to detail in this, but the added effort has paid off. Now when they recite this in class the pacing does justice to the words. I had to chuckle to myself at their success recently, following several days of correction and encouragement. Patience does obtain all things, I guess.


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