Teresita Quevedo’s Code of Amiability January 25, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, mortification, reading, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
I have been reading the biography of Teresita Quevedo (Sister Maria Theresa of Jesus O. Carm) for some time. I highly recommend it. Mary was truly her life. She gave such great evidence of heroic virtue during such a short life. She is emblematic of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, though she did not develop such an exalted, simple form of piety that has been adopted by millions (or, at least, they have tried to adopt it).
One thing Venerable Teresita Quevedo did develop, however, was her Code of Amiability. Even from a young age, family members and friends were amazed by Teresita’s kindness, generosity, and consideration of others. These characteristics and others informed her general code of amiability, something which I believe, if adopted by many souls, could lead to a religious/spiritual revival, even restoration. Given that we have now started Septuagesima and thus our preparations for Lent, I recommend this Code of Amiability as a possible means of mortification during these penitential seasons:
Amiability was Teresita’s most characteristic virtue. She drew up a norm for acquiring amiability which she printed on a large card. Painted on the foreground is a picture of Our Lady with the Child Jesus in her arms. Under the image, in Teresita’s writing, are the words: “Code of Amiability.” It reads as follows:
The virtue of amiability results from the fusion of several strong virtues. It is the “all things to all men” that grows out of charity; the knowledge of self that humility teaches; the pure detachment found in mortification; the meekness born of patience; and the undaunted courage won of perseverance.
Of what does amiability consist? To be amiable, as the Mother of God is amiable, one must radiate a strong sweetness – one that will bring a smile to the lips of another and invite confidence. Amiability moves one to give in meekly to the wish of another, or to lighten another’s burden with a kind and comforting word. It is the priceless fruit of union with Our Lady
What are the ten commandments of the Code? The Code of Amiability obliges one:
- To smile until a kindly smile forms readily on one’s lips.
- To repress a sign of impatience at the very start.
- To add a word of benevolence when giving orders.
- To reply positively when asked to do a favor.
- To lend a helping hand to the unfortunate.
- To please those toward whom one feels repugnance.
- To study and satisfy the tastes of those with whom one lives.
- To respect everyone.
- To avoid complaining.
- To correct, if one must, with kindness.
I have seen the fruit of attempts to follow Teresita’s Code of Amiability up close, and I can say that they can make a tremendous difference in the conduct of family life, to give just one instance. They are a very good pathway towards learning self-denial and, from that, humility. Mortifications need not be grand acts. In fact, it is better when they are not, but are instead little acts of penance made throughout the day.
But because some readers are likely already familiar with Teresita’s Code of Amiability, I also thought I would include her “little sack of virtues,” as well:
“I have seen clearly what I must do to become a Saint. I had been apprehensive about the way I was using time, for I realize that no fraction of the important years in [our lives] should be lost. However, after consulting an authority on the spiritual life I feel completely at ease about my distribution of time. Father makes the ascent to sanctity seem quite simple. He explained what I must do to be a Saint and I intend to take advantage of every point he listed, after, of course, recommending myself to Our Blessed Lady. She will lead me to whatever Jesus wills every moment of the day. Nevertheless, I must examine my conscience on the following points every evening:
- No matter how slight they may be, imperfections must be avoided.
- When filled with defects, one should not become discouraged. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
- If one falls, she must place herself under Our Lady’s cloak immediately.
I have been thinking lately that it would be a good idea to have a spiritual sack into which the day’s works may be placed. Every evening I could bring it to Our Lady and ask here to remove the defects. Free from flaws, I would take the sack to His Eucharistic Presence and offer it to Jesus. I shall do this! Years from now, when the sack is full, I believe I will have reached sanctity. O my Mother, I know you will help me. I also know that it will take the rest of my life to fill the sack.”
And it did, though the end came less than two years after Venerable Teresa Quevedo wrote the diary entry above. She was always in a great rush to reach sanctity – a particular Grace given her by Our Lord, Who knew her life would not be a long one. It did not take years to fill the sack, but only months.
We, too, may not have as long as we think. Sanctity is often a project we defer for what we think are very good reasons. We are too busy. We’ll focus on it when we have more time. The kids, the spouse, work, they are more pressing. But sanctity deferred is frequently – I might even say almost always – sanctity that never arrives.
I pray I may follow Venerable Teresita Quevedo’s good advice, especially during this Septuagesima and Lent. This is a method whose simplicity is great enough that even children could make use of it, just as many children place straw in the creche’ during Advent, to prepare a bed for Baby Jesus’ arrival.
Venerable Teresita Quevedo, pray for us!