The most beautiful and pathetic female figure that stands out in the age of the great convulsion which rent Europe into two religious camps, is that of Theresa of Avila: beautiful, because of her exquisitely pure and sincere character and strength of purpose; pathetic, because all her saintliness, all her energies, were directed in a false channel, and to build up what crumbled to pieces almost as soon as the breath left her body.
S. Theresa was born at Avila, in Spain, in the province of the same name and the kingdom of Castile, 1515. Her parents belonged to the class of gentry, and were well connected, but not wealthy.
“To know Avila,” says Miss G. C. Graham, 318in her book Santa Teresa, “to wander through its streets, to watch the sun rise and set over the sombre moorlands beyond the city walls—is greatly to know Teresa. In one of its fortress-houses, where on the shield over the gateway the bucklers of the Davilas were quartered with the rampant lion of the Cepedas, she was born and passed her childhood. In the cathedral which looms over the city walls, half church, half fortress, she worshipped and gazed with ardent eyes, and with a thrill of wonder and terror, into the dim mysteries of its roof. In the quiet cloisters of the Encarnacion she passed the greater part of her life of peace and contemplation. These time-stained stones, these silent cloisters—all that remains in outward bodily form of that strangely complex age, which produced her and the gentle San Juan de la Cruz, so different from her in character and tendencies, together with Philip II., the gloomy and conscientious bigot who championed both—shaped and moulded her existence, shut in and controlled her life. Most meet background for her whose whole life was to be one long battle, this city 319of warriors and knights—their very memory all shadowy.”
Her father was twice married, and Theresa was the eldest daughter by the second wife, who bore him seven sons and two daughters. By his first wife he had two sons and a daughter. She says of this family, “They were all bound to one another by a tender love, and all resembled their parents in virtue except myself.”
The young men for the most part went to the “Indies” to carve out fortunes for themselves, but always looked back wistfully and with love to the old home and the dear sisters and parents there. There was much that was grand and full of promise in ancient Spanish life—great domestic attachment, simplicity, integrity, and self-respect, together with a dauntless spirit and a love of adventure. But a fatal darkness came over it. The liberal and democratic institutions of the country were destroyed by the King’s ambition of obtaining absolute power; and, worst of all, the Inquisition was suffered to scotch and kill all free intellectual life.
320Theresa from an early age was full of vital, intellectual and spiritual energies, but none of these was allowed an outlet. With her extraordinary powers, and with her indomitable will, had her energies been directed to expand in practical good works, she might have transformed the position of her countrywomen.
It was, perhaps, impossible for Theresa to revolutionise the position of women in Spain; the thought of attempting such a thing did not occur to her. So she did the only thing that seemed possible—immure them; that they might not gossip, nor fritter their lives in visiting and entertaining.
To return to her biography.
Her favourite brother, Rodrigo, four years older than herself, was her companion in play. Along with him she pored over an old book of the Lives of the Saints and Martyrs. “When I saw the martyrdom which they had suffered for God,” she wrote in after years, “it seemed to me that they had bought the enjoyment of God very cheaply, and I longed to die like them. Together with my brother I discoursed how it would be possible to accomplish 321this. We agreed to go to the land of the Moors, begging our way for the love of God, there to be beheaded; and it seems to me that the Lord gave us courage even at so tender an age, if we could have discovered a means of accomplishing what we desired. But our parents seemed to us the great obstacle.” It is said that the two children actually started, carrying with them provisions for the journey. She was then only six or seven. They got out of the town and on to the bridge, where their uncle, who was jogging into Avila on horseback, saw them, stopped and asked what they were about, and whither going. He at once took them home again.
After her mother’s death her father took her to the convent of the Encarnacion. Her elder sister had been married in 1531, and there was no one to look after her at home. In the peaceful retreat of the convent she remained for a year and a half, till, falling ill, she was sent home. A visit she paid during her convalescence to her sister Maria, the wife of a Castilian gentleman who had a country house two days’ journey from Avila, determined her 322vocation. Half-way lived her uncle, Pedro de Cepeda, in an old manor-house. He was a grave, formal gentleman, without wife and children, who attended to his estate, and read only religious books. The young girl stayed the night in his house, and the old man asked her to read aloud to him one of his favourite books of devotion. Out of courtesy she concealed her distaste, and read to him in the evening. She remained there more than one night, probably because not strong enough to proceed upon her journey, and every evening continued the reading. She says: “Although the days I stayed with him were few, such was the effect the words of God I read and heard had on my heart, and the good companionship, that I began to understand the truth—that all was nothing, and that the world was vanity, and that everything ended speedily.” She prosecuted her journey after this rest, but her mind was working out the solution of her own destiny. She saw life under a new aspect.
She made up her mind to become a nun, though without any very sincere vocation. Her 323father gave his consent, and she entered the convent of the Encarnacion as a novice.
The sisterhood was easy-going and numerous. So many men at this period went to the New World, that women abounded, and having nowhere else to go, settled into convents for their convenience, and not for the sake of devotion. “The discipline,” says Miss Graham, “was not severe; in its atmosphere of relaxation and secularism, worldly rank was as potent as in this century: no strict, demure sisterhood that of the Encarnacion, where nearly a hundred merry, noisy, squabbling, sometimes hungry and chattering, women made the best of a life forced on them.”
It was a convenient, harmless sort of pension for middle-aged ladies who were single; but, of course, not quite suited to young girls without a vocation. The sisters went about, paid visits, received friends, just as in an hotel. All would have been well enough had they been given definite work—the education of poor girls, Sunday-schools, nursing the sick, the care of orphans—but they had nothing to occupy their time or their minds except the 324choir offices in Latin, which they did not understand.
For a while Theresa fell in with this sort of life, frivolity and religion mixed in equal proportions—frivolity bred of idleness. But it did not satisfy her; it was not what she wanted. She was full of impulse and had a soul desirous of better things. Not for a moment did the thought dawn on her that these good women might be made useful in their generation. A woman is hardly ever an innovator, and the notion of innovation never entered the mind of Theresa. The only course that she could take was to make the enclosure of the nuns strict, and to impose silence on their flow of silly talk. Consequently she brooded on the idea of a reform, and a reform in this direction.
Theresa returned to the Encarnacion after a serious catalyptic attack, on Palm Sunday, 1537. She was then about twenty-two; and twenty-five years of her life were spent within its walls in spiritual and physical troubles, all produced by the same cause—having nothing worthy of her powers to occupy her.
Through all these years this grand woman, 325full of practical commonsense, with fervent devotion to God in her heart, fired with desire to do something for Him, with a really wonderful tact and charm of manner that was irresistible, had been chafing at her impotence.
Talking with a friend one day, she heard that certain nuns of the Carmelite Order, to which the Encarnacion belonged, had gone back to observance of the primitive rule. What that primitive rule was she did not know; but the friend, a widow lady, said: “How should you like to join me, and become barefooted nuns, and help me to found a convent of this sort?” The idea fired the brain of Theresa, and she went to the Superior to ask permission to start a convent of the strict rule. The Superior and Provincial gave their consent after great hesitation, and arranged that the new house should contain thirteen nuns, and enjoy a fixed revenue. But here S. Theresa interposed; she positively refused to have a revenue. The house must be founded in absolute poverty.
“As soon as our intention began to get wind in the town, there arose such a storm 326of persecution as is quite indescribable. The scoffs, the jeers, the laughter, the outcries that this was a ridiculous, fantastic undertaking, were more than I can speak of.”
The Provincial, thinking it would not do to run counter to popular opinion, changed his mind, and refused to permit the foundation.
“In the meantime I was in very bad odour in the house where I was, because I wished to draw the enclosure more tight. The sisters said that I insulted them, and that God was served well in their convent, and that it would be far better for me to devote my energies to procuring money for that house already existing than to found a new one. Some even wanted to put me in prison, and there were but few who took my part.”
After about six months she persuaded her sister with great secrecy to buy her a house in Avila. Then, delighted to have a mystery to play with, she set to work to prepare for turning this house into a convent of barefooted Carmelites. Happily for her she obtained the favour of the bishop, and also a papal brief; and then very secretly, on S. Bartholomew’s 327Day, 1562, she and a few intimates moved into this house. All went on smoothly till after dinner. Theresa had lain down for her siesta, when the house was disturbed by the arrival of a messenger from the convent of the Encarnacion with peremptory orders for her return as well as that of two of the nuns she had persuaded to follow her. The convent was in wild excitement. She was obliged to return, but she was able to hold her own; she had the papal brief to display.
What follows is comical. The town council and the cathedral chapter were convulsed at the news. The mayor sent messages about to convoke a grand assembly of the city council to decide what was to be done, and orders to Theresa to leave the house. But she was resolute. Then, when the town council was baffled, the mayor endeavoured to effect a compromise, being much put out at a woman having defied all the city magnates. But she flourished in his face the brief and an authorisation from the bishop, and he returned defeated. The city magnates in high dudgeon appealed to the sovereign, Philip II., and 328Theresa was obliged also to send a delegate to court to plead her case. The opposition dragged on for a year, but in the end Theresa carried her point. It was not worth the storm in a teacup raised.
This was the beginning. Even in Spain it was felt that a change in monastic life was necessary.
But reform assumed the direction of recurrence to severe asceticism, a phase as out of date as could well be conceived, and which accordingly flickered for a while, and then expired.
Theresa was delighted to enlist some earnest friars in the cause, and they reformed the Carmelite monasteries on the same lines as those she had pursued with the convents.
In her own account of how she founded her various establishments, she says:—
“I lived five years in the convent of S. Joseph at Avila, after I had founded it; and I think that they were the most quiet years of my life. I there enjoyed the tranquillity and calmness which my soul has often since longed for…. The number in the house was thirteen, a number which I was resolved not to exceed. 329I was much delighted at living among such pure and holy souls, for all their care was to serve and praise our Lord. His Divine Majesty sent us everything necessary without our asking; and whenever we were in want—and that was seldom—their joy was all the greater. I praised the Lord for giving them such heroic virtue, and especially for endowing them with indifference to what concerned their bodies. I, who was their Superior, never remember to have been troubled with any thought in this matter, because I firmly believed that our Lord would not be wanting to those who had no other wish than how to please Him. With regard to the virtue of obedience, I could mention many things which I here saw in them. One at present recurs to me. One day a few cucumbers were given to us, and we were eating them at our meal. The cucumber that fell to my share was rotten inside. I called one of the sisters, and to prove her obedience, bade her plant it in the garden. She asked if she should plant it upright or sideways; I said ‘sideways,’ and she immediately did so, without the thought 330occurring to her that it must decay. Her esteem for obedience was so superior to her natural reason, that she acted as if believing that what I ordered was proper.”
In course of time, the eager, active mind of Theresa formed a new scheme. She had now a convent of discalced nuns; she was resolved to have also a monastery of discalced friars. The General of her Order came to Avila from Rome; she explained to him the reform she had effected, and her desire to extend the reform to monasteries of men. He acquiesced, and gave her permission to form such a society if she could. “I was now,” says she, “much consoled at having his licence, but much troubled at having no friars ready to begin the work, nor any secular ready to start the house. Here was I, a poor barefooted nun, without the support of any one but our Lord, furnished with plenty of letters and good wishes, but without the possibility of putting my wishes into execution.”
However, she wrote to the General of the Jesuits at Medina, and he and the rest of the fathers of that Society took the matter up 331very warmly, and did not desist till they had obtained from the bishop and magistrates licence for the foundation of such a monastery as S. Theresa desired.
“Now, though I had a licence, I had no house, nor a farthing wherewith to buy one; and how could a poor stranger like me procure credit, had not the Lord assisted us? He so ordered that a virtuous lady, for whom there had been no room for admission into S. Joseph’s convent, hearing that another house was about to be started, asked to be admitted into it. She had some money, but not enough to buy the house with—only sufficient for the hire of one, and to pay our travelling expenses. And so we hired one; and without any other assistance we left Avila, two nuns from S. Joseph’s and myself, with four from the relaxed convent of the Incarnation, and our chaplain Julian d’Avila.”
They reached Medina del Campo on the eve of the Assumption, 1567, at midnight, and stole on foot with great secrecy to the hired house. “It was a great mercy of God that at such an hour we met no one, though 332then was the time when the bulls were about to be shut up which were to fight next day. I have no recollection of anything, I was in such a scare and anxiety. Having come to the house, we entered a court, the walls of which were much decayed. The good father who had hired the house was short-sighted, and had not noticed how unfit the place was to be made an abode for the Blessed Sacrament. When I saw the hall I perceived that much rubbish would have to be removed, and the walls to be plastered. The night was far advanced, and we had brought only a few hangings there, I think, which was nothing for the whole length of the hall. I knew not what was to be done, for I saw that this was not a fit place for an altar to be erected in it. However, our Lord was willing that this should be done immediately, for the steward of the lady had in the house several pieces of tapestry and a piece of blue damask, and we were allowed the use of them. When I saw such good furniture, I praised our Lord. But we knew not what to do for nails, and that was not the time when they could be bought. 333We began to search for some on the walls, and at length procured enough. Then some of the men put up the tapestry whilst we swept the floor; and we made such haste, that when it was daylight the altar was ready, a bell was put up, and immediately mass was said. This was sufficient for taking possession, but we did not rest till the Blessed Sacrament was placed in the tabernacle, and through the chinks of the door opposite the altar we heard mass, having no other place.”
When daylight came S. Theresa was aghast to see how ruinous the house was: the hall, which she had hastily converted into a chapel, was so full of cracks that the Blessed Sacrament was exposed to the sight of those who passed in the streets, and she saw that the repairs of the dilapidated mansion would cost money and take time. She was much dispirited, for she began to fear that she had undertaken what she had not the power to carry out—her intention being to make this a convent of nuns, and then to found, if possible, in the same town, a monastery for reformed Carmelite friars.
334“In this trouble I passed a great part of the evening, till the Rector of the Society (of Jesus) sent a father to visit me, and he consoled me greatly. I did not tell him all my troubles, but only that which I felt at seeing ourselves in the street. I spoke to him of the necessity of having another house for us, cost what it might, wherein we might dwell till this one was repaired. I recovered courage also at seeing so many people come to us and none of them accuse me of folly, which was a mercy of God, for they would have done quite right to take away from us the Blessed Sacrament. In spite of all the efforts made to obtain another house, none could be found to be let in the old town, and this gave me great anxiety night and day; for though I had appointed men to watch and guard the Blessed Sacrament, yet I was fearful lest they should fall asleep, and so I got up in the night myself to guard it at a window, and by the clear light of the moon I could see it very plainly.
“About eight days after, a merchant, seeing our necessity, and living himself in a very good 335house, told us we might have the upper part of it, where we might live as in a private house of our own. He also had a large hall with a gilt ceiling, and this he gave us for a church.”
Others came forward and assisted, and the upper story of the merchant’s house was fitted up for their reception.
Shortly after she began to see her way towards obtaining friars for her reformed Order. There was in Medina an excellent priest, named Antonio de Heredia, who had assisted her greatly. He told her that he desired to enter the Carthusian Order. This did not please Theresa; she entreated him to delay a year the execution of his design, and she then confided to him her plan. He was pleased with it, and to her great delight offered to be the first friar of her reformed society. Shortly after, she met S. John of the Cross, who was also at the time thinking of joining the Carthusians. She intercepted him, and persuaded him to become a discalced Carmelite. “He promised me he would do so if the business did not prove too tedious. When I now 336saw I had two religious to commence the work with, it seemed to me that the matter was accomplished, although I was not entirely satisfied with the Prior; and thus some delay was caused, as well as by our not having any place for commencing our monastery.”
In 1568, the Lady de la Cerda, sister of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, wrote to S. Theresa, offering to found a house of discalced Carmelite nuns in her own town, Malagon. This lady knew Theresa well; it was with her when left a widow that the saint had spent six months. Theresa at once went to Malagon with some of her nuns, and took possession of the house provided for them.
Four or five months after, whilst S. Theresa was talking to a young gentleman of quality, he most unexpectedly offered her a house he possessed in Valladolid, with a vineyard attached to it. She at once accepted the offer. But when she arrived at Valladolid, she found that the place was unhealthy, and altogether unsuitable. Indeed, all the nuns fell ill in it, and they were obliged to move to another house given them by the sister of the Bishop of Avila.
337Shortly after this, a young gentleman of Avila hearing that S. Theresa wished to found a monastery of discalced friars, offered her a house he possessed in the little village of Durvello. She accepted it, and then started to see it, with a nun and her chaplain, Father Julian d’Avila.
“Though we set off at daybreak, yet as the place was not much known, no one could direct us; and thus we walked all that day in great trouble, for the sun was very hot, and when we thought we were near the place, we found that we had still a long way to go. I shall never forget the fatigue and wanderings of that day. We arrived at the place just before nightfall, and when we went into the house, we found it was in such a state that we could not possibly spend the night in it, partly because it was filthy, and partly because there were many people about. It had a tolerable hall, two chambers with a garret, and a little kitchen: this was the building we were to use as our friary. I thought that the hall might be turned into a chapel, the garret into a choir for the friars, and the two chambers into a dormitory. 338My companion could not endure the thought of making a monastery of the place, and said, ‘Mother, no soul can possibly endure such a place as this, however great the sanctity. Speak no more about it.’ Father Julian did not oppose me when I expressed my intentions, though he was of the same opinion as my companion. We spent the night in the church, though, so great was our fatigue, we stood more in need of sleep than of vigil. Having arrived at Medina, I spoke with Father Antonio, and told him everything. He answered: ‘I am ready to live not only in such a house as that which you describe, but even in a pigsty.’ Father John of the Cross was of the same mind.”
The consent of the bishop and of the provincial of the Order having been obtained, the two fathers went off to the wretched house, and took possession of it on the first or second Sunday in Advent, in 1568.
“The following Lent, as I was going to Toledo, I passed that way, and came on Father Antonio sweeping the door of the church, with his usual cheerful countenance. ‘What is this, 339father?’ said I; ‘what has become of your dignity?’ ‘The time in which I received honour was time ill spent,’ he answered.
“When I went into the church along with two merchants, friends of mine, who had come with me from Medina, I was astonished to see how the spirit of the Lord reigned there. So many crosses and skulls were there that the merchants could do nothing but weep. Never shall I forget one little cross placed over the holy water stoup, on which was fixed a paper crucifix, and which produced more devotion than one elaborately carved. The garret formed the choir. It was high in the middle, so that they could stand up there to say the Hours; but to enter it they were obliged to stoop low. They had made two little hermitages on each side of the church, so low that they could only sit or lie down in them, filled inside with hay because it was cold. Their heads almost touched the roof. Two little windows commanded the altar, and two stones served them as pillows. Here was also a store of crosses and skulls.
“They went about preaching among the 340ignorant people of the neighbourhood, and soon gained such a reputation that I was greatly consoled. They went to preach six or eight miles off, through snow and frost, barefoot, for they wore no sandals then; afterwards they were ordered to wear them. When they had done preaching and confessing they returned late to their meal, but with such joy that all their sufferings were not accounted by them. As for food, they had sufficient, for the people of the neighbouring villages provided them with more than they wanted.”
We need not follow the Saint through the course of many years, travelling from place to place, never quiet anywhere, always on the move, with a scheme in her head, which she obstinately determined on carrying out in spite of obstacle and opposition.
When the boys were throwing stones at the frogs in a pond, according to the fable, one old toad raised its head above the water and said to the urchins, “What is fun to you is death to us.” The unfortunate women whom S. Theresa immured, the unhappy men whom she persuaded to reduce themselves to poverty and 341imbecility, might have addressed her in the same words. She, herself, was always engaged on carrying her projects into effect;—absolutely useless though they were, nay, worse than useless, for they were positively mischievous. But those confined in her convents were afforded no work to do, no reading to occupy their minds; they were reduced to a condition of stupidity. The brain is given to man and woman to be exercised, the will to be directed; neither to be effaced.
What was the reform to which Theresa devoted all her energies? To induce certain men and women to kick off their shoes. She aimed at restoring the Carmelite Order to the old severity of its rule at a time when everywhere practical, energetic, active men and women were needed to do good work for God and their fellow-men, instead of moping in cells, looking at blank walls, and shivering with cold in compulsory idleness. She deliberately engaged many hundreds of the Lord’s servants in the work of burying their talents.
We cannot but admire her enthusiasm and her singleness of purpose, whilst we regret that 342neither were aright directed. The bishops and magistrates had sense to see that her undertakings were foolish and unprofitable, but she was able to override their opposition, by her strength of purpose and appeal to higher authorities who thought fit to humour her. She was engaged on making one of her many foundations at Burgos in 1582; but was vigorously opposed by the archbishop, who refused to give his licence.
Sick and disgusted, she left Burgos at the end of July 1582, with Anne of S. Bartholomew and Theresa of Jesus, her niece, and went to Palencia, Medina del Campo, and Alba, which latter place she visited at the request of Maria Henriquez, Duchess of Alba, who was anxious to meet with her. There she died. The account of her death we have from the pen of her companion at the time, the Venerable Anne of S. Bartholomew.
“Having arrived on our way at a little village, she found herself, at night, much exhausted, and she said to me, ‘My daughter, I feel very weak; you would do me a pleasure if you could procure me something to eat.’ 343I had only some dry figs with me; I gave four reals to a person wherewith to buy eggs at any price, but none were to be procured. Seeing her half dead, and being in this distress, I could not contain my tears. She said to me, with angelic patience, ‘Do not afflict yourself, my daughter; God wills it, and I am content. The fig you have given me suffices.’ On the morrow we arrived at Alba; our holy mother was so ill that the doctors despaired of her recovery. I was dreadfully troubled to lose her, and especially at her dying at Alba. I was also grieved to think that I must survive her, for I was very fond of her, and she was very tender towards me; her presence was my great consolation…. I was with her for five days at Alba, in the greatest affliction. Two days before her death, when I was alone with her in her cell, she said to me, ‘At last, my daughter, the time of my death is come.’ These words touched me to the quick; I did not leave her for a moment, but had everything that was needed brought to me.
“Father Antony of Jesus, one of the first 344Discalced Carmelites, seeing how tired I was, said to me on the morning of her death, ‘Go and take a little something or other.’ But when I left the room she seemed uneasy, and looked from side to side. The father asked her if she wished me to be recalled. She could not speak, but she made a sign of assent. I therefore returned, and on my re-entering the room, she smiled, and caressed me, drawing me towards her, and placed herself in my arms. I held her thus for fourteen hours, all which time she was in the most exalted meditation, and so full of love for her Saviour, that she seemed as though she could not die soon enough, so greatly did she sigh for His presence. As for me, I felt the most lively pain till I saw the good Lord at the foot of the bed of the saint, in inexpressible majesty accompanied by some saints, ready to conduct her happy soul to heaven. This glorious vision lasted the space of a credo, and entirely resigned me to the will of the Lord. I said, from the bottom of my heart, ‘O my God, even though I should wish to retain her on earth, I would resign her at once to Thee!’ 345I had scarcely said these words when she expired.”
Ribera gives the following account of her death:—“At nine o’clock on the same evening she received, with great reverence and devotion, the sacrament of Extreme Unction, joining with the nuns in the penitential psalms and litany. Father Antony asked her, a little after, if she wished her body, after her death, to be taken to Avila, or to remain at Alba. She seemed displeased at the question, and only answered, ‘Am I to have a will in anything? Will they deny me here a little earth for my body?’ All that night she suffered excessive pain. Next day, at seven in the morning, she turned herself on one side, just in the posture in which the blessed Magdalen is commonly drawn by painters. Thus she remained for fourteen hours, holding a crucifix firmly in her hands, so that the nuns could not remove it till after her death. She continued in an ecstasy, with an inflamed countenance, and great composure, like one wholly taken up with internal contemplation. When she was now drawing near her end, 346one of the nuns, viewing her more attentively, thought she observed in her certain signs that the Saviour was talking to her, and showing her wonderful things. Thus she remained till nine in the evening, when she surrendered her pure soul into the hands of her Creator. She died in the arms of Sister Anne of S. Bartholomew, on October 4th, 1582; but the next day, on account of the reformation of the calendar, was the fifteenth of that month, the day now appointed for the festival. The saint was sixty-seven years old, forty-seven of which she had passed in religion—twenty-seven in the monastery of the Incarnation, and twenty in that of S. Joseph.”
Such was the end of this remarkable woman, whose life was so full of energy directed to no better purpose than that of a squirrel in a revolving cage.
That was not her fault; it was due to the age in which she lived and to the paralysing influence of the Inquisition in the land, which allowed no independence of thought or of action.
We have seen the utter helplessness of Spain 347exhibited in the War with the United States of America. Not a token of ability, not a sign of fresh vigour appeared—only feebleness, degeneracy, helplessness. It is to this that the Inquisition has reduced Spain. It has destroyed the recuperative, vital energy out of the character of the people.
The Latin races seem doomed by God to go down, and His hand is manifestly extended to bless and lead on the great Anglo-Saxon race. But this can only be so long as that race fulfils its high mission, as the civilising force in the world, and it maintains the eternal principles of Freedom, Justice, and Integrity.