Sunday, August 23, 2009

We can learn from St. Thérèse

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

From “Story of a Soul”

There was at that time a certain nun who managed to irritate me in everything she did. The devil had a part in it, for it was certainly he who made me see all her bad points. Not wishing to give way to natural antipathy, I reminded myself that sentiments of charity were not enough; they must find expression, and I set myself to treat her as if I loved her best of all.

I prayed for her whenever we met, and offered all her virtues and merits to God. I was sure that Jesus would be delighted at this, for artists always like to have their work praised, and it pleases the Divine Artist of souls when, not stopping at the exterior, we penetrate the inner sanctuary where He dwells, to admire its beauty.

Isn't it difficult to love the ones who hurt us? The ones who may even hate us? In our struggle to defend the dignity of the human person, most importantly the unborn child, we may experience feelings of extreme dislike, loathing, antipathy, for those who are not on the side of "life.". These feelings come out of a "battle fatigue" we experience when we give our all to protect life and fail to see the fruits of our labor. "Be not afraid." You will see the fruits of your labor, if not in this world, then in the next.

Anger can be a good emotion. It brings us action, to do God's good work, to defend a defenseless neighbor. But anger can also act against us - when it brings us to feelings of dislike, or even hatred for our neighbor. When this occurs we place our souls in dangerous territory. We have to keep in mind, at all times, we are all children of God. God loves each and every one of us - the good and the bad. St. Thérèse knew this all too well. With "love" she acted towards this nun, who irritated her in all things. We must keep up the good fight for the dignity of the human person- using all the skills we can muster. But "love" must be included in that skill. Without "love", nothing good will be accomplished. St. Thérèse can teach us so much. This is why she is a Doctor of the Church.

August 24th, 1997, Mass for the closure of World Youth Day -
in the words of our beloved John Paul II, speaking of St. Thérèse:

"She radically lived the offering of herself in response to the Love of God. In the simplicity of everyday life she could also practice brotherly love. With the imitation of Jesus, she agreed to sit down at the table of the sinners,her brothers, so that they are purified by the love."


Anne said...

She's so beautiful!

My Chocolate Heart said...

I love St. Therese... she is my confirmation saint.
I love that story, too. That "irritating" nun came to believe she was Therese's favorite!
She really did understand how to act on love, how to resist the human tendency to be annoyed and show it. She astounds me with her ability to offer absolutely everything to Jesus out of love for Him. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall SEE GOD." St. Therese, pray for us!