I have said Jesus does not wish me to ask again for what is my own. This ought to seem quite easy, for, in reality, nothing is mine. I ought, then, to be glad when an occasion arise which brings home to me the poverty to which I am vowed. I used to think myself completely detached, but since Our Lord’s words have become clear, I see that I am indeed very imperfect.
It is therefore not enough for me to give to whoever asks—I ought to anticipate the wish, and show myself glad to be of service; but if anything of mine be taken away, I should show myself glad to be rid of it.
Verily, the reward is great even here on earth. In this path it is only the first step which cots. To lend without hope of being repaid seems hard; one would rather give outright, for what you give is no longer yours.
The Divine precepts run contrary to our natural inclinations, and without the help of grace it would be impossible to understand them, far less to put them in practice.
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It is even possible that what seems to me a fault, may very likely, on account of her good intention, be an act of virtue.
It still checks any feelings of vanity, when I am praised, for I reflect that since my small acts of virtue can be mistaken for imperfections, why should not my imperfections be mistaken for virtue?
To give to everyone who asks is not so pleasant as to give of one’s own accord. If we are asked pleasantly, it is easy to give; but if we are asked discourteously, then, unless we are perfect in charity, there is an inward rebellion, and we find no end of excuses for refusing. Perhaps, after first pointing out the rudeness of the request, we make such a favour of consenting thereto, that the slight service takes far less time to perform than was lost in arguing the point. And if it is difficult to give to whosoever asks, it is far more difficult to let what belongs to us be taken without asking it again.
St. Therese of Lisieux
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I do not know how to describe this extraordinary illness. …I seemed nearly always to be delirious;… . But if God allowed the devil to approach me in this open way, Angels too were sent to console and strengthen me. –St Therese of Liseux
My thought today is about illness. Two of my family members have serious illnesses – very serious. One just got out of the hospital and if she doesn’t take of herself, she may end up back there. The other is undergoing various procedures before having to endure a long term treatment process. This is all very hard on my little family. There aren’t many of us and there’s almost too much pressure for the rest of us to carry. But carry, we will.
St Therese seemed to believe that it was the devil who brought her an illness. I don’t believe in the devil – but I’m not writing about that now. What I am writing about – and praying about – is how to help my family members should they begin to blame God for these trials. Or should I even concern myself with that? After all, God is God and He can handle their blame.
I don’t think God is to blame here; there is no blame. It just is. Illness occurs and there’s not a whole lot we can do about it. Rather than blaming God for the horrors and sadness of our lives wouldn’t it be better to thank Him? Not for the illness, of course, but for the strength and fortitude to endure it. Believing in an Unseen God is hard enough and when we pile on anger and blame, it gets even harder to believe – to trust.
Taking a page from the lyrics of Marijohn Wilkin and Kris Kristofferson, “One day at a time, sweet Jesus, one day at a time.”