Quote of the day, 10 July: St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Beloved Mother, since I am trying to begin to sing with you on earth, of this infinite mercy, I also must tell you of a great benefit that I’ve received from the mission that you entrusted to me.

In the past, when I saw a sister doing something that I didn’t like and that seemed irregular, I would say to myself: “Ah, if I could tell her what I think, show her that she is wrong, how good that would make me feel”

Since I’ve been doing this job [assisting with the novitiate] for a while, I assure you, Mother, that I’ve changed my feelings completely.

When I see a sister doing something that seems imperfect, I breathe a sigh of relief and say to myself, “What a relief! She’s not a novice, I don’t have to correct her.” And then very quickly I try to excuse the sister and imagine that she has good intentions, which she undoubtedly has.

Ah, Mother, since I have been ill, the care you have given me has taught me a lot about charity. No remedy seems too expensive to you, and if it doesn’t work, you try something else without getting weary. When I went to recreation, how careful you were to make sure that I was kept away from any drafts! Anyway, if I wanted to say everything, I wouldn’t finish.

I have noticed (and this is quite natural) that the holiest sisters are the most loved, their conversation is sought after, and favors are done for them without their asking; in other words, these souls—who are capable of enduring a lack of consideration and thoughtfulness—see themselves surrounded by everyone’s affection. We can apply to them these words of our Father St. John of the Cross: All goods were given to me when I no longer sought them out of self-love.

Imperfect souls, on the other hand, are not sought out; no doubt we stay within the bounds of religious politeness towards them, but perhaps because we fear saying some unkind words to them, we avoid their company.

When I say imperfect souls, I don’t mean only spiritual imperfections, since the holiest will be perfect only in Heaven; I mean a lack of judgment, education, and the susceptibility of certain personalities, all of which don’t make life very pleasant.

I know that these moral deficiencies are long term, and there is no hope of recovery; but also, I know that my Mother wouldn’t stop caring for me, trying to relieve me if I stayed sick for the rest of my life.

Here is the conclusion I draw: I must seek out the company of the sisters who are the least pleasing to me in recreation, on major feast days when we’re permitted to speak to one another, and thus do the work of a Good Samaritan to these wounded souls.

A word and a kind smile often are enough to cheer up a sad soul.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Manuscript C, 27v-28r

Translation from the French text is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

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