Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Expand My Heart

"It is only charity that can expand my heart". In chapter ten of The Story of a Soul, St. Therese gives a kind of discourse on charity that began with Jesus' commandment to love our neighbor as He loves them. Of course, our neighbor isn't necessarily the person we like. We like our friends. Our neighbor, on the other hand, is someone we often have to bear with. In this discourse on charity St. Therese begins with how important it is to be charitable in thoughts about our neighbor because she clearly understood how the devil can be a great meddler here. Since the "devil tries to place before the eyes of my soul the faults of such and such a Sister who is less attractive to me, I hasten to search out her virtues, her good intentions, I tell myself that even if I did see her fall once, she could easily have won a great number of victories which she is hiding through humility, and that what appears to me as a fault can very easily be an act of virtue because of her intention."

We must never judge because we can be mistaken and judge acts of virtue for imperfections and take for virtue what may be an imperfection. All judgments about ourselves and others should be left for God who in the end is the judge of all.

St. Therese goes on in this discourse of charity to express other ways she went about loving her Sisters. She would pray for her Sisters, "offering Him all her virtues and merits". When tempted to answer back in a disagreeable manner, she would give a friendly smile and change the subject. If she did not have the courage to permit herself to be accused without saying a word, she would have recourse to flight in the situation. She would not lay claim to what belonged to her since she took a vow of poverty. She would give to those who asked of her considering herself a servant and slave of others, rendering them a service and consider it an honor and trying to anticipate their needs in order to do so. St. Therese would also allow someone to take what belonged to her without asking for it back and would try to do good to others without hoping for something in return.

1 comment:

  1. Rebecca...Great blog! I am so happy to find another Carmelite sister in the blogging world. Blessings and much luck to you!