Friday, January 29, 2010

Wisdom of Carmelite Saint


Now I realize that true charity consists in putting up with all one's neighbor's faults, never being surprised by his weakness, and being inspired by the least of his virtues. (St. Therese)

Faithfulness of heart
About that time I chose two little girls of my own age as friends, but, alas, how fickle are human hearts! One of them returned home and was away for several months; I did not forget her and welcomed her back lovingly, only to receive a casual glance. I was deeply hurt, and resolved no to play the part of a beggar for so inconstant an affection. However, God has endowed me with a faithful heart, which once given is never taken back, so that I still love my school-friend and pray for her. (St Therese)

And be you kind to one another, merciful, forgiving one another, even as God hath forgiven you in Christ. (Ephesians 4:32)
'And forgive us, Lord, our debts, as we forgive our debtors'
But my Lord, are there some persons in my company who have not understood this? If there are, I beg them in Your name to remember this and pay no attention to the little things they call wrongs. It seems that, like children, we are making houses out of straw with these ceremonious little rules of etiquette. Oh God help me, Sisters, if we knew what honour is and what losing honour consists in!....O Lord, Lord! Are You our Model and Master? Yes, indeed! Well then, what did Your honour consists of, You who honoured us? Didn't You indeed lose it in being humiliated unto death? No, Lord, but You won it for all (St Teresa)

Mental prayer
Marie, no doubt thinking that I was quite pious enough for my age, would only allow me time for my vocal prayers, and none for mental prayer, much as I would have loved it. One of my mistresses at the Abbey asked me how I spent my whole holidays, when I remained at home. I answered shyly that ny drawing the curtains of my bed I could make a little recess in which I could hide, and there I would sit and think. "Oh" said the good nun, laughing, "and pray what do you think about?" "About God, the shortness of life, eternity; in fact, I just think."
My mistress remembered this, and later used to remind me of my thinking and asked if I still keep it up. I realize now that I was really praying, whilst my divine Master gently taught  my soul. (St Therese) 

In the 'Treatise on Prayer' Ven Fr John of Jesus Mary, master of mystical theology, tells us: Meditation is nothing else than a process of reasoning by which the understanding excites the will to good or turns it away from evil, and reflects seriously on the reading that has been made in view of prayer. Meditation therefore ought to be regulated according to the disposition and needs of the heart, that is to say, it should be employed as a means of moving the will and making it produce acts of virtue; consequently meditation is to be interrupted when the will is inflamed with fervour, and it must be resumed when devotion wanes. For more time and care must be given to the acts of the affection than to the meditation itself; and this is so true that, generally speaking, the more the meditation is short and concise, the more excellent is the prayer, because of the numerous acts of the affection with which it is enriched.

St Teresa in her 'Interior Castle' writes: I call meditation the discourse acts which the understanding makes in this manner: we begin by thinking of the grace of God has bestowed on us in giving us His only Son, and without stopping there, we pass on to the mysteries of His glorious life; or we begin by the prayer in the garden of Olives, and the understanding, without delaying at this mystery, follows the divine Master step by step and considers His sufferings until it contemplates Him nailed to the cross; or again, we take a particular point of the Passion, for example, the arrest of our Lord by His enemies, and, to arrive at the depth of this mystery, we consider in detail all that can strike the mind and touch the heart as the betrayal of Judas, the flight of the Apostles, and so for the other excellent and of very great merit.

Love of God and neighbour

Make of my soul a sanctuary,
Thy holy dwelling-place;
Make it a garden of delight
Where every flower seeks the Light:
The glory of Thy face. (St Therese)

..I wish to smile, resting on Your Heart and there tell You again and again that I love You, O my Lord. (St Therese)

When in the Old Law God commanded His people to love their neighbour as themselves, He had not yet come down upon earth, and considering how strong self-love is, He could not have asked more. But when Christ gave His new commandment to the Apostles, he required them not merely to love their neighbour as themselves, but as He loved him, unto the end. O Jesus! I know that Thou canst not command anything impossible; Thou knowest my weakness and imperfection better than I do, and that I could never succeed in loving my Sisters as Thou hast done, unless Thou, my divine Saviour, dost continue to love them in me. In giving this new commandment, Thou didst intend to grant me this grace, and it is dear to me because I have the assurance that Thou wilt Thyself love in me those whom I a bidden to love. (St Therese)