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February 25th, 2011

Saint Therese of Lisieux

Saint Therese of Lisieux

“I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul.”

These are the words of Theresa of the Child Jesus, a Carmelite nun called the “Little Flower,” who lived a cloistered life of obscurity in the convent of Lisieux, France. In French-speaking areas, she is known as Thérèse of Lisieux. And her preference for hidden sacrifice did indeed convert souls. Few saints of God are more popular than this young nun. Her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, is read and loved throughout the world.

Therese Martin entered the convent at the age of 15 and died in 1897 at the age of 24. Life in a Carmelite convent is indeed uneventful and consists mainly of prayer and hard domestic work. But Thérèse possessed that holy insight that redeems the time, however dull that time may be. She saw in quiet suffering redemptive suffering, suffering that was indeed her apostolate.

Thérèse said she came to the Carmel convent “to save souls and pray for priests.” And shortly before she died, she wrote: “I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth.” On October 19, 1997, Pope John Paul II proclaimed her a Doctor of the Church, the third woman to be so recognized in light of her holiness and the influence of her teaching on spirituality in the Church.

All her life St. Thérèse suffered from illness. As a young girl she underwent a three-month malady characterized by violent crises, extended delirium and prolonged fainting spells. Afterwards she was ever frail and yet she worked hard in the laundry and refectory of the convent. Psychologically, she endured prolonged periods of darkness when the light of faith seemed all but extinguished. The last year of her life she slowly wasted away from tuberculosis.

And yet shortly before her death on September 30 she murmured, “I would not suffer less.”

February 24th, 2011

Providence of God Never Fails

Providence of God Never Fails

Many years ago in a small Indian village, a farmer had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to a female village moneylender. The female Moneylender, who was old, fat and ugly, fancied the farmer’s handsome son, Cliff. So she proposed a bargain.

She said she would forgo the farmer’s debt if she could marry his son. Both the farmer and his son were horrified by the Proposal.

So the cunning female moneylender suggested that they let providence decide the matter. She told them that she would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty moneybag. Then the son would have to pick one pebble from the bag.

If he picked the black pebble, he would become her husband and the father’s debt would be forgiven. If he picked the white pebble he need not marry her and the father’s debt would still be forgiven. But if he refused to pick a pebble, his father would be thrown into jail.

They were standing on a pebble-strewn path in the farmer’s field. As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As she picked them up, the sharp-eyed son noticed that she had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag.

She then told the son to close his eyes and pick one pebble from the moneybag. Now, if he reveals the dishonesty of the lady, it would be harmful for his father. He also thought that providence of God will lead him to a better conclusion that can overcome the dilemma.

The son put his hand into the moneybag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, he fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles. ‘Oh, how clumsy of me,’ he said. ‘But never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.’

Since the remaining pebble is black, it must be assumed that he had picked the white one. And since the moneylender dared not admit her dishonesty, the son changed what seemed an impossible situation into an extremely advantageous one.

Providence of God Never Fails.

February 23rd, 2011

The Battle Inside Us

The battle inside Us

One evening an old man told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old man simply replied, “The one you feed.”

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Which wolf are you feeding now?

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