Sunday, January 15, 2012

Three Words of Wisdom


I'm sure at one time or another we've seen a sign posted somewhere that stated, "Do Not Disturb." Perhaps you've heard someone echo these words on occasion.  Occasions such as, "Do not disturb me, I'm busy!" "Do not disturb me, I'm sick."  "Do not disturb me, I'm praying."  Wow! Ouch! This is one that is really painful to hear. Too busy praying to help, or to listen to someone in need? Perhaps we've been the one proclaiming these words.

We could save ourselves some heartache in life if we expected to be interrupted, if we expected to receive the "spiritual curve ball" from God; pitches thrown to test our humility and patience.We may claim we want to "grow in holiness, " but when the opportunities arise, we miss them.

When I was growing up, we were told by the priests and the nuns to "practice virtue."  Do you know of anyone who is so boldly holy that they willingly go into the battle of their weakness? I know of one particular person, a Saint, St. Therese of the Child Jesus.  In her autobiography, A Story of a Soul, she writes of her reluctance to face the battle, and like a coward she retreated from an ongoing situation that tested her patience.  She prayed that she would become a bold soldier for the Lord and acquire the virtue of patience. 

 St. Therese was no different than any of us.  She was fully human with weak human nature that she had to overcome.  This gives us hope!  And this is why the Catholic Church has lifted up St. Therese and her writings by bestowing upon her the lofty title "Doctor of the Church and Doctor of Love." She teaches us that holiness is accessible to all.  It only takes doing little things with great love. This may sound sappy and sweet to the person who reads Therese for the first or second time. Stick around, she will amaze you with the depth of her love and spirituality. Divine love  entered her heart and made His dwelling with her.  A love so deep and knowledgeable that could not be described, for as she stated to her Mother Superior, "Reverend Mother, if I were to tell you all that God has revealed to me about charity, you would hear the music of heaven!"

St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila), another Doctor of the Church instructs her nuns that they must leave their prayer in order to attend to the sick or to perform duties in the monastery.  She didn't want the nuns to be caught up in "self-absorption" in prayer.  Yes, she even teaches that there is a time to resist the spirit.  Yes, I will repeat that. St. Teresa of Jesus teaches that there is a time to resist the spirit.  But, you must have the knowledge and wisdom to know when. This self-knowledge, sometimes painful, is only obtained through prayer and learning through trials and struggles in daily living.

We are all in the battle of overcoming ourselves in every day life. Whether we are tested at home, at work, or with friends, we are all called to respond with charity. The Kingdom of Heaven is full of people, who reflect the patience, the compassion, the mercy and love of God. The key is they desired it.  May this be our desire. May God give us the desire of our heart.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

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