Learning to Let Go with the Little Flower


Knowledge of St. Thérèse

“No, there is no such thing as a pleasure akin to that which the actually poor in spirit expertise.”

Thérèse was aware of the transient nature of fabric issues and of the impermanence of this current life. Even at a really younger age she understood that even those that consider themselves to be good Christians might be overly entranced by the world. Think about this passage from Story of a Soul, a part of which we learn in an earlier chapter:

I feel it’s a nice grace that we left Alençon, as our pals there have been too worldly and too intelligent at mixing the pleasures of the world with the service of God. They scarcely gave a thought to demise, and but demise has referred to as most of the individuals I knew they usually have been younger and wealthy and completely satisfied. I like to think about the charming environment wherein they lived and to marvel the place they themselves are actually and of what use to them are their chateaux and their gardens the place I noticed them having fun with the great issues of life.

Can we be equally centered and attempt to realize poverty of spirit? Or are we glad with “mixing the pleasures of the world with the service of God”? Simply as Thérèse discovered to surrender her self-centered and delicate methods with a view to turn into mature sufficient to enter Carmel, we can also be taught to detach from our materials possessions and our worldly obsessions. Thérèse provides us the clue when she reminds us of the inevitability of our demise—demise spares nobody.

When she was a younger novice, St. Thérèse gained a profound religious perception from an strange expertise. She found that one of many different sisters had mistakenly taken her lamp. She was not in a position to ask for it as a result of it was throughout the time of Nice Silence. She was compelled to spend an hour in pitch darkness. But Thérèse gleans religious classes from this strange, irritating expertise. “As a substitute of feeling irritated at being thus disadvantaged of it, I used to be actually completely satisfied, feeling that Poverty consists in being disadvantaged not solely of agreeable issues however of indispensable issues too. And so on this exterior darkness, I used to be interiorly illumined!”

Thérèse’s consideration to the very small particulars provides rise to her profound perception that being poor in spirit additionally contains the voluntary (and joyful) renunciation of even these issues we deem completely important! This prompts us to contemplate that we, too, may look for easy methods to offer somewhat extra of ourselves, even to the purpose the place it hurts, just like the Widow in Mark 12:41–45. Maybe donate extra money than we had put aside to offer to the Church or to the poor—even understanding that our cash might not all the time be spent precisely as we wish. Or maybe when somebody asks us to have espresso and it actually cuts into our busy schedule, we make the sacrifice to spend that point. And typically only a easy smile and nod of encouragement is simply what a grouchy, annoying co-worker wants!

On one other event, Thérèse felt impressed to assist a grumpy, aged, hard-to-please nun. Thérèse provided to depart her night prayers to carry the aged nun to the refectory. She may do nothing proper for the outdated lady: she complained that Thérèse was transferring both too shortly or too slowly, the outdated nun would concern she was falling, and he or she thought the younger novice was far too younger to take care of her. But all the time Thérèse would supply her sweetest smile—and ultimately gained over the aged nun.

One winter night I used to be as standard doing the common-or-garden process I’ve simply described. It was chilly and darkish. Instantly I heard away within the distance the music of a small orchestra and I pictured to myself a richly furnished and embellished drawing room, glowing with mild and containing fashionably dressed younger girls exchanging worldly compliments. Then I appeared on the poor invalid I used to be guiding alongside. As a substitute of music, I heard her pitiful complaints; as a substitute of chic ornament, I noticed the naked bricks of our cloister in a faint glimmer of sunshine. . . . Our Lord poured on it that mild of fact which so outshines the false glitter of earthly pleasures that I might not have given up the ten minutes it took for me to carry out my act of charity in alternate for a thousand years of such worldly events.

St. Thérèse noticed in a second the stark distinction between the modern, worldly life of delight and the naked bricks of her cloister with the plaintive cries of the invalid. She understood that the previous was a perishable, “false glitter,” whereas her personal life was spent in the hunt for that true happiness, true peace, and eternal pleasure that might be present in Heaven. And the Kingdom of Heaven begins, just like the tiniest mustard seed or the hidden leaven, unseen inside our hearts.

One of many methods we are able to retain our concentrate on what actually issues and ignore the “false glitter” is to remind ourselves that we’re destined for everlasting bliss along with the Holy Trinity in Heaven. As Thérèse wrote,

Ah! what peace floods the soul when somebody rises above pure emotions. No there is no such thing as a pleasure akin to that which the actually poor in spirit expertise. If such a one asks for one thing with detachment, and if this factor is just not solely refused however one tries to remove what one already has, the poor in spirit observe Jesus’ counsel: “If anybody take away your coat, let go your cloak additionally.”

From the Organizer

Somebody, in some unspecified time in the future, should take care of
your stuff—whether or not it’s you or these tasked with
clearing out your area after you’ve handed on.

—Jacquelyn Dupuy


This text is customized from a chapter in The Little Way of Living with Less by Laraine Bennett which is accessible from Sophia Institute Press.

Artwork for this submit: Cowl and featured picture used with permission.

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