Tuesday, July 5, 2011

St. Therese on Loving those who are difficult to Love

Loving one Difficult to Love

There's one sister in the community who has the knack of rubbing me up the wrong way at every turn; her tricks of manner, her tricks of speech, her character, just strike me as unlovable. But, then, she's a holy religious; God must love her dearly; so I wasn't going to let this natural antipathy get the better of me. I reminded myself that charity isn't a matter of fine sentiments; it means doing things. So I determined to treat this sister as if she were the person I loved best in the world. Every time I met her, I used to pray for her, offering to God all her virtues and her merits.

I felt certain that Jesus would like me to do that, because all artists like to hear their work praised, and Jesus, who fashions men's souls so skillfully, doesn't want us to stand about admiring the façade--he wants us to make our way in, till we reach the inmost sanctuary which is his chosen dwelling, and admire the beauty of that. But I didn't confine myself to saying a lot of prayers for her, this sister who made life such a tug-of-war for me; I tried to do her every good turn I possibly could. When I felt tempted to take her down with an unkind retort, I would put on my best smile instead, and try to change the subject. Once at recreation she actually said, beaming, beaming all over, something like this: "I wish you would tell me, Sister Therese of the Child Jesus, what it is about me that gets the right side of you? You've always got a smile for me whenever I see you." Well, of course, what really attracted me about her was Jesus hidden in the depths of her soul; Jesus makes the bitterest mouthful taste sweet. I could only say that the sight of her always made me smile with pleasure--naturally I didn't explain that the pleasure was entirely spiritual.

From The Little Way...by St. Therese of Lisieux

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