Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Glass is Half-Full

So many times, when things don't go as planned, or even when sudden tragedy strikes, you will hear people say "It was the will of God". St. Therese surrendered her will to God even before she entered the Carmel. She recognized that everything that happens to us in life has much value. The more we embrace suffering, the closer we become to Christ. To seek union with Him is to welcome everything He sends our way, including heartbreak and illness. The greater the pain we endure here, the sweeter our reward in eternity.

St. Therese saw the bright side of everything. When her beloved father was struck by a series of strokes, she expressed her gratitude to Jesus for giving her family a share in His sufferings. When the first symptoms of tuberculosis made themselves known, she did not despair but was filled with joy in knowing that she would have to endure much physical agony, as her Lord did. According to Bishop Noser, at the height of her illness, when nothing gave her any physical comfort, she explained that she could smile because the pain was so acute. She was filled with joy; not the kind that is felt, but the kind that brings an inner peace of knowing how close one is to Jesus.

The late Fulton Sheen once remarked as he passed a hospital, "There is so much wasted suffering in there". St. Therese did not literally shed her blood for Christ, but she did shed every ounce of comfort and pleasure for Him. She did not let pass even a single opportunity to please God through her own suffering and deprivation, which enabled her to say "God will refuse me nothing." We would only do well to follow her example.

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