Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Joy in Suffering

Today I will begin my monthly novena to St. Therese, but a little later than normal so it can conclude just before her feast on October 1st. Every day, I will try to post a message from the Tan Book, "Joy in Suffering: A Novena to St. Therese". If you read this blog, please pray for Laura, for Linda and for Dan and their intentions.

I wish I could post the photo here, but ineptitude prevents me. If you have any doubt that St. Therese found joy in suffering, you have only to look at the sweet expression on her face in death. It is remarkable. What is even more remarkable is that she suffered a triple martyrdom, according to Bishop Noser, not sequentially but simaltaneously - a martyrdom of body, heart, and soul. In fact, I once listened to a lecture on Therese where the priest who gave the talk offered that the cause of her death wasn't the tuberculosis that ravaged her young body but instead, her soul being ripped from her body because it so longed to be with God.

St. Therese saw much value in the mundane every day things that we do without a thought. If you read her words and take them to heart, you will soon find yourself considering how you can offer every small act to God, as she did. "Pick up a pin from a motive of love, and you may save a soul" she advised. No act is too small. "Nothing gives Jesus pleasure like these small acts" she said "such as a smile, or a kind word when I would rather be silent." You won't believe how these little acts add up. Force yourself to say something nice to someone you find disagreeable, especially if you know they won't return the compliment. Perform some small act of kindness for someone who least expects it, such as allowing someone to get in line ahead of you at the grocery store. If tasks are being assigned at work, and there is one that no one ever volunteers for, you take it and offer the sacrifice to God. In time, when you realize the pleasure you have given Jesus, performing small acts will not be enough. Imagine the impact it will have on those around you. In some small way, you, too can win souls for Jesus.

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