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"Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart." – Luke 2:19 (RSV)

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saint thérèse

Suffering

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I have been thinking about suffering a lot recently. I’ve been worried about going through suffering in the future; the suffering of infertility and the suffering of being physically separated from my husband.

During Mass and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament today I prayed a lot about the topic of suffering in my life and thought of St. Therese. I will drink from the cup of suffering if my Lord offers it to me because I trust Him.

Childlike trust

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When I read ‘Story of a Soul’ by St. Therese of Lisieux, I was captivated by her childlike trust in God. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to imitate her Little Way. Fortunately, my Lord has been teaching me how to.

At the moment, my understanding of having childlike trust in the Lord is to place my trust in the Lord and not in myself; it is to be so full of trust that I can fall asleep in God’s arms.

Beware of despairing about yourself; you are commanded to place your trust in God, and not in yourself

– St. Augustine

 

Praying constantly

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Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (RSV)

This bible verse has long been on my mind. The question I was always unable to answer was, “how am I supposed to pray constantly with life going on?” Like most people, I have many (usually mundane) things to do during my day; lots of content to study, people to serve, chores to do, etc. My understanding of prayer was that I could only pray when I set aside the time to not do anything else but. Because of this I didn’t understand how someone would be able to pray constantly.

After reading ‘A Story of a Soul’ by St. Therese of Lisieux my understanding of what prayer is slowly began to change. I began to understand that to pray is to lift up my heart of the Lord. So in imitating Mother Mary as she kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.” – Luke 2:19 (RSV), I can pray constantly.

The Little Way

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St Therese is my favourite saint after Our Lady. I love her little way of spiritual childhood. It allows me to be little all the time.

Today my husband reminded me that if I want to imitate St. Therese’s little way, then I also need to be childlike to him. I need to tell him everything I think about, especially if I don’t know how to express it. I need to be like an open book to him so that he has all the information he needs to look after me as best he can.

I read this quote by St. John Chrysostom today and it really reminded me of the attitude my husband has towards me; all he wants is for me to be in heaven.

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Unshakable peace

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Oh boy, I hope one day soon I will be able to imitate St. Therese in her unshakable peace.

Today was not a good day for me. It was one of those days where I just wanted to curl up in a ball and disappear. I’m so grateful my husband pulled me out of that state of mind as soon as possible.

But anyways, I love St Therese’s imagery about the peace that she experiences.

The journey Home

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We are designed to be united with the Holy Trinity. That is our home; where our hearts find rest. We are only pilgrims on this earth. Saint Augustine said, “You made us for yourself, oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”

I read this article today and it touched my heart. When I finished reading it I realised in a new way that we all need to be continually converted to Jesus. Whether we’re Catholic Christian or no, we most likely are not completely united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (unless we are already Saints on earth).

There are many paths to this communion with God, but not all of them are the most efficient or easiest paths. The path that supplies us with the objective truth of things would logically be the quickest path; like using a GPS that has the most updated map instead of an outdated one.

As Catholic Christians, we believe that the Catholic Church is the most updated GPS map and therefore the most efficient and accurate way to union with God (that’s why Jesus gave the key to Saint Peter). However, while we have access to this up to date and accurate map, we might often choose to disregard it or disobey its instructions. Fortunately, the GPS will always recalculate the fastest route to our destination no matter how many times we stray. With the most up to date map we can trust that we will be instructed to drive along the most efficient way towards our destination; union with the Lover of our souls, the Holy Trinity.

If we trust an outdated map (the analogy is for one that is not in full communion with the Catholic Church), then we would naturally run into road blocks or take unnecessary detours. We would probably end up at our destination eventually but it would take a much much longer route then is necessary.

Fortunately, we can easily update our GPS with the most up to date map if we choose to. All it takes is to stop the car, pull out our gear and update the map.

The objective truth is out there, it is accessible, it is simple. The one objective truth is made available to the world by the Catholic Church that continually tries its best to present it in its fullness, we only have to approach it with a prayerful and humble heart asking the Lord to help us understand it in His time (not ours).

Often times even Catholics with the best intentions can not fully understand the truth presented by the Church. I think this is because the Lord reveals truth in its entirety to humble and little hearts who are open to it (as He has said so many times before in the Gospels).

Sometimes we are unsure if the map we are using is accurate because there are so many different version of maps out there in the world. Sometimes we want to see if others who used the map we are using arrived at their destination efficiently and in the best way possible. Fortunately, this can be verified by reading the writings of those who have completed the journey and have safely arrived at their destination. Reading the writings of the early Church fathers, the Saints who have walked on this earth would certainly be one way to do this.

A book that helped me update my map 2 months ago was Saint Therese’s ‘Story of a Soul’. I had been a Catholic my whole life but I was using an outdated map before I read her book. After I read what Saint Therese the Little Flower wrote, I was able to search for the most updated version of the map and update my GPS. After I did, I saw how congruent the Bible, the teachings & traditions of the Catholic Church (eg. Holy Mass, the Holy Rosary), and the writings of the Saints (eg. St. Augustine, St. Therese, St. Fatima, St. John Paul II) really were. But what delighted my heart even more was how relevant all of these were to my soul’s journey to union with my Lord. I started seeing tangible, consistent, and sustained change in my life since I updated my map 2 months ago, and I am continually amazed at what a difference using an updated map made in my soul’s journey to its home in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

This is just a short expression of my thoughts on the subject of objective truth and how it is so crucially relevant to my life. Great minds have written books and books on this topic, so this is but a drop in the ocean of thought on the subject.

My prayer is that all souls (Catholic Christian or no) on this earth and in purgatory will be united to the most Holy Trinity, a purpose for which we are designed for since the beginning of time.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Understanding the world around me

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I have found that when I am having a discussion/debate about something that matters, I have a habit of not making sure that I am on the same page as the person I’m talking to.

I listen to what they say with my mind and my heart and draw my understanding of what they are trying to say to be from this. But I don’t go the extra mile to paraphrase it back to them to make sure that we are both on the same page before we progress in our discussion. And I really should be doing this. My husband has been correcting me over the past few days to do this and it has really brought this to the forefront of my mind.

Why I do need to do this is because I often find myself not accurately understanding what my husband means when he tries to explain his point of view to me. He has a unique way of expressing himself. It is very different to how I express myself and therein lies the great potential for me to misunderstand him.

Well fortunately the solution is relatively simple so it’s no big deal 🙂

On another note, I have been growing more and more aware of how my understanding of the world has been radically and rapidly changing over the past few months.

The reason for this is simple but perhaps difficult to understand unless you’ve gone through a similar thing as well; over the past few months I have been allowing the Lord to shape my soul to a greater extent than ever before in my life. I experience and therefore understand what St. Therese the Little Flower meant when she said “The nearer one gets to God, the simpler one becomes”. Things (mainly how I and others in the world behave) that previously confused me are now so simply understood.

I have also realised that the closer to grow to God, the closer I grow to my husband (who has God close to his heart). I have been able to understand my husband more and more over the past few months because God has been drawing me closer to His most Sacred Heart. In a very similar way, the closer my husband grows towards God, the more he understands me. We are on the same page more often now than we ever have been before because we are closer to God now than ever before in our lives.

Also, I have grown to realise more and more that the more united I am with my Lord Jesus, the less others understand me (unless they have been where I am spiritually). I feel a growing sense of being hidden in Jesus. Fewer and fewer people can understand me to a great extent now. I used to feel quite lonely because of this, but now I rejoice in it because of the increased intimacy I now have with God and my husband, who understand me the most.

If my Blessed Mother Mary and Saint Therese wanted to be hidden in Jesus, I too want to be hidden so that only my Lord and the people He grants the privilege of understanding my soul will be able to comprehend it.

 

Complete submission

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I have said many times that St Therese the Little Flower is my favourite saint (after Our Lady of course). She is my favourite because her writings always help me refocus on my total power exchange with my husband and with my God.

Recently I’ve been thinking about what it means for two to “become one flesh” in relation to marriage and in communion with my Lord. I had been pondering and mulling over this in my heart for a few days and finally when I read this quote my heart knew that it had found the answer to its question.

The only way two can become one is through the mutual total giving of self to the other. In submitting without reserve to God and my husband, I give myself completely to them. In accepting the loving dominance of God and my husband, I allow them to give themselves completely to me.

Submitting without reserve is of course a very high ideal which can be reached. At the same time I will also acknowledge that it is an ideal that I fall short of for now. I believe and pray that my Lord Jesus will hold my hand and with infinite tenderness guide me towards this beautiful standard. Of course my husband will also allow the Lord to use him to teach me this along the way.

In the meantime, I will remember not to “become discouraged over [my] failings, for children fall often, but they are too little to hurt themselves very much” (- St. Therese the Little Flower)

Dear 11 year old…

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My little sister is turning 11 in a few days time! She is so blessed to have her birthday fall on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary 😀

She is also really into the Harry Potter series at the moment, so I decided to write her a ‘Hogwarts’ acceptance letter for this special day. It’s not every day that you turn 11 😉

Dear Miss **** ***,

We are pleased to invite you to Jesus’ School of Love.

In this School we learn to live the life that we are designed for since the beginning of Time. We are lovingly, and with infinite creativity, designed by God to love Him and to be Loved by Him. This is what we are created for. And so, in Jesus’ School of Love, this is what we will learn to do; to be fully alive!

When we are who we are meant to be, we will have such a deep peace and joy that they world cannot give and cannot take away! Our lives will never be boring. It will be an adventure beyond your wildest dreams 😀

Come and join us on this exciting adventure 🙂 We are all rooting for you!

Your instructors

Your instructors will be God the Father, Jesus the Son & the Holy Spirit.

God the Father is infinitely tender and loving. Jesus the Son is unimaginably merciful and wants you to snuggle up to Him. The Holy Spirit will be the most gentle and patient teacher you will ever have. How blessed you are to have these as your instructors should you choose to enroll in the School of Love!

Your buddies

There are many many souls enrolled in this eternal School of Love. Some souls are here on earth with us, some are the Holy souls in Purgatory and the lucky last are the Saints in Heaven!

Many have been 11 years old too and will know something about the joys that you enjoy and the struggles that you face.

You can see the souls on earth! People like Mummy and Papa, your friends and family. You are talk to them face to face and ask them to pray for you 🙂

Who do you trust to guide you in this school of Love here on earth? They will be your buddies here on earth if you want them to!

The souls that you can’t see are the Holy souls and the Saints. Do you remember them? The good news is that you can ask them to pray for you too. And what’s even better news is that they are closer to God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy spirit than any of us on earth so their prayers will be even more powerful!

Which are your favourite Saints? They will be your buddies up in Heaven if you ask them to be 🙂

Also, don’t forget to pray for the souls on earth and in Purgatory. God made our hearts to love Him, and so our hearts will be restless until we rest in Him. And it is really uncomfortable to be restless that’s for sure! The Saints are already resting in the Sacred Heart of Jesus up in Heaven so they’re all good 😉

Recommended books 

 1. The Bible – Author: The Holy Spirit

2. The Imitation of Christ (for children) – Author: Thomas a Kempis, Translator: Elizabeth Ficocelli

3. The Story of a Soul – Author: Saint Therese the Little Flower

Many souls who have been enrolled in Jesus’ School of Love for a very long time have written beautiful books that are very interesting and helpful to read!

My favourite books (other than the Bible) are ‘The Imitation of Christ’ and ‘The Story of a Soul’.

‘The Imitation of Christ’ is like an instruction manual for the souls in the School of Love. The instructions are for caring for our souls so that we will bloom like beautiful flowers in God’s garden. Many Saints have followed the instructions very carefully when they were still on earth and their souls have bloomed into the most gorgeous flowers you can imagine!

In ‘The Story of a Soul’, Saint Therese (nicknamed ‘Little Flower’) tells us about her Little Way that she walked here on earth. Using the Little Way, she remained like a child and therefore allowed her instructors in this School of Love (The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) to guide her and form her soul so that she could be united completely with God. She says that life is simple because in every moment the only question you have to ask is “What is the demand of love in this very moment?”

Included with this letter is a complimentary copy of ‘The Imitation of Christ for Children’.

Key dates

  • Start of term – This very second if you want to! Any time you are ready.
  • End of term – Never 🙂 Isn’t that awesome?!
  • Holidays – You won’t want any 😉 Trust us.

Final words

Happy Birthday! It’s not every day that you turn 11 😉 Congratulations on 11 blessed years.

May God and our Mama Mary keep you close to their hearts ❤

Love,

*** ***

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