Search

barchenkecil

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

Tag

Story of a Soul

Childlike trust

st therese trust.jpg

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

 

Finding a hobby

st-augustine-of-hippo.jpg
St. Augustine of Hippo

You have made us for Yourself, oh Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.

– St. Augustine

For years I have been searching for a hobby that sticks around. Often I’d try something thinking that it would be my new hobby because it’s exciting in the beginning, but after a short while it dies off. The reason why it dies off is because it doesn’t satisfy my restless heart. I’ve tried so many things, reading fiction, writing fiction, knitting, playing the flute, colouring, drawing, cycling, running, sewing, etc.

Finally, I found something that sticks; because it satisfies my restless heart. I guess my hobby is to immerse myself in the rich tradition of the Catholic Church. I love reading the beautiful writings of the saints (my favourite so far is ‘a Story of a Soul’ by St. Therese of Lisieux). I love thinking about God and praying always by imitating Our Lady in pondering things of heaven in my heart. Most of all, I love going to daily Mass. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to do this especially since I live a mere 8 Min walk away from my parish and am currently unemployed and on Uni holidays.

My heart is restless until it rests in God.

Praying constantly

eucharistic prayer mass.jpg

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 journey Home

many GPS.jpg

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.

Dear 11 year old…

hogwarts_acceptance_letter_by_fiskarsmurderer-d4ibhy1

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,

*** ***

‘Story of a Soul’, Chapter 1 – Reflection 2

flower

had I not been brought up by such wonderful parents, I am quite sure I should have gone from bad to worse and probably ended up by losing my soul. But Jesus was watching over His little bride and drew good even out of her faults, for as they were corrected very early, they helped her to grow more and more perfect…

– St. Thérèse of Lisieux, ‘Story of a Soul’, Chapter 1 

How thankful I am for our TPE!

I’m am so grateful to my husband for correcting my faults and nurturing me into the submissive he wants me to be. So grateful that he allows God to use him to nurture your me.

I pray that we will both be able to continue to allow God to work through us to help correct each other’s faults and to encourage each other’s growth.

I saw that one could be a Saint in varying degrees, for we are free to respond to Our Lord’s invitation by doing much or little in our love to Him; to choose, that is, among the sacrifices He asks… I choose everything my God, I do not want to be a Saint by halves, I am not afraid to suffer for Your sake; I only fear doing my own will, so I give it to You and choose everything You will. 

– St. Thérèse of Lisieux, ‘Story of a Soul’, Chapter 1 

I am afraid to suffer. I am afraid of suffering. But I do also fear doing my own will, so I give it to You, Lord, and I want to choose everything You will.

I know that the Lord will help me through suffering. Being afraid of it is something to acknowledge but I offer up that fear to God, I know He knows what to do with it. Feelings are not important, the act of the will is. If I get wet in the storm of feelings it matters little, because I can dry in the sunshine of Love after the storm has passed.

Links:

‘Story of a Soul’, Chapter 1 – Reflection 1

a-garden-of-flowers

Firstly, I want to say that I know in my head that God loves everyone equally. At the same time, I struggle to understand why there is ‘inequality’ in the eyes of the world, and in my eyes too. Some people have more material comforts than others, some attain greater spiritual growth than others, etc.

Reading ‘Story of a Soul’ this morning gave me an answer to this question that goes beyond my expectation. St. Thérèse explains wonderfully why not everyone seems to receive the same degree of grace from the Lord. I am not only satisfied with her explanation, my soul delights now in seeing the beauty in ‘inequality’. The Lord’s ways are not our ways…

For a long time I had wondered why God has preferences, why He did not give the same degree of grace to everyone. 

I was rather surprised that He should pour out such extraordinary graces on great sinners like St. Paul, St. Augustine and so many others, forcing His grace on them, so to speak. I was rather surprised, too when reading the lives of the Saints, to find Our Lord treating certain privileged souls with the greatest tenderness from the cradle to the grave, removing all obstacles from their upward path to Him, and preserving the radiance of their baptismal robe from the stains of sin. Also, I wondered why so many poor [souls] die without even hearing Our Lord’s name.

Jesus chose to enlighten me on this mystery.

He opened the book of nature before me, and I saw that every flower He has created has a beauty of its own, that the splendor of the rose and the lily’s whiteness do not deprive the violet of its scent nor make less ravishing the daisy’s charm. I saw that if every flower wished to be a rose, Nature would lose her spring adornments, and the fields would no longer be enameled with their varied flowers.

So it is in the world of souls, the living garden of the Lord. It pleases Him to create great Saints, who may be compared with the lilies or the rose; but He has also created little ones, who much be content to be daisies or violets, nestling at His feet to delight His eyes when He should choose to look at them. The happier they are to be as He wills, the more perfect they are. 

I saw something further: that Our Lord’s love shines out just as much through a little soul who yields completely to His Grace as it does through the greatest. True love is shown in self-abasement, and if everyone were like the saintly doctors who adorn the Church, it would seem that God had not far enough to stoop when he came to them. But He has, in fact, created the child, who knows nothing and can only make feeble cries, and the poor [soul has not heard the Lord’s name], with only the Natural Law to guide him; and it is to hearts such as these that He stoops. 

What delights Him is the simplicity of these flowers of the field, and by stooping so low to them, He shows how infinitely great He is. Just as the sun shines equally on the cedar and the little flower, so the Divine Sun shines equally on everyone, great and small. 

– St. Thérèse of Lisieux, ‘Story of a Soul’, Chapter 1

I want to delight in what the Lord wants me to be, just as I am happy to be shaped into the submissive that my husband wants me to be.

Links:

‘The Story of a Soul’, Prologue – Reflection

Story of a Soul

My dear husband bought this book for me on Book Depository – ‘The Story of a Soul’, The Autobiography of the Little Flower. It arrived for me 2 days ago and I’m so excited to be able to finally savour its contents!

To have beautiful and holy thoughts and to write books or lives of the saints do not count so much as answering as soon as you are called.

– St. Thérèse of Lisieux

The new Thérèse was penetrated with the Gospel teaching, and put it into practice in her daily life. Yet more, she taught the way of spiritual childhood by her words and example to the novices of her Monastery, and she revealed it to all by her writings, which have been spread all over the world and which none can read without returning and re-reading them with great profit

– Pope Pius XI

Already, the prologue of the book, I see Thérèse’s words that reminds me that responding to the Lord’s call is more important than the ability to write or think beautifully.

I see this reflected in my relationship with my dear husband as well; one of the most important things to him is to obey him and the Lord with love and trust. Action speaks louder than words.

I want to choose to prioritize my prayer life over all other aspects of my life. How glad am I then, that every moment can be a prayer!

Links:

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑