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Archive for the ‘Love of Neighbor’ Category

 In her famous teaching of “little way”, St. Therese said, “God does not expect that we all do great things, but only that we do little things with great love.”

How do we do little things with great love? I think to live and love each present moment is a good starting point. The present moment is the very true reality of life. Once this moment slips by, it never comes back. Therefore, giving our best to each moment is a good response to God’s call, a little way to remain faithful. I write this down to remind myself. Most of the time I don’t consciously think about this; therefore, I could easily let the precious moment go by without giving it a meaningful attention or simply allowe it to be wasted.

 It will be nice if I am supposed to cook dinner, I cook it with love. If I am supposed to clean the house, I clean it gladly. If I am supposed to listen to a friend or relative, listen with patience, even she has already repeated herself multiple times. If I am to pray, pray with attention, not distraction. If I am to perform a dreadful task, do it without procrastination. If I am to exercise, just keep on moving, not keep on thinking about quitting …….

The story of Martha and Mary comes to my mind. Sitting under Jesus’ feet, Mary was enjoying her present moment with the master. Martha, instead of preparing dinner with love, complained. If only Martha took a different perspective – let the fact that Jesus was near in the house to comfort her, and did her chores happily for Jesus’ sake, wouldn’t it be all better? She could still enjoy the conversation and listening at the dinner table.

The Bible says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Clinging to God and doing things in his presence make it all easier. Knowing Jesus is with me can bring me better patience. I want to remain faithful to each moment of life, to consciously live and love it.

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“If ye love not each other in daily communion how can ye love God whom ye have not seen?

(-From the hymn “More Love,” based on 1 John 4:20)

One aspect of St. Therese of Lisieux’s Little Way is love of neighbor, and Therese found that when it comes to loving others, practice, along with God’s grace,  makes perfect:

Therese deliberately sought the company of the sisters who, on account of their imperfections, were shunned by others, or those who pleased her least. One of these was very difficult to live with on account of her crotchety character and disagreeable manner. Therese forced herself to treat her “as she would the person that she loved most.” At times when she was tempted to give a sharp answer, she treated the Sister’s rudeness with a friendly smile. This puzzled the nun so much that she asked the Saint one day why she was so attracted to her. Therese replied that she smiled each time they met because she was “glad to see her.” In recounting this incident later, she added with a twinkle in her eye: “Of course I didn’t tell her that I was acting from a supernatural motive.” We learn from the Saint herself that her charity towards that Sister gained for her so great a grace that, from that time, she had no further difficulty in practicing that virtue.

When others complained to her about the unpleasant character of that nun and the annoyance they suffered on her account, she replied: “Be very kind to that Sister. It is both an act of charity and an exercise of patience. We must not allow our own souls to be upset and yield to interior bitterness. We must sweeten our minds by charitable thoughts. After that, the practice of patience will become almost natural.” (Rev. Francois Jamart, O.C.D., Complete Spiritual Doctrine of St. Therese of Lisieux, pp. 96-97)


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