Thursday, January 18, 2007

Spiritual Roses from Story of a Soul - Wrapped in Cotton Wool and Fattened Like a Little Bird

Welcome to my series featuring excerpts from the book that started it all - Story of a Soul. I'm calling the series Spiritual Roses from Story of a Soul and I hope that you will visit here every day for an inspirational message from our dear little saint.

"On New Year's day, 1888, Jesus again gave me a present of His cross, but this time I was alone in carrying it. It was all the more painful as I did not understand it. A letter from Mother Marie de Gonzague informed me that the Bishop's answer had arrived December 28, feast of the Holy Innocents, but that she had not told me as it was decided that my entrance would be delayed until after Lent. I was unable to hold back my tears at the thought of such a long wait. This trial had a particular characteristic about it: I saw all my bonds broken as far as the world was concerned, but this time it was the holy ark itself which refused entrance to the poor little dove. I really want to believe I must have appeared unreasonable in not accepting my three months' exile joyfully, but I also believe that, without its appearing so, this trial was very great and made me grow very much in abandonment and in the other virtues.

How did those three months pass, those months so rich in graces for me? At first the thought came into my mind not to lead a life as well regulated as had been my custom, but soon I understood the value of the time I was being offered. I made a resolution to give myself up more than ever to a serious and mortified life. When I say mortified, this is not to give the impression that I performed acts of penance. Alas, I never made any. Far from resembling beautiful souls who practiced every kind of mortification from their childhood, I had no attraction for this. Undoubtedly this stemmed from my cowardliness, for I could have, like Celine, found a thousand ways of making myself suffer. Instead of this I allowed myself to be wrapped in cotton wool and fattened up like a little bird that needs no penance. My mortifications consisted in breaking my will, always so ready to impose itself on others, in holding back a reply, in rendering little services without recognition, in not leaning my back against a support when seated, etc., etc. It was through the practice of these nothings that I prepared myself to become the financee of Jesus, and I cannot express how much this waiting left me with sweet memories. Three months passed by very quickly, and then the moment so ardently desired finally arrived."

Excerpted from Story of a Soul, ICS Publications, Third Edition, page 143. This book and many others along with a line of holy cards and photos of St. Therese imported from her monastery in Lisieux can be found at my webstore The Little Way.

St. Therese, open our hearts to your little way. Teach us to throw ourselves into the arms of Our Lord, casting away all doubt and fear and accepting all that He sends us as graces for the salvation of our souls.

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