mistaken for imperfections

A bit more sweet Therese of Lisieux, reflecting on the compassion that relieves us from judgment (The Story of a Soul, Chapter 9):

Yes, I know when I show charity to others, it is simply Jesus acting in me, and the more closely I am united to Him, the more dearly I love my Sisters. If I wish to increase this love in my heart, and the devil tries to bring before me the defects of a Sister, I hasten to look for her virtues, her good motives; I call to mind that though I may have seen her fall once, no doubt she has gained many victories over herself, which in her humility she conceals. It is even possible that what seems to me a fault, may very likely, on account of her good intention, be an act of virtue. I have no difficulty in persuading myself of this, because I have had the same experience.

One day, during recreation, the portress came to ask for a Sister to help her. I had a childish longing to do this work, and it happened the choice fell upon me. I therefore began to fold up our needlework, but so slowly that my neighbour, who I knew would like to take my place, was ready before me. The Sister who had asked for help, seeing how deliberate I was, said laughingly: “I thought you would not add this pearl to your crown, you are so extremely slow,” and all the Community thought I had yielded to natural reluctance. I cannot tell you what profit I derived from this incident, and it made me indulgent towards others. It still checks any feelings of vanity, when I am praised, for I reflect that since my small acts of virtue can be mistaken for imperfections, why should not my imperfections be mistaken for virtue? And I say with St. Paul: “To me it is a very small thing to be judged by you, or by man’s day. But neither do I judge myself. He that judgeth me is the Lord.”

And it is the Lord, it is Jesus, Who is my judge. Therefore I will try always to think leniently of others, that He may judge me leniently, or rather not at all, since He says: “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged.”

But returning to the Holy Gospel where Our Lord explains to me clearly in what His New Commandment consists, I read in St. Matthew: “You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thy enemy: but I say unto you, Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you.”

Mickey McGrath, “St. Therese Doing the Dishes”

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2 responses to “mistaken for imperfections

  1. Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve heard and heard of her but never read her. A dear friend in Nashville told me long, long ago when her kids were little and she was tempted to feel invisible, “If I do the dishes with gratitude and praise in my heart, it makes an eternal difference in the invisible realm.” I’ve never seen that truth illustrated before!

    Like

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