Quoted from, “The Story of a Life, St. Therese of Lisieux” by Guy Gaucher, O.C.D.
‘St. Teresa says we must feed the fire of love. We feed this fire of love by searching for all the little occasions to please Jesus … for example, a smile, a friendly word, when I would have preferred to say nothing or look bored, etc.
What matters is the essential and not the appearance, the kernel and not the shell. Jesus strips us so as to show that he is the one who is at work. And these poor little souls, seeing themselves in such great poverty, are afraid. It seems to them that they are good for nothing since they receive everything from others and have nothing to give.’
Good for nothing. She knew what she was talking about. She who worked at painting, while sturdy peasants vigorously got on with the heavy community work, knew the humiliation of beng thought useless: ‘Several sisters kept saying that she was doing nothing, that it seemed she had come to Carmel to amuse herself.’
How does Jesus call you to feed the fire of love? Do you suffer, either outwardly or inwardly by a judgment from others that you are useless and not contributing? Remember that Jesus calls us to give what he desires, not what always “looks good” or is manically “productive.” Sometimes, Jesus just wants our time and our gaze, I think. What does it do to our souls when we give too much attention to those (or ourselves, if we are the judger?) who judge our actions, particularly our actions of love? What do we lose when we strive to be productive at the cost of carving out time for listening and responding to the still small, maddeningly at times subtle voice of God? I don’t know about you, but for me it sure is easy to be discouraged or humiliated or stressed out when I don’t feel like (or genuinely can’t be!) a “valuable” producer. And yet, in my clearer moments I know that is making it all about me, and taking me farther from the Jesus I long for. Much to ponder. Much to pray over…