A while back I read the Kindle version of the book Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux. If you read my review of the book here, you’ll see that I didn’t like the book all that much. Despite this, there were a few passages that spoke to me. I ran across these quotations, scribbled on a few pieces of paper, while I was sorting through (decluttering) a stack of notes on a table near where I usually sit and read in the evenings.
“…A soul in the state of grace has nothing to fear from the devil, who is a coward, and will even fly from the gaze of a little child.”
— from a dream Therese of Lisieux had.
Now that it has been about 5 months since I finished the book, I don’t remember why I found this statement worthy of writing down. I suppose because it is good advice. When one’s soul is in a state of grace, temptations are few.
“As I was no use at games, I should have preferred to spend all my time in reading.”
There is no doubt about why I wrote this quote down. First, I am definitely not athletic, so you’d never find me spending my time playing sports. Second, if I could, I would spend all my time reading. In the Spring, Summer, and Autumn, when I was growing up and my friends were not around, I would get a book from my personal library, set up my porch rocking chair, and sit in the screened-in carport reading from morning until evening occasionally looking up at the stately cottonwoods across the street while pondering what I was reading. In my adulthood, I continued this tradition when I lived in my apartment in Novi, Michigan. I didn’t have a carport, but I did have a balcony, so on non-rainy days when I had no other responsibilities vying for my time, I would sit on my balcony, from morning until evening, reading a book from my personal library occasionally looking out over the pond and adjoining woods while pondering what I was reading. Currently I live in a large, older home with a deck. How I would love to spend countless hours on that deck reading… But, for now, the seemingly never-ending decorating and decluttering and upkeep keep me from that… although I have taken breaks from working on projects to sit out in the evenings, even if it’s just for a half hour, to read.
“…for God has given me a faithful heart, and when once I love, I love for ever.”
A couple of my friends I have known for 30+ years and although we don’t see each other often (even less so since I moved to mid-Michigan), I hope they know that they are always in my thoughts and prayers.
“He does not come down from Heaven each day in order to remain in a golden ciborium, but to find another Heaven — the Heaven of our souls in which He takes such delight.”
— St. Therese talking about God in the Host
Something to think about when in line to receive the Host, and something to think about always… especially when being tempted away from a relationship with our Lord.
“I realized thoroughly that joy is not found in the things which surround us, but lives only in the soul.”
Something for me to think about as I pare down my possessions to only those things necessary for the well-being of my body, mind, and soul. Although joy may not be found in purchased “things”, some “things” can elicit joy: a sunrise, a sunset, a rainbow, a lake, a river… and then there are all those living “things” that surround us: trees and flowers and birds. All these “things” that surround me bring my soul joy.