Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual growth’

4 Ways to Grow in Holiness from St. Thérèse

I found this post here and thought it was worth re-blogging it.

Until I did that, I always thought of her as one of those saints who’s way beyond me. She’s a Doctor of the Church, for Pete’s sake. I could never measure up. What I learned in reading Story of a Soul was that she’s more relatable than I thought – and is especially relatable for our time.

Why is St. Thérèse so relatable?

St. Thérèse described herself as a little soul. Most of us are little souls too. Why? In our modern age, we’re used to a comfortable life. Our Mother Teresa’s and Karol Wojtyla’s are few and far between. I think most of us would agree that we’re too weak and little to become a saint. And still, we’re all called to do just that.

St. Thérèse knew she was too weak to become a great saint. In other words, she’s just like us. (She even struggled with praying the Rosary!) Yet, she became one of the greatest saints. Ever. St. Thérèse shows us how to achieve sainthood by taking baby steps. The key is a childlike trust in God, while having great love for God and others.

In honor of her feast day today (Oct. 1st), here are 4 tips for growing in holiness inspired by St. Thérèse:

1. Just keep trying to become a saint.

“The good God does not demand more from you than good will…Soon, won over by your useless efforts, He will come down Himself and, taking you in His arms, He will carry you up.”

The key to growing in holiness is that we continue to try. Even if we never see progress in ourselves, if we get up every time we fall and begin again, God is pleased with that. If we saw our progress, we might think it’s because of our own efforts that we grow in virtue. The inability to see our growth keeps us depending on God.

2. Don’t know how to love people? Begin by loving.

“I must seek out…the company of sisters who are the least agreeable to me…I want to be friendly to everybody to give joy to Jesus.”

Few of us know how to truly love people. If we don’t know how, we can start by doing little things: smiling at a passerby, doing the dishes for your roommate, refraining from complaining. We can start with little acts of love, especially toward those whom we don’t get along with, to teach us how. We learn to love by loving.

3. Prayer doesn’t have to be complicated.

“For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”

God is simple. He’s just happy that we show up to spend time with Him. We don’t have to do x, y and z for it to be good prayer. If it’s difficult or you get distracted – keep refocusing yourself and trust that it’s still good, even if you didn’t get the warm-fuzzies.

4. Focus on loving God, not on your faults.

“We have merely to love Him, without looking at ourselves, without examining our faults too much.”

God isn’t this judgmental figure waiting for us to mess up. He looks on us with love as His children. Children try to please their parents, but sometimes they make messes and spills. If we’re trying to become holy, God doesn’t reject us over our messes and spills. If we focus on God’s love and goodness, it’ll be harder for us to be discouraged.

St. Thérèse showed me that, while becoming a saint not easy, it is so simple. We don’t have to be discouraged about anything — weakness, failure, sin, or suffering. We can trust that God will make us a saint if we take one small step forward, every day.

Is St. Thérèse special to you? How has she impacted your life in what she did or said? We’d love to hear from you!

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Wouldn’t it be great if we had rules of thumb for every thing? A how-to manual that we could just run to and find all the answers for life? …Not possible, I am afraid… Anyhow, we can always try to establish little guidelines to help us sail more smoothly as we progress on our journeys in this world. I found this somewhere and thought I should share it here.

  1. Practice humility today in all your actions. 
  2. Be generous today; help someone in need. 
  3. Look for ways to be helpful throughout the day. 
  4. Do a job that needs being done without being asked. 
  5. Be courageous; walk away from any impure situations today. 
  6. Don’t be at all idle today; always do something for others or for your own spiritual growth. 
  7. Go out of your way today to help or talk to someone who is usually difficult.
  8. Volunteer for an extra job today.
  9. Say an extra Rosary today for the conversion of a sinner. 
  10. Visit someone who is sick or lonesome today. Offer to say the Rosary with them.

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Human suffering

An inspiring Homily at Palm Sunday Mass last week made me reflect on a question that many of us have probably asked ourselves at least once at some point in our lives: Why do good or innocent people have to suffer, or why do bad things happen to good human beings? If God is loving and merciful, why would He let us suffer? We could start by taking a closer look into our Christian Faith for some answers.

Although Resurrection is a central part of our Faith, we must not forget that Jesus Christ humbled Himself by becoming a man to speak to us in our level so that we could know the Eternal Father. When we meditate on His incarnated life and His suffering, we are inspired to learn to live and be like him; this is why we celebrate His sacrifice at Mass every Sunday. Meditating on the events that led to Christ’s suffering upon the cross helps us put into context our own tribulations in life, and to  contemplate that we too can be sanctified through enduring and uniting our suffering with that of Jesus Christ.


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