“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
This month’s light comes from our very own Ms. Frasier. It was submitted as her final paper for a class at the Carmelite Institute of Britain and Ireland, and with Linda’s permission we share it with you!
St Therese of Lisieux: As Secular Carmelites, what can we learn from this beautiful Carmelite saint? by Alex Arias
We can learn her simplicity in prayer – talking to God in a direct, personal, and heartfelt ways. She prayed from her heart as a child speaks honestly and trustingly to a parent they love.
Her “little way” teaches us to do ordinary things with extraordinary love, like smiling at a stranger, or writing a note of encouragement to someone we know who needs it, calling someone we haven’t spoken to in a while, and so on.
To have greater dependence on God. Our culture is constantly pushing us to rely on ourselves, to be totally self-sufficient. We can learn from St. Therese to offer God our weakness, and to see our weakness as an opportunity to rely on Him completely.
What did St. Therese find extremely important in her spiritual growth and relationship with God, that we as secular Carmelites can learn from? She had great and innocent confidence in the loving promises of God. She lived in union with God’s plan for her life. She loved God so deeply. She was faithful to God unto the moment of her death. Despite her great suffering during her life, St. Therese still trusted deeply in God.
What can we as secular Carmelites do to follow in her footsteps? We can imitate her “little way” which is simply the idea of seeking holiness in the ordinary and in our everyday lives. Her “little way” teaches us to do ordinary things with extraordinary love. We can bring peace and love to the world through faithful endurance in love for God.
For St. Therese, prayer was a way of walking with God, and it can be like this for us.
Prayer to our Lady of Mount Carmel by Rita L. Malsch, O.C.D.S.
Mary, my mother, Queen Beauty of Carmel,
My teacher, my model of excellence;
you instruct me to suffer quietly and lovingly,
To keep inner silence amidst noisy gongs,
To listen to my heart’s whisper,
To die to my false self.
How can I thank you?
How can I love you more?
You wish to remain just a mother,
Pointing toward your precious Son,
My Brother, my Lord and Savior.
Lady of Mount Carmel,
Stay with me always and everywhere;
Paralyze the evil on at the hour of My last breath
That no injury befalls my eternal soul.
Lead me safely into the heavenly Jerusalem
The home of the Holy Trinity and my home.
Mother, for these I thank you
From the bottom of my heart. Amen.