Last Sunday, we talked about Theresé of Lisieux and her desire to find some way for her to ascend in her faith even though she felt that she was a small soul (an “elevator”). Theresé decided that love–loving others–would be her way to grow in her holiness.
(You can listen to the message here.)
We said that three conclusions for our own lives can be found in Theresé’s ideas. Maybe take one of these each day to focus on.
1-Love is only manifest in actions. Read 1 John 3.16-19, 1 John 4.7-12, and 1 John 4.19-21. Do we say we love people, and not show it in how our actions? How we live? How we treat people? How we actually talk to people? How would the ways you interact with people be different if you actually, really showed love to them? Love is only manifest in ACTIONS.
Prayer: “God, may my day be filled with loving actions toward others. May I share your love with everyone I meet today.”
2-Love requires self-sacrifice. Read Matthew 16.24. Jesus said that if we are going to follow Him, we must deny ourselves. This is really applicable to His command to love one another (John 13.34-35). What ideas, ways of thinking might you have to give up to love others? What parts of your current lifestyle might you need to give up to love others? What way of relating to people might you have to give up to love others? You may have to be patient. You may have to endure irritations or even insults. You may have to hold your tongue. You may have to forego giving your opinion. You may have to let someone else go first. You may have to stop and sit and listen.
Prayer: “God, I like to have my way. I like to be first. I like to express myself. I like to be listened to. Give me the grace to deny myself and treat others as I would want to be treated. May I be patient, kind, and loving. Give me the strength to show your love to others even when it is uncomfortable for me.”
3-We must love those who need it. Theresé made a point to be most loving toward those who were most unlovable. Two Scriptures informed this. The first is Matthew 5.43-48, where Jesus said “…if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?”. And Luke 10.25-37, which is the story of the Good Samaritan. Theresé looked at unlovely people as “wounded” like the man in the story. It is our calling to serve those wounded souls. Who is it that you find irritating? Who is it that gets on your nerves? Who is it that always finds something unkind to say to you? Show God’s love to that person. Be a friend to that person.
Prayer: “God, I cannot love this person on my own. I need your help and your strength. I will not avoid them. I will not respond in anger to their comments. I will treat them with respect and kindness. I will show your love to them.”