27 May 2015

'Lord, give me strength to follow Thee unto death!'

"Mother," she one day said to the Prioress, "were I unfaithful, were I to commit even the smallest infidelity, I feel that my soul would be plunged into the most terrible anguish, and I should be unable to welcome death."

Mother Prioress evinced surprise at hearing her speak in this strain, and she continued: "I am speaking of infidelity in the matter of pride. If, for example, I were to say: 'I have acquired such or such a virtue and I can practise it'; or again: 'My God, Thou knowest I love Thee too much to dwell on one single thought against faith,' straightway I should be assailed by the most dangerous temptations and should certainly yield. To prevent this misfortune I have but to say humbly and from my heart: 'My God, I beseech Thee not to let me be unfaithful.'

"I understand clearly how St. Peter fell. He placed too much reliance on his own ardent nature, instead of leaning solely on the Divine strength. Had he only said: 'Lord, give me strength to follow Thee unto death!' the grace would not have been refused him.

"How is it, Mother, that Our Lord, knowing what was about to happen, did not say to him: 'Ask of Me the strength to do what is in thy mind?' I think His purpose was to give us a twofold lesson--first: that He taught His Apostles nothing by His presence which He does not teach us through the inspirations of grace; and secondly: that, having made choice of St. Peter to govern the whole Church, wherein there are many sinners, He wished him to test in himself what man can do without God's help. This is why Jesus said to him before his fall: 'Thou being once converted confirm thy brethren';[23] that is, 'Tell them the story of thy sin--show them by thy own experience, how necessary it is for salvation to rely solely upon Me.'"

--St. Thérèse of Liseux, Counsels and Reminiscences, 71

No comments: