During yesterday’s prayer time, I wrote down my understanding of how the soul is purified whenever it suffers a humiliation, contradiction or the like by turning it over and placing it firmly in the blazing heart of Christ. The soul makes a firm choice not to run from the bitterness of this self-abnegation but rather to drink the gall bravely, allowing it to burn away disordered self love.
On page 3 in the book St. Therese Doctor of the Little Way I read: “With every act of humility, every time we accept a humiliation lovingly, more of self is removed, and therefore there is more room for the divine love to dwell in the soul.”
Then last night I had the opportunity for such self-abnegation. I was weary and looking forward to a few moments before sleep when I could do whatever I wanted, but that plan was being ambushed by my family’s many demands. It was after 9:00 and my youngest was just getting to bed and we hadn’t even prayed our rosary.
As I knelt down in my son’s room to pray, he kept wanting to ask questions and it felt like the little time I so desired was rapidly disappearing. I had to get up early in the morning so my time was limited and I felt trapped. It seemed like everyone and everything was bent on robbing me of that last little morsel of the day I so was counting on.
Just as I was closing my eyes yet again – so that we could finally start praying – I realized how the rosary, such a powerful tool in my hands, seemed like just one more demand on my time. My attitude was bordering on resentment.
Then I remembered St. Therese’s words to her novice charge, “God has designed and sent you this very trial from His loving hands. It is His perfect will that you suffer this contradiction of your own will. If you will submit to this trial, the burning you feel will free you more and more from your self love.”
As soon as I understood that I needed to abandon everything into God’s hands – all that I wanted to have for my self, my designs on my own time – I was able to embrace this purifying trial. Yes, I did experience an intense burning but it was accompanied by great hopefulness. I truly wanted to be freed from my petty desires so that I might act more and more in union with God’s perfect will. This blessed fire would accomplish this. I could never hope to achieve progress without this trial and many others that would certainly come.