The Holy See
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Prayer must be associated with works of charity

"When I see souls very earnest in trying to understand the prayer they have and very sullen when they are in it-for it seems they don't dare let their minds move or stir lest a bit of their spiritual delight and devotion be lost-it makes me realize how little they understand of the way by which union is attained; they think the whole matter lies in these things. No, Sisters, absolutely not; works are what the Lord wants! He desires that if you see a Sister who is sick to whom you can bring some relief, you have compassion on her and not worry about losing this devotion; and that if she is suffering pain, you also feel it; and that, if necessary, you fast so that she might eat-not so much for her sake as because you know it is your Lord's desire. This is true union with His will, and if you see a person praised, the Lord wants you to be much happier than if you yourself were being praised. This, indeed, is easy, for if you have humility you will feel sorry to see yourself praised. But this happiness that comes when the virtues of the Sisters are known is a very good thing; and when we see some fault in them, it is also a very good thing to be sorry and hide the fault as though it were our own.

I have said a lot on this subject elsewhere,(Way of Perfection VII) because I see, Sisters, that if we fail in love of neighbour we are lost. May it please the Lord that this will never be so; for if you do not fail, I tell you that you shall receive from His Majesty the union that was mentioned. When you see yourselves lacking in this love, even though you have devotion and gratifying experiences that make you think you have reached this stage, and you experience some little suspension in the prayer of quiet (for to some it then appears that everything has been accomplished), believe me you have not reached union. And beg our Lord to give you this perfect love of neighbour. Let His Majesty have a free hand, for He will give you more than you know how to desire because you are striving and making every effort to do what you can about this love. And force your will to do the will of your Sisters in everything even though you may lose your rights; forget your own good for their sakes no matter how much resistance your nature puts up; and, when the occasion arises, strive to accept work yourself so as to relieve your neighbour of it. Don't think that it won't cost you anything or that you will find everything done for you. Look at what our Spouse's love for us cost Him; in order to free us from death, He died that most painful death of the cross."

St. Therese of Jesus, Doctor of the Church: The Interior Castle, Dwelling places V,3.11-12


O God, You have shown through the example of St. Therese of Jesus how much You desire humble prayer and efficacious charity, grant us to serve You in faithful prayer and loving solicitude for our sisters and brothers of every race and continent. We ask You this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord……. Amen.


By Ateneo Pontificio "Regina Apostolorum"