Jun 23, 2016
When one reaches a certain age, one becomes increasingly dependent on the help and kindness of others, whether family, friends or neighbors. Asking for help and receiving it, have taught me a few lessons which I wish to share.
The art of helping is poignantly expressed in the life of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. She relates that in her convent there was a crippled elderly nun who needed help after Mass to go the refectory. Like most elderly people, she lived in a constant state of fear of falling, and was very critical of the services she received from the nuns. Nobody seemed quite capable of living up to her demands. Thérèse lovingly offered her services fully aware that it would be a difficult and demanding task. She writes in her autobiography that this small deed of charity was a real sacrifice, but she never "said no to Jesus."
She started performing this task of love, and as expected, was constantly criticized for not doing it properly: the sister knew in advance that Thérèse was "too young" to do it well. But St. Thérèse not only doubled her efforts to satisfy Mother St. Pierre, but made a point upon arriving at the refectory to regale her with "her most loving smile." Never could the elderly nun have suspected that this smle was the supernatural fruit of a sacrifice loving performed. These are the small deeds of love which weave the beautiful tapestry of holiness.
This moving story is a clarion call to shed some light on a most important theme: the art of helping others.