“I understand now that true charity consists in bearing with the faults of others, in not being surprised at their weakness, in being edified by the smallest acts of virtue we see them practice.” – St. Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul
St. Therese wrote this in Manuscript C of Story of a Soul as she entered the infirmary for the last time. As she was battling Tuberculosis, she felt distant from God and knew she wasn’t going to live for long. Because of her sickness, St. Therese was given plenty of time to think, pray, reflect, and write.
One day, she was reflecting on the bible passage, “No greater love has no man than this: than to lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15: 13) During this reflection, St. Therese realized that God asks is to love each other as He loves us. This selfless love rejoices in seeing others grow in virtue – it is not a jealous or envious love.
While someone might be weak or at fault, Jesus always loves. This is how St. Therese realized she must love. While we see faults in others, our hearts can be transformed by seeing the smallest act of virtue.
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