So Jesus called them and said to them, "You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. Mark 10:42-44
Life doesn’t encourage us to be servants and slaves. Everything around us prods us to become a winner, a leader, have the best, have control, get others to do our bidding, show us respect, etc. But as he does so often, Jesus turns that all around when he explains what life as God’s people is like.
In 1889 in France, a 16-year-old girl named Thérèse Martin was given special permission by the Catholic Bishop to become a nun in the Carmelite order, even though she was under the normal age when this was allowed. She was the youngest child of a financially comfortable family. Becoming a member of the convent proved quite a change for her–she had never had to do housework or chores before, and her strong-willed nature could be a source of conflict with the other nuns–when you read about her life in the convent it really drives home the point that even among a group of people who decide to dedicate their lives to God, not everything is peace and harmony!
But Thérèse was determined to live her life as Jesus would have her do. One older nun in particular was particularly thorny–no one liked her, she was demanding and criticized everyone, and most everyone avoided her–but evidently she was so self-absorbed she never realized how unpleasant others found her. Thérèse decided that Jesus would want her to look beyond this woman’s shortcomings and see the child of God that she was made to be. So she set out to do for this sister everything that she would do for the one she loved most. Every time she saw her, she said a prayer for her to offer to God the virtues and good qualities that she knew God had instilled in the woman. While the other nuns avoided this prickly sister, Thérèse went out of her way to do as many services for her as she could and disciplined her tongue not to speak sharply to her or about her no matter how sorely tempted she was to do so.
The sister noticed Thérèse’s actions. One day she came to her and said, "My dear Sister Thérèse, tell me what attraction you find in me, for whenever we meet, you greet me with such a sweet smile." Thérèse just smiled again for she knew that what attracted her was Jesus hidden in the depths of the older woman’s soul–Jesus who makes sweet even that which is most bitter.
Thérèse made her ego, her emotions and her temper slaves and servants to Jesus. Let’s pray that we, too, can find the places to turn life upside down through being a servant for God!
Peace to you!
Mary Beth Commisso
Ho-Ho-Hope someone can help! WELCA would like to borrow aSanta Claus suit, preferably with a Santa volunteer inside, for WELCA’s Christmas Fair photo opportunity. The Christmas Fair will be held Saturday, Nov. 21, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Please contact Joan Quinn, Marge Westerville, or any WELCA member.