From a meditation by St. Therese of Lisieux
Jesus called those he wanted, and they came to him.
When he had gone up the hill, Jesus called those he wanted and they came to him.
Jesus does not call those who are worthy to be called, but those he wants, or as Saint Paul says, God takes pity on whomever he wishes, and has mercy on whomever he pleases. So what counts is not what we will or try to do, but the mercy of God.
For a long time I wondered why the good God had preferences, why every soul did not receive grace in equal measure. I was amazed to see him lavishing extraordinary favors on saints who had offended him like Saint Paul and Saint Augustine, and whom he practically forced to accept his graces. Or else, when I read the lives of saints whom our Lord was pleased to cherish from the cradle to the grave, allowing no obstacle to stand in their way that would have prevented them from rising toward him, and visiting them with such graces that it was impossible for them to tarnish the immaculate brightness of their baptismal robe, I wondered why, for instance, poor people were dying in great numbers before they had even heard God’s name. Jesus kindly explained this mystery to me. He placed the book of nature before my eyes, and I understood that all the flowers he has created are beautiful, that the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent or the daisy of its delightful simplicity. I understood that if all the little flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose its spring adornment, and the fields would no longer be spangled with flowerets.
It is the same in the world of souls which is the garden of Jesus. He wanted to create the great saints who may be compared with lilies and roses; but he also created smaller ones, and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to gladden the eyes of the good god when he looks down at his feet. Perfection consists in doing his will, in being what he wants us to be.
I understood too that the love of our Lord is revealed in the simplest soul who offers no resistance to his grace as well as in the most sublime soul. In fact, since the essence of love is humility, if all souls were like those of the learned saints who have illuminated the church by the light of their teaching, it would seem as if God would not have very far to descend in coming to their hearts. But he has created the baby who knows nothing and whose only utterance is a feeble cry; he has created people who have only the law of nature to guide them; and it is their hearts that he deigns to come down to, those are his flowers of the field whose simplicity delights him. In coming down in that way the good God proves his infinite greatness. Just as the sun shines at the same time on cedar trees and on each little flower as it was the only one on earth, so our Lord takes special care of each soul as if it was his only care.
Suggestion for Lectio Divina: RB 7:7–9.
Reflection by Carol Barry, Benedictine Oblate, Feb. 10–11, 2013