Sunday, October 17, 2010

Be a witness of the Great Love that God has for mankind

"From my own interview with Mother and the chapter nuns in the New York Carmel that Thanksgiving Day and from interviews with other girls which I subsequently attended as a nun, I must report that above all things Mother Teresa was interested in a girl's love for Our Lord.

She said one must have great love to take up her cross every day and follow in faith her Beloved Jesus. Only such love can make the life possible. Attraction for the religious life is not sufficient. Any girl who comes 'to seek peace' is to be carefully and seriously tested, as is one who 'loves solitude.'

Aptitude also was rated far below the supreme test of love and determination to strive for perfection. Aptitude, or general fitness for the life, is absolutely necessary, but aptitude without a personal love of Our Lord is not sufficient. As to aptitude for the vows, Mother Teresa said, 'No one could say she was unsuited to poverty; no normal person would have difficulty with the vow of chastity; and even those least disposed to submission can become obedient - people in the world must obey their superiors.' Nor should there be any difficulty for a normal girl in living a community life. It was, and still is after many years, Mother's opinion that the aptitudes needed for success in the world - the same qualities - are needed in the religious state. And she always added that a person who chooses marriage is not by any means barred from the life of Christian perfection, for there are many saints in the kitchens, factories, and offices of the world. Not all the contemplatives are found in the cloister; among the priests and nuns engaged in the active apostolate, there are contemplatives, and there are contemplatives in the world. Spared of the distractions of the world, we in the cloister should normally be able to spend more time in contemplation than others.

Mother Teresa summed up the interview in some such way as this:

'Cecilia, my child, we shall let you know soon what decision the nuns have come to about your interview. Meanwhile, do not forget to exercise yourself in all the virtues, especially love and faith. We in Carmel are supposed to be witnesses before men of the Great Love that God has for mankind. We are to think constantly of God and rejoice in Him and want to be near Him to love Him.

'Our cloistered life is one of all or nothing. If you desire to be a Carmelite, you should want to give yourself completely. You must have a strong longing for God alone.'"

-- My Beloved: the Story of a Carmelite Nun by Mother Catherine Thomas, ocd

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