How can the wisdom of St. Thérèse of Lisieux help us overcome discouragement?
We know that joy must be one of the most important marks of a Christian, and learning to find meaning in suffering can be a source of faith and witness for others.
But what to do when we cannot see “the bright side” of things?
Known for her famous little way, St. Thérèse of Lisieux was a great saint who lived her love for God in the simplest and most ordinary tasks of everyday life.
She, however, faced a constant difficulty in discouragement.
Despite striving for sainthood, she often felt it was beyond her capabilities. And that's what she decided to do!
Whenever discouragement tempted St. Thérèse , her natural reaction was, “I can't do it.”
But instantly, she directed her heart to hope and optimism, because she knew that God would not ask the impossible.
In her autobiography "The Story of a Soul," St. Thérèse of Lisieux reports that she made three resolutions upon receiving her First Holy Communion at age 11:
1) “I will fight my pride”
With that, she again recalls the importance of humility as a path for her Little Way. For her, discouragement was also a form of pride!
2) “I will entrust myself to the Virgin Mary by praying a Memorare”
Here's how to pray the Memorare prayer, also known as "Remember":
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
3) “I will not be discouraged”
It seems simple (and even kind of obvious), but the saint removed the feeling of discouragement by simply saying she will not be discouraged.
A heart that is full of trust in God knows that He has the best plan for us, regardless of our current situation. Our yearnings for holiness are not only possible, but are the fruit of God's own desires, who would not make us wish for unrealizable things.