“Christ healing the paralytic at Bethesda” (detail) by Palma il Giovane / Public domain

Ask a Carmelite Sister

Dear Sister,

I attended Catholic school in my elementary and high school years. At that time, I loved and enjoyed my Catholic religion.  Since then, though, I guess you would call me a “fallen-away” or “lapsed” Catholic. I hopped onto the train of life using the fast track and have been traveling at breakneck speed ever since. That is – until the beginning of this summer.

I became very sick and here I am three months later; still as ill as ever. So, I had to stop and get off that fast track. What I am leading to is that I am remembering God and that’s good. But I feel very poorly most of the time. I guess I took my good health for granted until now. How can I reach out to God again? 

Dear Friend

Thank you for your letter. Your train has stopped and your wheels have stopped spinning. Well, it looks like the good Lord has slowed you down so he can fill you anew with his grace and love. He is there.  With you.  In the midst of your pain and suffering.  Many saints have gone through exactly what you described; like St. Ignatius of Loyola to name one. I’d like to share with you a letter from our Mother Luisita, who founded our community during a time of religious persecution in Mexico. They were written in code because of the religious persecution. I’ve mentioned them before in this blog. Here is another one. It is decoded and now reads as follows.  May her words help you as they have helped countless others.

“Let us bless our good God in all and for all
because He allows everything to happen for our own good.”

To Be Read in Times of Sickness
A letter from Mother Luisita

My beloved child,

So, you are sick? My heartfelt desire for you is this – I’m asking our good God to send abundant graces into your soul. Our good God is molding His image in you by means of your sickness. May God our Lord give you peace of soul. Get rid of all of those preoccupations that will only disturb you and harm you. How much Our Lord loves you! Be assured that this illness that He has given you is nothing more than a proof of His love for you. The isolation in which he has placed you shouldn’t be a cause of sadness for you. Neither should it discourage you. On the contrary, you can profit by it. St. Teresa used to say that it was good for her soul to be isolated because she could become recollected and pray.

Sickness is really terrible. Most of us don’t realize how precious good health is and we aren’t thankful enough for it. Let’s learn to profit not only by the illness, but by all of the discomforts that come along with it as well. That will be a better penance than one of our own choosing. In order to purify our souls of so many stains that make it ugly, we can avail ourselves of enduring our sickness in order to beautify our souls before they present themselves to the good God. You must not see yourself as being alone. On the contrary, you are more accompanied than ever before because Our Lord is always with those who suffer. Talk to Him. Trust Him with all your sufferings. Tell Him about your doubts and abandon yourself entirely into His Hands. Besides, I can truthfully assure you that by the mere fact that you are suffering this illness, you are bringing down innumerable blessings from Our Lord upon your loved ones and even greater graces to your own soul.

Perhaps this illness will be the means of your sanctification and you will not pass through Purgatory. Let us bless our good God in all and for all because He allows everything to happen for our own good. My child, offer God all your sufferings. God is watching over you and he will not allow you to despair. He loves you very much, but He also wants you to be very generous with Him, too.

Knowing this, try to overcome everything. Don’t pay attention to anything that will make you suffer or preoccupy your thoughts. Are you becoming preoccupied thinking about your illness? Don’t be foolish! Rid yourself of those tears and nerves! The only thing they are good for is to destroy you by making you even sicker than what you are and that would be very harmful to you. Abandon yourself totally to the will of God. Try to distract yourself from your illness and be at peace.

Pray very much, a humble prayer filled with trust, asking Our Lord to grant you that grace which you so greatly desire through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother. Try to remain recollected. Humble yourself and meditate on both your present situation and what you are asking God for – that specific grace which you are desiring and hoping to receive as a grace from God. Mediate upon the love which God our Lord has for you. Think about how you have spent all these past years. Then think about how you would like to live your life from now on. Be sure to meditate very near the tabernacle, peacefully, and without being apprehensive about this or that, because anxiety is bad. It springs from pride. Don’t allow yourself to drown in a drop of water. You’re all right. You’re all right. Cover yourself well. Take good care of yourself. Look to God, your soul and eternity. All the rest is merely a puff of smoke. May you have joy, health, and most of all God’s blessings.

Mother Luisita

You can find more of Mother Luisita’s letters of spiritual direction (which can be printed) at: http://www.carmelitesistersocd.com/Foundress/MothersHeart.asp.

I hope that is of help to you and until next time,

Sister Laus Gloriae, O.C.D.

To learn more about the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, read their biography below and visit their website.

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