I was never meant to be a Rose

I’ve been struggling for a while.  Struggling in a way that will be difficult for me to describe.  You see, I have not been struggling with belief in Our Lord, but struggling in prayer.  It’s not easy for me to write but I cannot be the only one to go through this.

I read the lives of the Saints and I feel . . . sad.  And I feel this amazing sense of wonder.  And then I feel shame.  I cannot do what they have done.  It is not within me.  It’s not just about their actions, but their love. It is so intense . . . almost tangible.

Prayer for me has always been a struggle.  You see, I understand perfectly well, rationally, that love of God and prayer is about doing and not feeling.  But I’ve struggled with taking that rational understanding deeper; with understanding it at a lever that goes beyond the rational.  I don’t know how to adequately describe what I mean, but I bet most of you have had that moment.  That moment where something happens and something that you’ve always known, always understood and could even explain and that one tiny thing occurs and it takes you understanding to a whole new place.  A place deeper.  I could not find that.

This week, I think I may have gotten there.  I’ve still be praying, but pulling back from trying so hard.  I always get more from reading the teachings of the Saints than prayer.  So, I’ve said short prayers and then turned to my book to continue it.  A couple days after trying this, I heard a little voice say, do what you can.  Don’t give up.  Only give what you can.

We are not all meant to be Roses.

The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.  If all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wild flowers.

~ Saint Therese of Lisieux

I am a simple little wild flower and at least right now, that is what God wants me to be.

Now, I can grow.

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9 thoughts on “I was never meant to be a Rose

  1. You are absolutely not the only one going through this! I feel like I’ve spent the majority of this year especially. Like you (and like my husband likes to remind me) it isn’t about feeling. However, it’s so hard not to miss that feeling! It’s so hard not to interpret the lack of feeling as God being far away, or that you “aren’t praying right”.

    Thanks for sharing. You aren’t alone, and I really appreciate the wisdom that you wrote here.

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  2. I know exactly how you feel, and the struggle that you speak of. I think you’re right, we’ve all been there. I bet even the Saints have been there too.

    I love that quote by St Therese the Little Flower! I’ve just started reading her autobiography (aka, a collection of writings by her that she humbly wrote because someone else told her to), and she’s so very compelling. I’ve read that even great Popes have been brought to tears and to their knees by her humble writings. Which I can totally relate to.

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  3. Exactly. Start small and build up.

    The purpose of prayer is to learn how to exercise your faith consistently which brings peace (Phil 4, Rom 5).

    Faith brings peace, and faith leads to hope which brings joy (Rom 5, Heb 11).

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  4. I am a rose[a] of Sharon,
    a lily of the valleys.
    2 As a lily among brambles,
    so is my love among maidens.
    – Song of Songs 2:1, 2

    Christ is the flower that is beautiful, and yet available to all that would merely step outside of the world of man, into the world of God, and find him.

    The soul that God finds beautiful is the lily among thorns. The humble, common flower made beautiful for enduring and, indeed, thriving in her trials and tribulations.

    Take heart, endure, and embrace what our Lady leads you to in trials as well as in Love.

    As for prayer in general, I have found a great deal of growth from reading ‘Fire Within’ by Thomas DuBay. I’m currently rereading it with Karen. It is a good introduction to Carmalite spiritual growth, of which the Little Flower was a growth from (she was named after Teresa of Avila, a Carmalite, and I believe too the title little flower was from the love of how it is used for the soul in song of songs)

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  5. The best way to improve one’s prayer life? Works. Lack of works means a dead faith, which is lethal to prayer.

    I remember when I first read this in Dubay’s book Happy Are You Poor. I was amazed at how obviously true it is. Prayer is talking with God and His Saints, and it’s impossible to have a productive convo when Jesus wants me to do something. It’s the elephant in the room, like talking to your kid who is partying away at college…the convo will probably not be very productive.

    But it’s all good. Troubled prayer is a gift, a message from God that he wants to get closer. So I then cut back on spending and fast harder. Do more prison ministry or St. Vincent de Paul. Work at soup kitchens. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

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  6. Thank you for this. I struggle similarly. My particular bent is that I love learning and researching so much that… I neglect the more practical and relational aspects. The intellectual side is just so much easier for me, but then, even the great and intellectual church fathers I read stress the importance of prayer and acts and devotions. It’s very frustrating! It’s like I’m more Facebook stalking God, reading and learning more than relating.

    Between mdavid’s comments about works, and seeing SSM’s recent post about the prodigal son, at least I have a starting point to get back to it. But, if I can, I’m going to shamelessly ask if people will offer a prayer or two for me, to help me get the momentum going. XD I know it’s not just me, it’s the Spirit too… but as you say, it’s hard, not having the feeling of God… Even though I know better, it still feels like it’s all on me, that I need to do this, that, be more disciplined, be more holy… I need to go back and reread the Gospels and Romans again… I’m crushing myself under my own expectations, I think. T.T I don’t want to cut myself too much slack and just be a “Churchian”, but I just can’t do it all either. But then, what if that’s just me holding back? What if I just need a little more faith? I don’t know, and I’m so wary of any reassurance, afraid that I’m just rationalizing things when I should know better… Sorry to flood your combox like this. It kind of boiled up, and even though I don’t post much, I feel like I can trust the people who hang out here. I’ve just been exhausted lately.

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