While reading about Blessed Marie Celine of the Presentation, who died at only nineteen years old, I am reminded of Therese's famous little way in a very profound manner. Little Germain Castang, as she was known before taking the monastic name, suffered great things in stride. Her life, very short in our eyes, was very long for her as day by day she served God in fresh trials. The title of my post, Poverty in Patience, indicates a very significant form of poverty. When little Germain looked forward in her life, she saw no relief. When she considered future joys, she saw only heaven as a distant oasis. This type of poverty is one that causes us to view each day and each moment as one might view a lifetime. Looking at heaven with hopeful eyes, but desiring only to suffer for Christ while on earth.
My current life is a busy one. School, work, prayer, and various pressing responsibilities keep me active and constantly aware of things I need to do. At the same time, there are days of relaxation... and even while I plan my full schedules, I am always moved to allot time for personal rest, reading, writing, prayer, some extra food, and so on. When I consider the life of the convent... where the rule requires the nuns to gather to say the Holy Office seven times a day, work and study in the intermissions, and fast perpetually I sometimes begin to wonder what such a life would be like, with so little freedom. It is then that I realized that the monastic schedule, the monastic rule, is a type of poverty... and one that closely mimics the Little Way that St. Therese so beautifully described. In a way, this lifestyle trades one freedom for another; giving up the freedom for frivolous enjoyments for the freedom of spirituality.
When we have patience in our daily activities and do not seek relief from them but, rather, use our very industriousness to give pleasure to God, we are practicing a poverty of freedom through our patience. We are giving our lives to God, and not keeping even our time for ourselves. In this mindset one can reach the greater spiritual treasures of carrying God within the heart, thinking of Him through all things, praying always, persevering in trials happily, expecting no more than what is given, enjoying life simply, offering all actions to God, and thus, through this inner patience, cultivating peace.