Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What I'm Reading: "The Story of a Soul" by St. Therese of Lisieux

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I can't believe I've lived 39 years as a Catholic and have not, until now, read the autobiography of The Little Flower: "The Story of a Soul" by St. Therese of Lisieux.  It is a work of beauty, by a work of beauty, for the One whose work is Beauty.

If you've only heard about Therese's "Little Way" but have not read it in her own words, make this part of your spiritual reading in the near future.

Here are just a few of my favorite excerpts:

"I saw that every flower He has created has a beauty of its own, that the splendor of the rose and the lily's whiteness do not deprive the violet of its scent nor make less ravishing the daisy's charm.  I saw that if every little flower wished to be a rose, Nature would lose her spring adornments, and the fields would be no longer enameled with their varied flowers.  So it is with the world of souls, the living garden of the Lord.  It pleases Him to create great Saints, who may be compared with the lilies or the rose; but He has also created little ones, who must be content to be daisies or violets, nestling at His feet to delight His eyes when He should choose to look at them.  The happier they are to be as He wills, the more perfect they are."

"I am daringly confident that one day I shall become a great Saint.  I am not relying on my own merits, because I haven't any.  I hope in Him, who is Virtue and Sanctity itself; He alone, content with my frail efforts, will lift me up to Himself, clothe me with His own merits and make me a Saint.  I did not realize in those days that one had to go through much suffering to become a Saint."

"My mortification consisted in checking my self-will, keeping back an impatient word, doing little things for those around me without their knowledge and countless things like that."

"The closer we come to God, the more simple we become."

"The more one advances, the further off one sees the goal to be."

"I liken you, Mother, to the more valuable brush which Jesus lovingly takes up when He has in mind some great work upon your children's souls.  I am the very little brush He uses afterwards for minor details."

"Prayer, for me, is simply a raising of the heart, a simple glance towards Heaven, an expression of love and gratitude in the midst of trial, as well as in times of joy; in a word, it is something noble and supernatural expanding my soul and uniting it to God."

"Jesus does not ask for glorious deeds.  He asks only for self-surrender and for gratitude."

"If only I were a priest!  How lovingly I would bear You in my hands, my Jesus, when my voice had brought You down from Heaven.  How lovingly I would give You to souls!  Yet while wanting to be a priest, I admire St. Francis of Assisi and envy his humility, longing to imitate him in refusing this sublime dignity."

"In a transport of ecstatic joy I cried: 'Jesus, my Love, I have at last found my vocation; it is love!  I have found my place in the Church's heart, the place You Yourself have given me, my God, Yes, there in the heart of Mother Church I will be love; so shall I be all things, so shall my dreams come true.'"

"Love proves itself by deed, and how shall I prove mint?  The little child will scatter flowers whose fragrant perfume will surround the royal throne, and in a voice that is silver-toned, she will sin the canticle of love."

And lastly, after having seen her cousin's wedding invitations, St. Therese decided to write an invitation to her own marriage to Christ, her Heavenly Spouse:

The Creator of Heaven & Earth
and Ruler of the World
Queen of the Court of Heaven
Invite you to the Spiritual Marriage of Their August Son
Little Therese Martin, 
now Lady and Princess of the Kingdoms of the Childhood
and Passion of Jesus, given in dowry by her Divine Spouse, 
from whom she holds her titles of nobility:

It was not possible to invite you to the Wedding Feast
celebrated on Mount Carmel on September 8, 1890,
only the Celestial Court being admitted.

You are nevertheless invited to the Bride's RECEPTION
tomorrow, the Day of Eternity, when Jesus, the Son of God, 
will come in splendor on the clouds of Heaven to judge the 
Living and the Dead.

The hour being uncertain, please hold yourself in readiness and watch."

Now, I'm on to "The Life of St. Francis of Assisi" by St. Bonaventure to learn more about this great Saint after whom our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has taken his name.

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