Although ths essay reposted just this past February, I present it today to honor St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, whose very littleness proved great in the eyes of God our Father.
“It is God’s Will that in this world souls shall dispense to each other,
by prayer, the treasures of Heaven”
(Saint Thérèse of Lisieux )
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux has practical advice for us; a welcome remedy for the jarring cacophony of voices clamoring to be heard today. One of the many dangers of this time is that the devil foments discord among us. But Saint Thérèse, the Little Flower of Carmel shows us how to foil satan and turn criticism and other causes of dissension into channels of grace.
The Autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
The Imperfect Soul
“That you should be found imperfect is just what is best. Here is your harvest. . . . Should earthly creatures think you devoid of holiness, they rob you of nothing, and you are none the poorer: it is they who lose. For is there anything more sweet than the inward joy of thinking well of our neighbor? . . .“As for myself I am glad and rejoice, not only when I am looked upon as imperfect, but above all when I feel that it is true. Compliments, on the contrary, do but displease me.” . . . “Honors are always dangerous. What poisonous food is served daily to those in high positions! What deadly fumes of incense! A soul must be well detached from herself to pass unscathed through it all.”
“What if God does make use of me, rather than of another, to procure His Glory! Provided His Kingdom be established among souls, the instrument matters not. Besides, He has no need of anyone. (Note: Least of all, me!)
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“Some time ago I was watching the flicker, almost invisible, of a tiny night-light, when one of the Sisters drew near, and, lighting her candle in the dying flame, passed it round to light all those of the Community. ‘Who dare glory in his own good works?’ I reflected. ‘From one faint spark such as this, it would be possible to set the whole earth on fire.’
“We often think we receive graces and are divinely illumined by means of brilliant candles. But from whence comes their light? From the prayers, perhaps, of some humble, hidden soul, whose inward shining is not apparent to human eyes; a soul of unrecognised virtue and, in her own sight, of little value–a dying flame.”
“What mysteries will yet be unveiled to us! I have often thought that perhaps I owe all the graces with which I am laden, to some little soul whom I shall know only in Heaven.”
“It is God’s Will that in this world souls shall dispense to each other, by prayer, the treasures of Heaven, in order that when they reach their Everlasting Home they may love one another with grateful hearts, and with an affection far in excess of that which reigns in the most perfect family on earth.
“There no looks of indifference will meet us, because all the Saints will be mutually indebted to each other. No envious glances will be cast, for the happiness of each one of the Blessed will be the happiness of all. With the Doctors of the Church we shall be like unto Doctors; with the Martyrs, like unto Martyrs; with the Virgins, like unto Virgins; and just as the members of one family are proud one of the other, so without the least jealousy shall we take pride in our brothers and sisters.
“When we see the glory of the great Saints, and know that through the secret working of Providence we have contributed to it, who knows whether the joy we shall feel will not be as intense, perhaps sweeter, than the happiness they themselves possess? And do you not think that the great Saints, on their side, seeing what they owe to all little souls, will love them with a love beyond compare? The friendships of Paradise will be both sweet and full of surprise, of this I am certain. The familiar friend of an Apostle, or of a great Doctor of the Church, may be a shepherd boy, and a simple little child may be united in closest intimacy with a Patriarch. . . . I long to enter that Kingdom of Love!”
“Believe me, the writing of pious books, the composing of the sublimest poetry, all that does not equal the smallest act of self-denial. When, however, our inability to do good gives us pain, our only resource is to offer up the good works of others, and in this lies the benefit of the Communion of Saints. Recall to mind that beautiful verse of the canticle of our Father, St. John of the Cross:
‘Return, my dove!
See on the height
The wounded Hart,
To whom refreshment brings
The breeze, stirred by thy wings.’
“Thus the Spouse, the wounded Hart, is not attracted by the height, but only by the breeze from the pinions of the dove–a breeze which one single stroke of wing is sufficient to create.”
* * * * * *
“The one thing which is not open to envy is the lowest place. Here alone, therefore, there is neither vanity nor affliction of spirit. Yet, ‘the way of a man is not his own,’ and sometimes we find ourselves wishing for what dazzles. In that hour let us in all humility take our place among the imperfect, and look upon ourselves as little souls who at every instant need to be upheld by the goodness of God. From the moment He sees us fully convinced of our nothingness, and hears us cry out: ‘My foot stumbles, Lord, but Thy Mercy is my strength,’ He reaches out His Hand to us. But, should we attempt great things, even under pretext of zeal, He deserts us. It suffices, therefore, to humble ourselves, to bear with meekness our imperfections. Herein lies – for us – true holiness.”
Tears for God?
One of her novices recalled: “One day, as I was in tears, Soeur Therese told me to avoid the habit of allowing others to see the trifles that worried me, adding that nothing made community life more trying than unevenness of temper. “You are indeed right, I answered, “such was my own thought. Henceforward my tears will be for God alone. I shall confide my worries to One Who will understand and console me.”
“Tears for God!” she promptly replied, “that must not be. Far less to Him than to creatures ought you to show a mournful face. Our Divine Master has only our monasteries where He may obtain some solace for His Heart. He comes to us in search of rest–to forget the unceasing complaints of His friends in the world, who, instead of appreciating the value of the Cross, receive it far more often with moans and tears. Would you then be as the mediocre souls? Frankly, this is not disinterested love. . . . It is for us to console our Lord, and not for Him to console us – His Heart is so tender that if you cry He will dry your tears; but thereafter He will go away sad, since you did not suffer Him to repose tranquilly within you. Our Lord loves the glad of heart, the children that greet Him with a smile. When will you learn to hide your troubles from Him, or to tell Him gaily that you are happy to suffer for Him?”
“The face is the mirror of the soul,” she said once, “and yours, like that of a contented little child, should always be calm and serene. Even when alone, be cheerful, remembering always that you are in the sight of the Angels.”
(Saint Thérèse de Lisieux, The Story of a Soul (L’Histoire d’une Âme): The Autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux . Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.)
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Notice her child-like enthusiasm that even the “littlest” one of us, even someone worthy of nothing but criticism can bring much needed graces into this tired and dejected world, simply by offering each day’s disappointments and set-backs to Our Lord with a spirit of humble reparation,
Readers, please do what you can to spread the message of Our Lady of Fatima! The Consecration of Russia cannot be done until we, the little souls, offer sufficient reparation of prayer and self-denial – we can do these essential things only through total devotion to the Immaculate Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Please pray the Rosary for her Triumph!
Remember – Our Lady needs us to obey: First Saturdays of Reparation, daily rosary, at least 5 mysteries, wear her brown scapular and live your Total Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, offering daily duties in reparation and for the conversion of poor sinners.
Open your hearts to the Lord and serve Him only: and He will free you from the hands of your enemies. With all your heart return to Him, and take away from your midst any strange gods” (I Kings 7:3)
✝︎ Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
✝︎ Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
✝︎ St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
✝︎ St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!