Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Because of Thérèse of Lisieux

I know very little about St. Thérèse. I should hardly be writing about her at all. But she would understand. And she is one of the reasons YIM Catholic.

How could you not adore this picture of her dressed as Joan of Arc for a play staged at her Carmelite convent? To me, it's a sort of Holy two-fer, since I am a big fan of Joan too.

How could you not admire someone whose path to God was "The Little Way," a litany of tiny sacrifices and self-humiliations during her eight years of religious life? We make such "big" efforts—going to Mass, confession, Adoration, saying rosaries, reading the Office, performing service and giving alms . . . Meanwhile, with her tiny, imperceptible gestures of devotion and self-sacrifice, Thérèse became a saint and Doctor of the Church.

How could you not be fascinated by a female Doctor of the Church (there are only three) who would not be known to us at all if she had not written a memoir, Story of a Soul?

I have read her book only once, but my copy is heavily underlined, and several passages stand out. Here are a few small petals from "The Little Flower":

Jesus has made me feel that in obeying simply, I would be pleasing Him.

Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be.

I see that all is vanity and vexation of spirit under the sun, that the
only good is to love God with all one's heart and to be poor in spirit here on earth.

I felt it was far more valuable to speak to God than to speak about Him, for there is so much self-love intermingled with spiritual conversations!

And finally, one for the Catholic women who responded so generously with comments on my post about their seeming happiness:

Ah! poor women, how they are misunderstood! And yet they love God in much larger numbers than men do and during the Passion of Our Lord, women had more courage than the apostles since they braved the insults of the soldiers and dared to dry the adorable Face of Jesus. It is undoubtedly because of this that He allows misunderstanding to be their lot on earth, since He chose it for Himself. In heaven, He will show that His thoughts are not men's thoughts, for then the last will be first.