I have been away from blogging for quite some time, and for good reasons. My husband and I made a major move, relocating from Northern California to Southwestern Utah. I had to put 150% of my energy into that. To complicate that adventure I also had to prepare a presentation for the 2015 Lay Carmelite Convocation which was held in Atlanta, GA, last weekend. I have promised myself and others that I would get back to blogging in October.
So, today I’m beginning with a post I originally wrote in 2009 when I was beginning as a blogger. St. Therese is among my favorite saints, so I entrust my blogging endeavors to her. She promised to spend her time in heaven doing good on earth, so I ask her help in doing good when I write my blog posts.
Today I celebrated the feast of St. Therese, one of my favorite holy persons, by attending Mass at the Carmelite Monastery in Georgetown. Fr. Tom Timmons gave a rousing homily about Therese. Also, he blessed long-stemed roses, one of which each of us received. Roses are significant because St. Therese said that she would spend her heaven doing good for those on Earth. Roses are a symbol of the good she does.
St. Therese is very well-know throughout the Catholic Church and the world because of the writings she left. Her very popular autobiography, The Story of a Soul, as well as her letters, poetry, and prayers.
What I love about Therese is her purity of heart. When I meditate on her face as seen in photographs, her integrity shines through her visage, especially her eyes. Her writings reveal a young woman who reached spiritual maturity by trusting totally in God’s merciful love and who wanted with all her heart to respond to God’s love by giving all her love in return.
Therese became one of only three women Doctors of the Catholic Church because of her writings on spiritual childhood, which she called her little way. Her little way can be summarized as doing even the most simple mundane tasks of daily life with love. Her spiritual way, although simple, is not for wimps. It calls for self-denial and putting others interests above one’s own.
Therese contracted tuberculosis and died of it when she was just twenty-four years of age. She died September 30, 1897 and was buried in the Lisieux cemetery. In 1925 she was canonized by Pope Pius XI at St. Peter’s, Rome.
Some people don’t realize that St. Therese had tremendous psychological and physical suffering. She struggled to have faith and died in spiritual darkness. She felt a kinship with sinners. Nevertheless, for Therese love was the paramount value, rather than doctrine or creeds.
There are innumerable books about St. Therese. I recommend her autobiography as the place to begin to know her. Then I would recommend her letters, and books about her.
Today is also the one year anniversary of my retirement, and I feel blessed that it is on this holy day. I think St. Therese will be a wonderful companion on the next leg of my journey.
Quotation of SAINT THERESE OF LISIEUX: From Story of a Soul:
Offering of myself
as a Victim of Holocaust
to God’s Merciful Love
O My God! Most Blessed Trinity, I desire to Love You and make You Loved, to work for the glory of Holy Church by saving souls on earth and liberating those suffering in purgatory. I desire to accomplish Your will perfectly and to reach the degree of glory You have prepared for me in Your Kingdom. I desire, in a word, to be a saint, but I feel my helplessness and I beg You, O my God! to be Yourself my Sanctity!
Since You loved me so much as to give me Your only Son as my Savior and my Spouse, the infinite treasures of His merits are mine. I offer them to You with gladness, begging You to look upon me only in the Face of Jesus and in His heart burning with Love.
I offer You, too, all the merits of the saints (in heaven and on earth), their acts of Love, and those of the holy angels. Finally, I offer You, O Blessed Trinity! the Love and merits of the Blessed Virgin, my dear Mother. It is to her I abandon my offering, begging her to present it to You. Her Divine Son, my Beloved Spouse, told us in the days of His mortal life: “Whatsoever you ask the Father in my name he will give it to you!” I am certain, then, that You will grant my desires; I know, O my God! that the more You want to give, the more You make us desire. I feel in my heart immense desires and it is with confidence I ask You to come and take possession of my soul. Ah! I cannot receive Holy Communion as often as I desire, but, Lord, are You not all-powerful?Remain in me as in a tabernacle and never separate Yourself from Your little victim.
I want to console You for the ingratitude of the wicked, and I beg of You to take away my freedom to displease You. If through weakness I sometimes fall, may Your Divine Glance cleanse my soul immediately, consuming all my imperfections like the fire that transforms everything into itself.
I thank You, O my God! for all the graces You have granted me, especially the grace of making me pass through the crucible of suffering. It is with joy I shall contemplate You on the Last Day carrying the sceptre of Your Cross. Since You deigned to give me a share in this very precious Cross, I hope in heaven to resemble You and to see shining in my glorified body the sacred stigmata of Your Passion.
After earth’s Exile, I hope to go and enjoy You in the Fatherland, but I do not want to lay up merits for heaven. I want to work for Your Love alone with the one purpose of pleasing You, consoling Your Sacred Heart, and saving souls who will love You eternally.
In the evening of this life, I shall appear before You with empty hands, for I do not ask You, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is stained in Your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in Your own Justice and to receive from Your Love the eternal possession of Yourself. I want no other Throne, no other Crown but You, my Beloved!
Time is nothing in Your eyes, and a single day is like a thousand years. You can, then, in one instant prepare me to appear before You.
In order to live in one single act of perfect Love, I OFFER MYSELF AS A VICTIM OF HOLOCAUST TO YOUR MERCIFUL LOVE, asking You to consume me incessantly, allowing the waves of infinite tenderness shut up within You to overflow into my soul, and that thus I may become a martyr of Your Love, O my God!
May this martyrdom, after having prepared me to appear before You, finally cause me to die and may my soul take its flight without any delay into the eternal embrace of Your Merciful Love.
I want, O my Beloved, at each beat of my heart to renew this offering to You an infinite number of times, until the shadows having disappeared I may be able to tell You of my Love in an Eternal Face to Face!
Marie, Francoise, Therese of the Child Jesus
and the Holy Face, unworthy Carmelite religious.
This 9th day of June,
Feast of the Most Holy Trinity,
In the year of grace, 1895.
FYI:Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin were beatified as a couple on October 19, 2008. Pope Francis is expected to canonize Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, during the world Synod of Bishops on the family in October, 2015.
Photo above: The young Carmelite, Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.