Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Why is Thérèse of the Child Jesus the greatest saint in modern times?

"Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 19: 14)

If we literally analyse the above statement of Jesus in the Gospel, we conclude that children will be in heaven. This tells us that people who have a child-like trust in God as children do with their parents, will enter heaven, or rather heaven will grow in them.

But what makes Thérèse the greatest saint in modern times? She did not perform any miracle in her life. She did not have the stigmata nor was she able to penetrate other people’s hearts. She was not a prophet, nor a teacher. She did not even see people but was a cloistered nun in a simple convent in Lisieux. We, in fact, would not have known anything about her short life had she not written her autobiography on order from her superior.

She was born in 1873 to two pious parents (whose process of beatification has now been approved by Benedict XVI this past August). She was the 9th and youngest child of Louis and Zelie-Gerin Martin, therefore, the most spoiled of their children. Her father used to call her affectionately “My queen”. She was walking with him one night and saw the stars making the letter T in the sky. Amazed she told her dad “Look, my name is written in heaven!” Her mother died of breast cancer when she was only 4. Her father had a stroke and died when she was only 15. Thérèse grew in the atmosphere of a religious family: all her sisters, like her, became nuns. This shows the example of the parents in bringing up their children. They respected their children and loved them. They recognized their dignity and joyfully carried them to become what they wanted to be.

Now little Thérèse was very sensitive – after her mother’s death she adopted her sister Pauline as her second mother. Thérèse wanted to be happy. When as a child she was asked to choose one toy from a basket of toys, she grasped them all. She claims to have been miraculously cured from illness when the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary seemed to smile to her. However, her change from “mine” to “yours” came about when she had an inner conversion experience on Christmas eve when she was almost 14 years old.

Her desire to be with Jesus grew and became an exploding love which led her to plead with Pope Leo XIII to enter the Carmelite order at the early age of 15. Approved on an exceptional basis she was admitted. Here started her “little way”  - doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way. She wanted to be a saint but saw that she could not imitate the great saints who fought the spiritual wars and “earned” their merits with great deeds. For her, it was enough to do one’s little job but only do it with confidence in God’s merciful love. Thérèse practiced this way to the end. A happy girl, confident in God’s love, finding satisfaction in reading the Bible since she did not understand the great teachers, and doing her daily duties with care, she grew in carrying the cross of Christ.  Her doubts of the existence of God and her physical illness did not prevent her from growing in faith, hope and love. She died of tuberculosis at the early age of 24. Her last word was “My God, I love you!”

We know now from history that Pope Benedict XV in 1922 had to break the rule that no cause for sainthood could be considered for at least 50 years after her/his death. She was beatified in 1923 and canonized in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. In 1997, on the occasion of the centenary of her death, Pope John Paul the Great, who himself was one of the most learned popes, made her Doctor (i.e. Teacher) of the Church.

The reason was simple: She was simple. She attracted many people to her “Little Way” to sainthood. When her book was published a few years after her death, it became a phenomenal best seller among ordinary lay people. Her popularity became world-wide with “showers” of miracles and conversions attributed to her intercession. Many churches have been consecrated to her, and at Lisieux where she lived and died, there is a shrine of her.

She has been, and continues to be, one of the most beloved saints in the history of the Church.

How important is this example for us and our world in this post-modern age where the rule is no rule, love is rather the selfish physical desire, and greed is the driver of souls. 

Thérèse of Lisieux –  Teacher of the World! That is what I think.

George Farahat

Friday, September 5, 2008

Thérèse the "Little Flower of Jesus": The Little Way

My mission - to make God loved - will begin after my death. I will spend my heaven doing good on earth. I will let fall a shower of roses.
Thérèse of the Child Jesus, known as "the greatest saint of modern times." and  Doctor of the Church in tribute to the powerful way her spirituality has influenced people all over the world. 

Thursday, September 4, 2008

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus: The Flower

All the earth with snow is covered,
Everywhere the white frosts reign;
Winter and his gloomy courtiers
Hold their court on earth again.
But for you has bloomed the Flower
Of the fields, Who comes to earth
From the fatherland of heaven,
Where eternal spring has birth.
Near the Rose of Christmas, Sister!
In the lowly grasses hide,
And be like the humble flowerets, --
Of heaven’s King the lowly bride!

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus - Love of LOVE

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 youLoved, 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 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 Virginmy Dear Mother. It is to her I abandon my offering, begging her to present it to You. Her Divine Son, myBeloved Spouse, told us in the says 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 notall-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 LOVEAsking 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, Françoise, Thérèse 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

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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