Thérèse of Lisieux
Thérèse of Lisieux (fr. Thérèse de Lisieux)
Patronage: Missionaries; France; Russia; HIV/AIDS sufferers; florists and gardeners; loss of parents; tuberculosis; the Russicum.
Pius XI confides the Russian people to the protection of St. Therese
We wish therefore, to the best of Our ability, to make an act of reparation for all these sacrilegious acts, and also to invite the faithful of the whole world to make reparation, and so we have resolved, Eminence, on the feast of Saint Joseph, March 19, 1930, to come to Our basilica of Saint Peter and to celebrate there, over the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles, a Mass of expiation, propitiation and reparation for so many criminal offences against the Divine Heart of Jesus, for the salvation of so many souls put to such a hard and painful trial, and also for the relief of Our dear Russian people, so that this long tribulation may finally cease, and peoples and individuals may return as quickly as possible to the one and only flock of Our only Saviour and Liberator, Our Lord Jesus Christ. After having asked His Sacred Heart to grant pardon and take pity on the victims and the murderers themselves, We will implore the holy and Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Her chaste Spouse, Saint Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, the particular protectors of Russia: the holy angels, Saint John the Baptist, Saint John Chrysostom, Saints Cyril and Methodius as well as many other saints and particularly Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, to whom We have especially entrusted the future of these souls.
Daily Offering to God of St. Thérèse
My God, I offer you all that I do today
for the intentions and the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
I want to sanctify every beat of my heart,
my thoughts and my simplest works
by uniting them to his infinite merits.
I want to repair for my faults
by casting them into the furnace of his merciful love.
O my God!
I ask you for myself and for those dear to me
the grace to fulfil perfectly your holy will
and to accept for love of you
the joys and sorrows of this passing life,
so that one day we may be reunited in Heaven for all eternity.
Prayer number 10
in the collected prayers of St. Thérèse
Priests need our prayers
The second thing I learnt had to do with Priests. Up to this time I had not understood the chief aim of the Carmelite Reform. To pray for sinners delighted me; to pray for Priests, whose souls seemed pure as crystal, that indeed astonished me. But in Italy I realised my vocation, and even so long a journey was a small price to pay for such valuable knowledge.
During that month I met with many holy Priests, and yet I saw that even though the sublime dignity of Priesthood raises them higher than the Angels, they are still but weak and imperfect men. And so if holy Priests, whom Our Lord in the Gospel calls the salt of the earth, have need of our prayers, what must we think of the lukewarm? Has not Our Lord said: "If the salt lose its savour wherewith shall it be salted?" (Matt.5:13).
Oh, dear Mother, how beautiful is our vocation! We Carmelites are called to preserve "the salt of the earth." We offer our prayers and sacrifices for the apostles of the Lord; we ourselves ought to be their apostles, while they, by word and example, are preaching the Gospel to our brethren. Have we not a glorious mission to fulfill? But I must say no more, for I feel that on this subject my pen would run on for ever.
Bride of Christ
Eight days after I had taken the veil my cousin, Jeanne Guerin, was married to Dr. La Neele. When she came to see us afterwards and I heard of all the little attentions she lavished on her husband, my heart thrilled and I thought: "It shall never be said that a woman in the world does more for her husband than I do for Jesus, my Beloved." And, filled with fresh ardour, I set myself more earnestly than ever to please my Heavenly Spouse, the King of Kings, Who had deigned to honour me by a divine alliance.
Having seen the letter announcing the marriage, I amused myself by composing the following invitation, which I read to the novices in order to bring home to them what had struck me so forcibly — that the glory of all earthly unions is as nothing compared to the titles of a Spouse of Our Divine Lord.
"God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Sovereign Ruler of the Universe, and the Glorious Virgin Mary, Queen of the Heavenly Court, announce to you the Spiritual Espousals of their August Son, Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, with little Therese Martin, now Princess and Lady of His Kingdoms of the Holy Childhood and the Passion, assigned to her as a dowry, by her Divine Spouse, from which Kingdoms she holds her titles of nobility — of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face.
It was not possible to invite you to the Wedding Feast which took place on the Mountain of Carmel, September 8, 1890 — the Heavenly Court was alone admitted — but you are requested to be present at the Wedding Feast which will take place to-morrow, the day of Eternity, when Jesus, the Son of God, will come in the clouds of Heaven, in the splendour of His Majesty, to judge the living and the dead.
The hour being still uncertain, you are asked to hold yourselves in readiness and watch."
This letter, the style of which may seem strange to English ears, is modelled closely on the formal and quaint letters whereby French parents of the better class announce to their friends the marriage of their children. Such letters of "faire-part" are issued in the name of relatives to the third or fourth degree.
Happy Victim to Christs's Love
In the year 1895 I received the grace to understand, more than ever, how much Jesus desires to be loved. Thinking one day of those who offer themselves as victims to the Justice of God, in order to turn aside the punishment reserved for sinners by taking it upon themselves, I felt this offering to be noble and generous, but was very far from feeling myself drawn to make it. “O my Divine Master,” I cried from the bottom of my heart, “shall Thy Justice alone receive victims of holocaust? Has not Thy Merciful Love also need thereof? On all sides it is ignored, rejected … the hearts on which Thou wouldst lavish it turn to creatures, there to seek their happiness in the miserable satisfaction of a moment, instead of casting themselves into Thine Arms, into the unfathomable furnace of Thine Infinite Love.
O my God! must Thy Love which is disdained lie hidden in Thy Heart? Methinks, if Thou shouldst find souls offering themselves as victims of holocaust to Thy Love, Thou wouldst consume them rapidly; Thou wouldst be well pleased to suffer the flames of infinite tenderness to escape that are imprisoned in Thy Heart.
If Thy Justice — which is of earth — must needs be satisfied, how much more must Thy Merciful Love desire to inflame souls, since "Thy mercy reacheth even to the Heavens" (cf. Psalm 35:5). O Jesus! Let me be that happy victim — consume Thy holocaust with the Fire of Divine Love!”
An Act of Oblation as a Victim of Divine LoveThis Prayer was found after the death of Sister Teresa of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face in the copy of the Gospels which she carried night and day close to her heart.
O my God, O Most Blessed Trinity, I desire to love Thee and to make Thee loved — to labour for the glory of Holy Church by saving souls here upon earth and by delivering those suffering in Purgatory. I desire to fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will, and to reach the degree of glory Thou hast prepared for me in Thy Kingdom. In a word, I wish to be holy, but, knowing how helpless I am, I beseech Thee, my God, to be Thyself my holiness.
Since Thou hast loved me so much as to give me Thy Only-Begotten Son to be my Saviour and my Spouse, the infinite treasures of His merits are mine. Gladly do I offer them to Thee, and I beg of Thee to behold me only through the Eyes of Jesus, and in His Heart aflame with love. Moreover, I offer Thee all the merits of the Saints both of Heaven and of earth, together with their acts of love, and those of the holy Angels. Lastly, I offer Thee, O Blessed Trinity, the love and the merits of the Blessed Virgin, my dearest Mother — to her I commit this Oblation, praying her to present it to Thee.
During the days of His life on earth her Divine Son, my sweet Spouse, spake these words: "If you ask the Father anything in My Name, He will give it you (John 16:23). Therefore I am certain Thou wilt fulfill my longing. O my God, I know that the more Thou wishest to bestow, the more Thou dost make us desire. In my heart I feel boundless desires, and I confidently beseech Thee to take possession of my soul. I cannot receive Thee in Holy Communion as often as I should wish; but, O Lord, art Thou not all-powerful? Abide in me as Thou dost in the Tabernacle — never abandon Thy Little Victim. I long to console Thee for ungrateful sinners, and I implore Thee to take from me all liberty to sin. If through weakness I should chance to fall, may a glance from Thine Eyes straightway cleanse my soul, and consume all my imperfections—as fire transforms all things into itself.
I thank Thee, O my God, for all the graces Thou hast granted me: especially for having purified me in the crucible of suffering. At the Day of Judgment I shall gaze on Thee with joy, as Thou bearest Thy sceptre of the Cross. And since Thou hast deigned to give me this precious Cross as my portion, I hope to be like unto Thee in Paradise and to behold the Sacred Wounds of Thy Passion shine on my glorified body.
After earth's exile I trust to possess Thee in the Home of our Father; but I do not seek to lay up treasures in Heaven. I wish to labour for Thy Love alone — with the sole aim of pleasing Thee, of consoling Thy Sacred Heart, and of saving souls who will love Thee through eternity.
When comes the evening of life, I shall stand before Thee with empty hands, because I do not ask Thee, my God, to take account of my works. All our works of justice are blemished in Thine Eyes. I wish therefore to be robed with Thine own Justice, and to receive from Thy Love the everlasting gift of Thyself. I desire no other Throne, no other Crown but Thee, O my Beloved!
In Thy sight time is naught—"one day is a thousand years (Ps. 39:4). Thou canst in a single instant prepare me to appear before Thee.
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In order that my life may be one Act of perfect Love, I offer myself as a Victim of Holocaust to Thy Merciful Love, imploring Thee to consume me unceasingly, and to allow the floods of infinite tenderness gathered up in Thee to overflow into my soul, that so I may become a very martyr of Thy Love, O my God! May this martyrdom, after having prepared me to appear in Thy Presence, free me from this life at the last, and may my soul take its flight — without delay — into the eternal embrace of Thy Merciful Love!
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O my Beloved, I desire at every beat of my heart to renew this Oblation an infinite number of times, "till the shadows retire," (Cant. 4:6) and everlastingly I can tell Thee my love face to face.
“I will spend my Heaven in doing good upon Earth”
I feel that my mission is soon to begin — my mission to make others love God as I love Him … to each souls my little way …
I WILL SPEND MY HEAVEN IN DOING GOOD UPON EARTH.
Nor is this impossible, since from the very heart of the Beatific Vision, the Angels keep watch over us. No, there can be no rest for me until the end of the world. But when the Angel shall have said: 'Time is no more!' then I shall rest, then I shall be able to rejoice, because the number of the elect will be complete."
And what is this little way that you would teach to souls?
IT IS THE WAY OF SPIRITUAL CHILDHOOD, THE WAY OF TRUST AND ABSOLUTE SELF-SURRENDER.
I want to point out to them the means that I have always found so perfectly successful, to tell them that there is but one thing to do here below: we must offer Jesus the flowers of little sacrifices and win Him by a caress. That is how I have won Him, and that is why I shall be made so welcome.