Click here for the Discerning Hearts Devotional page dedicated to St. Therese
For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.” – St. Therese of of Lisieux
Sometimes words are not full enough to describe someone.
Therese, for me, is a melody.
A melody of grace lofting lyrically around our hearts in prayer;
a sound which invokes joy and sorrow, smiles and tears,
trust, hope and…love.
I’m not a musician, but I know a beautiful song when I hear it.
Her melody is one you wish never would end,
with Therese, “you hear the song”.
Bruce and I had a chance to speak with Brother Joseph Schmidt about St. Therese. He wrote about her in “Everything is Grace”.
MY ONLY OCCUPATION IS LOVE
“I do not desire either suffering or death, although both are appealing to me;
it is love alone which really attracts me…
I can ask for nothing with any enthusiasm
except the perfect accomplishment of the Divine Will in my soul,
unhindered by any intrusion of created things.
I can say, with the words of our father, St. John of the Cross,
in his Spiritual Canticle,
‘I drank in the inner cellar of my Beloved, and when I went forth into the meadow
I forgot everything and lost the flock which I used to drive.
My soul has employed all its resources in His service;
now I guard no flock, nor do I have any other duties.
Now my only occupation is love.’
Or again: ‘I know love is so powerful that it can turn
whatever is good or bad in me into profit,
and it can transform my soul into Himself.”
~ St. Thérèse
A MORNING PRAYER WRITTEN BY ST. THERESE
O my God! I offer Thee all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by uniting them to Its infinite merits; and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of Its Merciful Love.
O my God! I ask of Thee for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the grace to fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will, to accept for love of Thee the joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may one day be united together in heaven for all Eternity.
PRAYER TO ST. THERESE
O little St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, who during your short life on earth became a mirror of angelic purity, of love strong as death, and of wholehearted abandonment to God, now that you rejoice in the reward of your virtues, cast a glance of pity on me as I leave all things in your hands. Make my troubles your own – speak a word for me to our Lady Immaculate, whose flower of special love you were – to that Queen of heaven “who smiled on you at the dawn of life.” Beg her as the Queen of the heart of Jesus to obtain for me by her powerful intercession, the grace I yearn for so ardently at this moment, and that she join with it a blessing that may strengthen me during life. Defend me at the hour of death, and lead me straight on to a happy eternity.
VATICAN CITY, 6 APR 2011 (VIS) – In his general audience in St. Peter’s Square today, attended by more than 10,000 people, Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis to St. Therese of Lisieux, or St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, “who lived in this world for only twenty-four years at the end of the nineteenth century, leading a very simple and hidden life, but who, after her death and the publication of her writings, became one of the best-known and loved saints”.
“Little Therese“, the Pope continued, “never failed to help the most simple souls, the little ones, the poor and the suffering who prayed to her, but also illuminated all the Church with her profound spiritual doctrine, to the point that the Venerable John Paul II, in 1997, granted her the title of Doctor of the Church … and described her as an ‘expert in scientia amoris’. Therese expressed this science, in which all the truth of the faith is revealed in love, in her autobiography ‘The Story of a Soul’, published a year after her death”.
Therese was born in 1873 in Alencon, France. She was the youngest of the nine children of Louis and Zelie Martin, and was beatified in 2008. Her mother died when she was four years old, and Therese later suffered from a serious nervous disorder from which she recovered in 1886 thanks to what she later described as “the smile of the Virgin”. In 1887 she made a pilgrimage to Rome with her father and sister, where she asked Leo XIII for permission to enter Carmel of Lisieux, at just fifteen years of age. Her wish was granted a year later; however, at the same time her father began to suffer from a serious mental illness, which led Therese to the contemplation of the Holy Face of Christ in his Passion. In 1890 she took her vows. 1896 marked the beginning of a period of great physical and spiritual suffering, which accompanied her until her death.
In those moments, “she lived the faith at its most heroic, as the light in the shadows that invade the soul” the Pope said. In this context of suffering, living the greatest love in the littlest things of daily life, the Saint realised her vocation of becoming the love at the heart of the Church”.
She died in the afternoon of 30 September, 1897, uttering the simple words, “My Lord, I love You!”. “These last words are the key to all her doctrine, to her interpretation of the Gospel”, the Pope emphasised. “The act of love, expressed in her final breath, was like the continued breathing of the soul … The words ‘Jesus, I love You’ are at the centre of all her writings”.
St. Therese is “one of the ‘little ones’ of the Gospel who allow themselves to be guided by God, in the depth of His mystery. A guide for all, especially for… theologians. With humility and faith, Therese continually entered the heart of the Scriptures which contain the Mystery of Christ. This reading of the Bible, enriched by the science of love, does not oppose academic science. The ‘science of the saints’, to which she refers on the final page of ‘The Story of a Soul’, is the highest form of science”.