Saturday, September 25, 2010

Feast of St. Therese Of Lisieux, France- October 1st

"I will spend my Heaven in doing good upon earth."

What a tremendous gift we have in St. Therese of Lisieux, a stellar example of God’s love in action through His Creation. She is a powerful example of how much God values each and every one of us, and has a place in salvation history for every one of us, no exceptions.

What a holy family she had! Her parents had considered entering into religious life, but it was through their vocation to marriage that the world would come to know of the Martin Family. When her father Louis met her mother Azelie (Zelie) he was a thirty-four year old watchmaker, and she was a successful businesswoman making Alencon lace. They married in 1858, and were very devoted to the Eucharist. Therese was one of nine children. Two brothers and a sister died in infancy, and her sister Helene died at the age of five.

The Martins lived an exemplary Catholic life. Therese's mother was a Third Order Franciscan, and her aunt, Sr. Marie-Dosithee (Zelie’s older sister), was a Visitandine sister. Therese and her four surviving sisters all entered into religious life. Four (including St. Therese, the youngest) entered Carmel at Lisieux, and one entered the Visitation Convent at Caen.
In honor of her very special feast day, some of the writings of St. Therese follow in purple, and prayers for her intercession are in red.

“He wants me to love Him because He has forgiven me, not much, but everything. He did not wait for me to love Him with a great love, like Magdalene’s, but made me see that He had loved me first, with an infinite providence, so that now I may love Him in return even unto folly.” 1

Miraculous Prayer To The Little Flower

O Little Flower of Jesus,
ever consoling troubled souls with heavenly graces,
in your unfailing intercession I place my confident trust.
From the heart of our divine Savior,
petition the blessings of which I stand in greatest need
(Here mention your intention).
Shower upon me your promised roses of virtue and grace,
Dear St. Therese,
so that swiftly advancing in sanctity and perfect love of neighbor,
I may someday receive the crown of life eternal.

“I have received countless graces this year, but the one I value most is the one of understanding the precept of charity in all its fullness. I had never fully understood before what Our Lord meant when He said: “The second commandment is like to the first. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matt. 22:39). I had concentrated on loving God, but in loving Him, I came to realize the meaning of those other words of His: “Not everyone that saith to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that doth the will of My Father” (CF. Matt. 7:21)

“Now Jesus made known to me His Will at the Last Supper, when He gave His Apostles His New Commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34). I set to work to discover how Jesus had loved them. I found that He had not loved them for their natural qualitities, for they were ignorant and take up with earthly things, yet He called them His friends (John 15:15) and His brothers (John 20:17) and wanted to have them with Him in His Father’s Kingdom; He was ready to die on the Cross to make this possible, saying: “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13).

“Meditating on these divine words, I saw only too well how very imperfect was my love for my Sisters; I did not really love them as Jesus loves them. I see now that true charity consists in bearing with the faults of those about us, never being surprised at their weaknesses, but edified at the least sign of virtue. I see above all that charity must not remain hidden in the bottom of our hearts, for “no man lighteth a candle and putteth it in a hidden place, nor under a bushel; but upon a candlestick, that they who come in may see the light.” (Luke 11:33). It seems to me that this candle is the symbol of charity; it must shine out not only to cheer those we love best, but ALL those who are of the household.” 2

Act of Oblation as Victim to God's Merciful Love
(Composed by St. Thérèse)

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,
so that I may become a very martyr to 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 my soul take flight --
without delay --
into eternal embrace of Thy Merciful Love.
O my Beloved!
I desire at every beat of my heart
to renew this oblation an infinite number of times,
'till the shadows retire,' and everlastingly
I can tell Thee my love face to face.

“How much benefit have I received from the beauties of nature, bestowed in such abundance. How they raise me to Him who placed such wonders in this land of exile which is only to last a day.” 3

“Thou knowest well that my own martyrdom is thy love, oh Sacred Heart of Jesus.” 4

Prayer to St. Therese

O Little Flower of Jesus,
you have shown yourself so powerful in your intercession,
so tender and compassionate toward those
who honor you and invoke you in suffering and distress,
that I kneel at your feet with perfect confidence
and beseech you most humbly and earnestly
to take me under your protection in my present necessity
and to obtain for me this favor I ask
(mention your request).
Recommend my request to Mary,
the merciful Queen of Heaven,
that she may plead my cause with you
before the throne of Jesus, her divine Son.
Cease not to intercede for me until my request is granted.
St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, pray for us.

~~ from "Prayers for Today,"
published by Leaflet Missal Co. For Healing

"Oh Jesus, I beg Thee only for Thy peace, for peace, and especially for love, without limits and without bounds. Would, O my Jesus, that for Thy love I could be a martyr! Oh, give me martyrdom of soul or martyrdom of body, or rather, give me both!" 5

Dearest St. Therese,
you are the Little Flower of Jesus.
Pray this day that I may be
made well in body, mind, and spirit.
Help me to always see, as you so clearly did,
that my sufferings and trials are meant
to cleanse and purify me so that I may be
more worthy to receive God's unending Love.

St. Therese Prayer for Vocations
St. Therese, Little Flower,
you are "love in the heart of the Church."
You dedicated your life as a Carmelite Nun
for good Priests to serve God's people.
From your privileged place in God's Heart,
I ask you to stir up responsive hearts in young men
to follow Jesus as good and holy priests and religious.
Bless our Church with loyal servants of the Gospel.
Renew our Church in love by igniting
the love of the young men Jesus calls.
We need your help, intercession, and intervention today,
Beloved Patron of Priests.

~~ taken from prayer card issued by the Society of the Little Flower

O Little Therese of the Child Jesus,
Please pick a rose for me
From the heavenly gardens
And send it to me
As a message of love.
O little flower of Jesus,
Ask God today to grant the favors
I now place with confidence
In your hands.
(Mention your specific requests)
St. Therese,
help me to always believe,
As you did,
In God's great love for me,
So that I might imitate your"Little Way" each day.

God is at work in St. Therese of Lisieux.

God is also at work in you!

Today's blog is dedicated to Mary J. Jeffers and Nancy Carabio Belanger, friends of St. Therese and also friends of mine.
1. The Story Of A Soul: The Autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1997), p. 57-58.
2. The Story Of A Soul: The Autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1997), p.151-152.
3. Patricia Healy, St. Therese: Her Thoughts for Daily Meditiation, from the booklet Daily thoughts from the Little Flower by Rev. Francis Brooms, C.S.P. (Paulist Press, 1931), p. 32.
4. Patricia Healy, St. Therese: Her Thoughts for Daily Meditiation, from the booklet Daily thoughts from the Little Flower by Rev. Francis Brooms, C.S.P. (Paulist Press, 1931), p. 32.
5. Saint Therese of the Child Jesus (Clyde, MO: Benedictine Convent of Perpetual Adoration, 1958) p. 25.