Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Therese




Here is my friend Yuri's painting of St. Therese of Lisieux whose feast day is today. And here's a little paragraph from my boyhood missal telling us who Therese is:


Mary Frances Teresa Martin was born at Alencon in France on January 2, 1873. She was brought up in a model Christian home, and educated in the Benedictine convent at Lisieux. While still a child she felt the attraction of the cloister, and at fifteen had by persistent entreaties obtained permission to enter the Carmel of Lisieux. She wanted to offer herself in sacrifice for priests and missionaries and the whole Church. She heard God's call to little ones to come to Him and surrendered herself forever with childlike confidence to God's "merciful love". She died on September 30, 1897, at the age of 24, and was canonized in 1925. 

Perhaps the best way to become familiar with Therese, especially the Little Way of living the Gospel, is to read her autobiography, The Story of a Soul. The Ronald Knox translation (French to English) is especially beautiful. 

Therese had an exuberant love for Jesus, often expressed in her writings by the use of the little word "Ah" and repeated exclamation points which one teacher-colleague of mine called surprise marks. Here is perhaps the most lovely and spiritually awake paragraph taken from Therese's journal. 

Then in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: "O Jesus, my Love, at last I have found my vocation, my vocation is Love!... Yes, I have found my place in the Church, and it is you, O my God, who have given me this place... in the heart of the Church, my Mother, I will be Love!... Thus I shall be all things: thus my dream shall be realized!!!"

15 comments:

  1. Thank you Father for sharing your painting with us. Saint Therese beautifully shares her love of God with us through her writings. The Story of a Soul is a wonderful account of her devout life.

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  2. St. Therese, innocent child, full of love, pray for us.

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  3. She has answered me many times... I have seen the sighting of the roses, smelt and rated the roses... I named my first born after her after answering my prayers.... THERESA ROSE!

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  4. Your friend's painting is a beautiful tribute to this woman of the purest heart. What her body lacked in physical strength, her heart made up for in undying love.

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  5. The Little Flower’s petals have fallen onto my path at every major milestone in my life when I’ve begged her for a sign that I was headed in the right direction. When I was in high school and spending time with the wrong people, I decided to set myself straight by giving up on drugs and alcohol. A florist came to the door with three red roses sent by my religion teacher, who knew I was struggling.It solidified my faith that God was present in my life and working through the Saints.

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  6. Yuri's painting of St. Therese is beautiful! I have heard her referred to, as a source of sweet joy. Her autobiography is filled with amazing love for Jesus. One manuscript bore the title of "The Springtime of a Little White Flower." 1895. Always love to hear about Therese.

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  7. I'm told that Therese likely didn't even have access to a complete bible. Still her love for Jesus astounds. We might feel some sadness that we have access to the full Gospels and often don't bother with them. My prayer is: "Therese, lead us as Catholics to discover Jesus at the center."

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  8. St. Therese said "I understood that every flower created by Him is beautiful, that the brilliance of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not lessen the perfume of the violet or the sweet simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all the lowly flowers wished to be roses, nature would no longer be enameled with lovely hues. And so it is in the world of souls, Our lord's living garden.” I keep this quote in mind always. We all have something to offer and are all a work of beauty making contribution to the garden of life.

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  9. Katherine JergensenOctober 1, 2015 at 5:35 PM

    Yuri captures St. Therese's grace. Beautiful and captivating.

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  10. What a wonderful post Father. You present St. Therese exactly as I picture her. Than you for this bonus on Intercession Thursday. St. Therese certainly deserves the mention. You always remember such things.

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  11. That I could be as devoted to loving God, I pray. I know I fall short on so many levels. Are there people who live life with the absolute purest of heart as Therese. It seems next to impossible to me.

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  12. You ask a good question: "Are there people who live life with the absolute purest of heart as Therese?" I've met a few - usually women who take care of others with an amazing, self-forgetting generosity.

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    1. I am glad to hear that you think it is possible. But are they of today's world, or in times past? I find it so hard to imagine this selflessness in modern times. Maybe you could give us examples so that we may try to emulate this Saint better. Or to at least recognize it in others.

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    2. Don't try to live anyone else's life - including the saints. I'm not Therese nor Francis, nor Anthony nor Clare. Nor can I be, nor should I be. Live your own unique life as truthfully and as beautifully as Jesus lived his. That's all.

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  13. The Hebrew ideal of perfection simply means to walk with God, despite our flaws. To be in the divine presence even though we are not perfectly whole, good, true and beautiful. If we try to measure up to our idea of the perfectly holy saint, we find it hard to forgive ourselves for being human, carrying around discouragement and guilt. God does not ask us to be perfect. Only that we share our lives with Him. Your advice is sound Father, live truthfully and beautifully and you will find your way to God.

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