Saturday, January 23, 2010
The Little Flower
How long could I go without speaking of my dear friend, St. Therese? Our lives and vocations are closely intertwined. She is my patron and one of my mentors... her love of Christ and little way have taught me things that have brought me very close to my Lord.
First I will explain how I know St. Therese. I read about her at a young age... but only identified with her spiritual beauty at the time. When I was in my early teens, however, I went through a very difficult stage of scrupulousness. I was terrified of my sins and thought God did not love me. Do you know that St. Therese went through a stage like this also? I asked her to help me, promising to get a statue of her to venerate if she did, and that statue still sits on my alter today... After that, St. Therese became a key point in my life.
I chose her as my confirmation patron and studied her Little Way deeply in my heart. It was then that I realized all I want in life is to love and give pleasure to Jesus. St. Therese once said "my vocation is love," and I have earnestly adopted this phrase time and again as I discerned my future vocation. St. Therese's humility was pure and perfect... not because she put herself down, but because she looked at herself as a child on which infinite gifts have been bestowed. She loved Jesus with a tender fidelity... and found great pleasure in offering Him the small gift of herself and the gifts of her actions.
St. Therese had a missionary's heart, and this very characteristic of this dear saint is what showed me the central purpose of a nun: to love Jesus and to love the world through Him. If we love the world, and give of ourselves constantly to save it for Jesus, then we are missionaries. Truly, I believe one cannot enter a cloister without the heart of a missionary.
The Little Flower's littleness and beauty are, perhaps, the most precious expression of a lover of Christ. She was always "young"... a child, a daughter, a girl bride, a little flower. It has always been my hope never to grow old and cold in my heart; to have a heart young and vibrant like her's my whole life.
It is this childlike faith of St. Therese that has been my main guide in spirituality. To be strong, to speak, to love, to live through God. To seek no personal ambition, but to seek all great things for God's sake. To accept His gifts as a child accepts them and to love Him simply because He loves. All these traits of St. Therese have made her beloved among saints.
In spite of her littleness... St. Therese showed extreme fortitude and passionate love. During the last years of her life she suffered from what she called "the dark night of the soul." She did not feel God's love, she did not feel Him close, and was tormented by temptations and fear. He was hidden from her. But she still loved Him, and she "waited for Him" loyally. Jesus once said "come follow Me, and take up My Cross, for My Yoke is easy and My Burden light." Surely Therese's sorrows were followed by the sweetest delights of love.... For the deepest love comes from suffering.
Ever a missionary full of love for Jesus and His children, St. Therese is always prepared to lead us to His Love:
O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose 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 specific request)
Saint 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.