Saint Therese of Lisieux…

…judges Francis’ idea on interpersonal relationships no longer need to seek purity and perfection

  • The Doctor of the Church considered her parents more worthy of heaven than of earth

God gave me a father and a mother more worthy of heaven than of earth. (Saint Therese of Lisieux. Letter to Father Maurice Beliere, July 26, 1897)

  • Louis Martin seemed no longer of this earth

I really did listen attentively, but I must own I looked at Papa more than at the preacher, for I read many things in his face. Sometimes his eyes were filled with tears which he strove in vain to keep back; and as he listened to the eternal truths he seemed no longer of this earth, his soul was absorbed in the thought of another world. Alas! Many long and sorrowful years had to pass before Heaven was to be opened to him, and Our Lord with His Own Divine Hand was to wipe away the bitter tears of His faithful servant. (Saint Therese of Lisieux. Story of a Soul, Ch. II)

  • ‘I had only to look at him to know how the saints pray’

Later on we went upstairs for night prayers, and there again my place was beside my beloved Father, and I had only to look at him to know how the Saints pray. (Saint Therese of Lisieux. Story of a Soul, Ch. II)

  • A home filled with the ‘odor of purity’

He allowed her (Saint Therese of Lisieux) to grow in holy soil enriched with the odour of purity. (Saint Therese of Lisieux. Story of a Soul, Ch. I)

…judges Francis’ idea on Grace

  • The Doctor of the Little Way recognized having received very special graces

We can say, without any boasting, that we have received very special graces and lights; we stand in the truth and see things in their proper light. (Saint Therese of Lisieux: Her last conversations, May 9, The yellow Notebook – may1897)

…judges Francis’ idea on human suffering

  • Holiness consists in suffering everything

Holiness does not consist in saying beautiful things, it does not even consist in thinking them, in feeling them! … It consists in suffering and in suffering everything. ‘Holiness! It has to be conquered at the point of the sword, one has to suffer… one has to agonize! A day will come when the shadows will disappear, and then there will remain only joy, inebriation. Let us profit from our one moment of suffering!…Let us see only each moment!…A moment is a treasure…one act of love will make us know Jesus better…it will bring us closer to Him during the whole of eternity! (Saint Therese of Lisieux. Letter 89 to Celine)

  • In order to become a Saint one must suffer much

Later on, when the way of perfection was opened out before me, I realised that in order to become a Saint one must suffer much, always seek the most perfect path, and forget oneself. I also understood that there are many degrees of holiness, that each soul is free to respond to the calls of Our Lord, to do much or little for His Love–in a word, to choose amongst the sacrifices He asks. And then also, as in the days of my childhood, I cried out: ‘My God, I choose everything, I will not be a Saint by halves, I am not afraid of suffering for Thee, I only fear one thing, and that is to do my own will. Accept the offering of my will, for I choose all that Thou willest.’ (Saint Therese of Lisieux. Story of a Soul, Manuscript A, Ch. 1)

…judges Francis’ idea on equality as the source of justice and happiness

  • Perfection consists in doing God’s Will, not in aspiring to equality

I often asked myself why God had preferences, why all souls did not receive an equal measure of grace. […] Our Lord has deigned to explain this mystery to me. He showed me the book of nature, and 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 lose its springtide beauty, and the fields would no longer be enamelled with lovely hues. And so it is in the world of souls, Our Lord’s living garden. He has been pleased to create great Saints who may be compared to the lily and the rose, but He has also created lesser ones, who must be content to be daisies or simple violets flowering at His Feet, and whose mission it is to gladden His Divine Eyes when He deigns to look down on them. And the more gladly they do His Will the greater is their perfection (Saint Therese of Lisieux. The Story of a Soul, Manuscript A, Ch. 1)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply