St. Therese of Lisieux, commonly known as the “Little Flower,” is well known for her beautiful and simple life as a Carmelite nun. In particular, her profound autobiography, Story of a Soul, continues to capture the hearts of those who read it.
Embedded in her spirituality is a strong devotion to the Child Jesus. Her principal “title” in religious life was “Sister Therese of the Child Jesus” and it formed everything that she did.
Below are a few selections from her writings that can help us in our own spiritual preparations for Christmas, recognizing our own littleness and constant need of Jesus’ gentle mercy.
My First Communion will always be a perfect memory, … [a] wonderful little book … was set out so beautifully and prepared me surely step by step; even though I had been thinking for so long about my First Communion, I had to renew my ardor and fill my heart with freshly gathered flowers. So every day, I made many sacrifices and acts of love, which were transformed into flowers; some were violets and roses, others cornflowers and daisies or forget-me-nots. I wanted all the flowers on earth to cradle Jesus in my heart.For some time now, I had been offering myself to the Child Jesus as His little plaything, telling Him not to treat me as the sort of expensive toy that children only look at, without daring to touch. I wanted Him to treat me like a little ball, so valueless that it can be thrown on the ground, kicked about, pierced and left lying in a corner, or pressed close to His heart if He wants. In other words, I wished only to amuse the Child Jesus and let Him do with me exactly as He liked.I can only offer very little things to God. These little sacrifices bring great peace of soul, but I often let the chance of making them slip by. However, it does not discourage me. I put up with having a little less peace, and try to be more careful the next time.[M]ost of all, I follow the example of Mary Magdalene, my heart captivated by her astonishing, or rather loving audacity, which so won the heart of Jesus. It is not because I have been preserved from mortal sin that I fly to Jesus with such confidence and love; even if I had all the crimes possible on my conscience, I am sure I should lose none of my confidence. Heartbroken with repentance, I would simply throw myself into my Savior’s arms, for I know how much He loves the Prodigal Son.Your arms, My Jesus, are the elevator which will take me up to Heaven. There is no need for me to grow up; on the contrary, I must stay little, and become more and more so.
Therese of Lisieux: Is the Little Flower the most dangerous of saints?
Pope confesses he shares Therese’s weakness, sometimes sleeps in prayer