The father of St. Therese constantly prayed this Bible verse and his daughters printed it on his funeral card.
St. Therese of Lisieux learned from the example of her holy parents, Louis and Zelie Martin. They taught the Little Flower how to love Jesus, and nurtured her simple faith.
St. Therese’s sister Celine recalled in the book The Father of the Little Flower how their father would always recite a particular Bible verse.
[M]any times we heard him murmuring, “Ego ero merces tua magna nimis.” His soul was filled with this thought; it was overflowing with it. Then, stressing each syllable he would repeat it in translation: “I am thy reward exceeding great.” We had been so struck by this, that this text, which he had loved so much, was printed as the heading of his mortuary card.
The verse that Louis Martin repeated was from the book of Genesis and is translated in the Douay-Rheims as follows:
Fear not, Abram, I am thy protector, and thy reward exceeding great.Genesis 15:1
The Updated Edition of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSVUE) renders it:
“Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
It is a beautiful verse, one full of hope in God’s protection and promise of eternal happiness.
When looking at his life, we see that Louis experienced great sorrow, such as losing his wife at a young age, and watching four of his children die shortly after birth.
Yet, in the midst of the suffering, Louis had hope in God and was confident in the reward God has in store for those who trust in him.