St. Therese and the Little Way to Know God’s Love

“After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses.” 

-St. Therese of Lisieux

It is the feast of St. Therese, the Little Flower, and she is one of those saints (Padre Pio being another) who loves to do much more than send favors from heaven. She actually prefers to come down personally to deliver the Love of God that is her greatest gift.

So have you collected? Have you cashed in on this feast? Have you been inundated with roses yet? 

In case you haven’t, or if perhaps you simply can’t get your fill of the good, the true, and the beautiful, here for your delectation is a feast of good words from our sister Therese, a veritable shower of truth and wisdom. Since she is a Doctor of the Church, her words carry weight beyond the usual, and as you let them sink into your mind and heart, she would have them replace any old and careworn notions about God that fail to take into account His infinite love, and that He is infinite Love.

  • 1. Jesus does not demand great actions, but simply surrender and gratitude. 
  • 2. He alone disposes the events of our life of exile . . . It is the hand of Jesus that guides everything.
  • 3. I assure you that the good Lord is much kinder than you can imagine. He is satisfied with a glance, with a sigh of love.
  • 4. In spite of all obstacles, God accomplishes what He wills. . . . The work I had been unable to do in ten years was done by Jesus in one instant . . .
  • 5. We can never have too much confidence in the good God who is so mighty and so merciful. We obtain from Him as much as we hope for.
  • 6. God knows our weakness. He remembers that we are but dust. As a father is tender toward his children, so is the Lord compassionate towards us.
  • 7. God is too good, too generous to give His favors meagerly.
  • 8. 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.
  • 9. Jesus will come for us, however far away we may be from Him, and will set us afire with His love.
  • 10. I will spend my heaven in doing good upon earth. Do not the angels take care of us while still enjoying the Beatific Vision?

*   *   *

I love these wise words, but then, too, our sister can be so funny and so very clever! Her cousin in the convent, Sister Marie (Guerin) of the Eucharist, asked the dying Therese to obtain great graces for her once Therese was in heaven. Therese responded: 

“Oh! when I am in heaven, I will do very many things, great things . . . It is impossible that it is not God who has given me this desire; I am sure He will answer me! And also, when I am up there, I will follow you closely!”

To which Marie replied that this would frighten her! But her cousin (our sister) had the perfect answer:

“Does your guardian angel frighten you? He follows you nevertheless, all the time. Well, I will follow you in the same way, and even closer! I won’t let anything pass you.”

One of the things she doesn’t want to “pass us” is her Little Way of Spiritual Childhood, and in particular the little way she teaches us to pray, honestly, directly, and entirely confident in the love of the Blessed Trinity for us. 

Perhaps, for instance, you’ve just been concluding a novena to the Little Flower. How do you possibly remember all the intentions commended to you and the people for whom you have promised to pray. Let’s remember the very easy way Therese has taught us to pray. She knew that if she tried to enumerate every need of those she loved and whom God had entrusted to her, “the days would never be long enough,” and she feared she would forget something important. But she is forever reminding us that Jesus is tenderly solicitous to all our needs, and this is a prime example. She explains: 

“For simple souls there must be no complicated ways; as I am of their number, one morning during my thanksgiving, Jesus gave me a simple means of accomplishing my mission.

“He made me understand these words of the Canticle of Canticles: ‘DRAW ME, WE SHALL RUN after You in the odor of Your ointments.’ O Jesus, it is not even necessary to say: ‘When drawing me, draw the souls whom I love!’ This simple statement: ‘Draw me’ suffices; I understand, Lord, that when a soul allows herself to be captivated by the odor of your ointments, she cannot run alone, all the souls whom she loves follow in her train; this is done without constraint, without effort, it is a natural consequence of her attraction for You. Just as a torrent, throwing itself with impetuosity into the ocean, drags after it everything it encounters in its passage, in the same way, O Jesus, the soul who plunges into the shoreless ocean of Your Love, draws with her all the treasures she possesses.”

And so, with simplicity, gratitude, and joy, we can pray with Therese to our adorable Jesus:

Draw me, we will run!!!

And if you need just one more bouquet of roses, one more explanation of how to relate to God in a way destined to delight His Heart, here are words she said on one of those occasions when she “came down” – in this case to Vietnamese Servant of God Marcel Van in October of 1941. In his Autobiography, Marcel recounts:

“Never fear God. He is the all-loving Father. He knows only how to love, and He wishes to be loved in return. He thirsts for our poor little hearts which come from His creative hands, and where He has placed a spark of love which comes from the very hearth of His Love. His only wish is to gather these sparks of love and unite them to His infinite love, so that our love lives on forever in His. Finally, it is still the force of the attraction of Love which will draw us into the eternal fatherland of Love. Offer all of your little heart to God. Be sincere with Him in all circumstances and in all your points of view. When you feel joy, offer Him that joy which swells your heart and, by so doing, you will transmit your joy to Him. Can there be a greater happiness than a couple loving one another and exchanging all they possess? To act in this way with God is to say thank You to Him, which pleases Him more than thousands of touching canticles. If, on the other hand, you are invaded by sadness, say to Him again with an honest heart: ‘O my God, I am really unhappy!’ And ask Him to help you accept this sadness with patience. Really believe this: nothing gives more pleasure to the good God than to see on this earth a heart which loves Him, who is sincere with Him with each step, with each smile, as well with tears as with little momentary pleasures.”

May your simplicity before God increase, and may Therese’s roses to you be many. May she follow you about and introduce you once and for all to Jesus, her very best friend and yours.

Photo by Stephanie LeBlanc on Unsplash

By

Suzie Andres, a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College and the University of Notre Dame, lives and writes in sunny Southern California. She is the editor of Selected Sermons of Thomas Aquinas McGovern, S.J., and author of Homeschooling with Gentleness, A Little Way of Homeschooling, the Catholic romantic comedy The Paradise Project, and Being Catholic: What Every Catholic Should Know.  Her latest books, Something New with St Thérèse: Her Eucharistic Miracle and Stations of the Cross with Our Sister St. Thérèse, are available in free ebook versions (along with her novel and a Vietnamese-English edition of the Stations, as well as a Spanish-English edition) at amazon.combarnesandnoble.com and on her website, suzieandres.com, where you can also find her blog, “Miss Marcel’s Musings,” and links to her books, online articles, and book lists for all ages.  

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