Thoughts of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus

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Thérèse Martinof Lisieux

Thoughts of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus

e-artnow, 2021

Contact: info@e-artnow.org

EAN 4066338119117

Table of Contents

LOVE OF GOD

LOVE OF OUR NEIGHBOUR

FAITH

HOPE

HUMILITY

DETACHMENT

MORTIFICATION

OBEDIENCE

POVERTY

CONFIDENCE

SELF-ABANDONMENT

GRATITUDE

ZEAL

SIMPLICITY

PRAYER

HOLY COMMUNION

SUFFERING [1]

THE DIRECTION OF SOULS

THE BLESSED VIRGIN

VARIOUS SUBJECTS

PRAYER FOR THE BEATIFICATION OF THE SERVANT OF GOD

LOVE OF GOD

Table of Contents

JESUS! . . . I would so love Him! Love Him as never yet He has been loved. . .

IV LETTER TO MÈRE AGNÈS DE JÉSUS

(Her sister Pauline.)

THE science of love! Sweet is the echo of that word to the ear of my soul. I desire no other science. Having given all my substance for it, like the spouse in the Canticles, I think that I have given nothing. [1]

HISTOIRE D'UNE AME, CH. VIII

WITHOUT love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing.

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. VIII

ONE evening, at a loss for words to tell Jesus how I loved Him and how much I wished that He might be everywhere served and glorified, I reflected with pain that not one act of love would ever mount upwards from out of the depths of hell. Then I cried out that willingly would I consent to see myself plunged into that place of torment and blasphemy, in order that He might be loved there eternally. That could not really glorify Him since He desires only our happiness, but love makes one want to say a thousand foolish things. If I spoke thus, it was not that I did not long for heaven; but then, my heaven was none other than Love, and in my fervour I felt that nothing could separate me from the Divine object of my love. . .

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. V

SEEING the eternal recompense so disproportionate to the trifling sacrifices of this life, I longed to love Jesus, to love Him ardently, to give Him a thousand proofs of tenderness while yet I could do so. . .

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. V

THE love of God reveals itself in the very simplest soul who resists His grace in nothing, as well as in the most sublime. Indeed, the characteristic of love being to humble itself, if all souls resembled those of the holy Doctors who have enlightened the Church, the good God would not seem to descend low enough in coming to them. But He has created the infant who knows nothing and can only wail; He has created the poor savage who has but the natural law for guidance, and it is even unto their hearts that He deigns to stoop.

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. I

IN order that Love may be fully satisfied it must needs stoop to very nothingness and transform that nothing into fire.

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. XI

IN times of aridity when I am incapable of praying, of practising virtue, I seek little opportunities, mere trifles, to give pleasure to Jesus; for instance a smile, a pleasant word when inclined to be silent and to show weariness. If I find no opportunities, I at least tell Him again and again that I love Him; that is not difficult and it keeps alive the fire in my heart. Even though this fire of love might seem to me extinct I would still throw little straws upon the embers and I am certain it would rekindle.

XVI LETTER TO HER SISTER CÉLINE

ON the day of my conversion Charity entered into my heart and with it a yearning to forget self always; thenceforward I was happy.

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. V

I DO not will that creatures should possess a single atom of my love; I wish to give all to Jesus, since He makes me understand that He alone is perfect happiness. All shall be for Him, all! And even when I have nothing to offer Him I will give Him that nothing.

II LETTER TO MÈRE AGNÈS DE JÉSUS

OUR Lord is more tender than a mother, and well do I know more than one maternal heart! I know a mother is ever ready to forgive the little involuntary failings of her child.

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. VIII

I KNOW of one means only by which to attain to perfection: LOVE. Let us love, since our heart is made for nothing else. Sometimes I seek another word to express Love, but in this land of exile the word which begins and ends [2] is quite incapable of rendering the vibrations of the soul; we must then adhere to this simple and only word: TO LOVE.

But on whom shall our poor heart lavish its love? Who shall be found that is great enough to be the recipient of its treasures? Will a human being know how to comprehend them, and above all will he be able to repay? There exists but one Being capable of comprehending love; it is Jesus; He alone can give us back infinitely more than we shall ever give to Him.

LETTER TO HER COUSIN MARIE GUÉRIN

THERE is one ONLY THING to do here below: to love Jesus, to win souls for Him so that He may be loved. Let us seize with jealous care every least opportunity of self-sacrifice. Let us refuse Him nothing—He does so want our love!

VI LETTER TO HER SISTER CÉLINE

WHEN we really love, we rejoice in the happiness of the loved one and make every sacrifice to procure it for him.

COUNSELS AND REMINISCENCES

TRUE love is nourished by sacrifice, and the more the soul denies itself natural satisfactions, the stronger and the more disinterested becomes its tenderness.

COUNSELS AND REMINISCENCES

THE good God does not need years to accomplish His work of love in a soul; one ray from His Heart can, in an instant, make His flower bloom for eternity. . .

VI LETTER TO HER SISTER CÉLINE

LOVE can supply for length of years. Jesus, because He is Eternal, regards not the time but only the love.

V LETTER TO MÈRE AGNÈS DE JÉSUS

I DESIRE no sensible consolation in loving; provided Jesus feel my love that is enough for me. Oh! to love Him and to make Him loved . . . how sweet it is. . .

V LETTER TO MÈRE AGNÈS DE JÉSUS

O JESUS, I ask of Thee only Peace! . . . Peace, and above all LOVE—love without bound or limit. Jesus, let me for Thy sake die a martyr; give me martyrdom of soul or body. Ah! rather give me both the one and the other!

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. VIII

I HAVE no longer any desire unless it be to love Jesus even to folly! Yes, LOVE it is that draws me. I can say these words of the canticle of our Father, St. John of the Cross:

In the inmost cellar

Of my Beloved have I drunk; and when I went forth

Over all the plain

I knew nothing,

And lost the flock I followed before.

My soul is occupied

And all my substance in His service;

Now I guard no flock,

Nor have I any other employment:

My sole occupation is love.

(Spiritual Canticle, Trans. D. Lewis.)

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. VIII

OH! if souls weak and imperfect as mine, felt what I feel, not one would despair of reaching the summit of the mountain of Love, since Jesus does not demand from us great deeds, but only self-surrender and gratitude.

I have no need, saith He, of the goats of thy flocks . . . If I were hungry I would not tell thee . . . Offer unto God the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. [3]

See then, all that Jesus asks of us! He has not need of our works but only of our love. This very God who declares that He needs not to tell us if He were hungry, did not hesitate to beg of the Samaritan woman a little water . . . He thirsted!!! But in saying: "Give me to drink," [4] it was the love of His poor creature that the Creator of the universe besought. He thirsted for Love!

 

And now, more than ever is Jesus athirst. He meets with none but the ungrateful and the indifferent among the disciples of the world; and amongst His own disciples He finds, alas! very few hearts that surrender themselves without any reserve to the tenderness of His infinite Love.

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. XI

Since ever I have known Love's mighty power

Thus hath it wrought its work within my soul—

Whate'er it findeth there, or good or ill,

It turneth all to gain; its living flame

Transforms my soul into its very self. [5]

HOW sweet is the way of Love! True, one may fall, one may not be always faithful, but Love, knowing how to draw profit from all, very quickly consumes whatsoever may displease Jesus, leaving naught but humble and profound peace in the innermost soul.

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. VIII

THINKING one day of those who offer themselves as victims to the Justice of God in order to turn aside the punishment reserved for sinners by taking it upon themselves, I felt this offering to be noble and generous, but I was far from feeling moved to make it.

"O my Divine Master," I cried in the depths of my heart, "shall Thy Justice alone receive victims of holocaust? Has not Thy Merciful Love also need of them? On all sides it is ignored, rejected . . . the hearts on which Thou wouldst lavish it turn to creatures, seeking happiness in miserable and fleeting affections instead of casting themselves into Thine arms, into the ineffable furnace of Thine Infinite Love.

"O my God, must Thy Love—disdained—remain within Thy Heart? Methinks that if Thou shouldst find souls offering themselves as victims of holocaust to Thy Love, Thou wouldst consume them rapidly; that Thou wouldst be glad not to restrict the flames of infinite tenderness pent up within Thee.

"If Thy Justice—the Justice which Thou dost exercise on earth—be pleased to find voluntary victims on which to discharge its weight, how much the more must Thy Merciful Love also desire its victims, since Thy Mercy reacheth even to heaven. [6]

"O Jesus, that happily I may be that holocaust consume Thy little victim in the fire of Divine Love."

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. VIII

AH! since that day love penetrates me and surrounds me; this Merciful Love each moment renews and purifies me, leaving in my heart no trace of sin. No, I cannot fear Purgatory; I know that I do not merit even to enter with the Holy Souls into that place of expiation, but I know too that the fire of Love is more sanctifying than the fire of Purgatory, I know that Jesus cannot will needless suffering for us, and that He would not inspire me with the desires I feel if He were unwilling to fulfil them.

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. VIII

TO offer oneself as a Victim to Divine Love is not to offer oneself to sweetness—to consolation; but to every anguish, every bitterness, for Love lives only by sacrifice; and the more a soul wills to be surrendered to Love, the more must she be surrendered to suffering.

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. XII

IN order to love Jesus, to be His victim of love, the more weak and miserable we are, the more fitting are we for the operations of this consuming and transforming Love . . . The sole desire to be victim suffices; but we must consent to remain always poor and without strength, and there lies the difficulty, for where shall be found the truly poor in spirit? He must be sought afar off, [7] saith the author of the Imitation . . . He did not say that we must seek him amongst great souls, but afar off, that is to say in lowliness, in nothingness . . . Oh! let us keep afar off from all that glitters, let us love our littleness, and be satisfied to feel nothing, then shall we be truly poor in spirit, and Jesus will come to seek us how far soever we may be; He will transform us into flames of Love! . . .

VI LETTER TO SŒUR MARIE DU SACRÉ-CŒUR

(Her sister Marie.)

TO be truly a Victim of Love requires absolute self-surrender. The soul is consumed by Love only in so far as she surrenders herself to Love.

COUNSELS AND REMINISCENCES

IT appears to me that for Victims of Love there will be no judgment, but rather, that the good God will hasten to recompense with eternal delights His own Love, which He will see burning in their hearts.

COUNSELS AND REMINISCENCES

AT any cost I will cull the palm of Saint Agnes; if not by shedding my blood then it must be by Love. . .

IV LETTER TO MÈRE AGNÈS DE JÉSUS

O MY God, Thou knowest I have never desired but to love Thee alone. I seek no other glory. Thy Love has gone before me from my childhood, it has grown with my growth, and now it is an abyss the depths of which I cannot fathom.

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. XI

LOVE attracts love, mine rushes forth unto Thee, it would fain fill up the abyss which attracts it; but alas! it is not even as one drop of dew lost in the Ocean. To love Thee as Thou lovest me I must borrow Thy very love—then only, can I find rest.

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. XI

JUST as a torrent sweeps along with it unto the depths of the sea whatsoever it encounters on its course, even so, my Jesus, does the soul which plunges into the boundless ocean of Thy Love draw after her all her treasures. Lord, Thou knowest that for me these treasures are the souls it has pleased Thee to unite to mine.

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. XI

CHARITY gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church being a body composed of different members, the most essential, the most noble of all the organs would not be wanting to her; I understood that the Church has a heart and that this heart is burning with love; that it is love alone which makes the members work, that if love were to die away apostles would no longer preach the Gospel, martyrs would refuse to shed their blood. I understood that love comprises all vocations, that love is everything, that it embraces all times and all places because it is eternal!

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. XI

O MY Well-Beloved! I understand to what combats Thou hast destined me; it is not on the battle field that I shall fight . . . I am prisoner of Thy Love; freely have I riveted the chain which unites me to Thee and separates me for ever from the world. My sword is LOVE; with it I shall chase the stranger from the kingdom, I shall make Thee to be proclaimed King in the souls of men.

HIST. D'UNE AME, APPENDIX

LOVE! . . . that is what I ask . . . I know but one thing now—to love Thee, O Jesus! Glorious deeds are not for me, I cannot preach the Gospel, shed my blood . . . what does it matter? My brothers toil instead of me, and I, the little child, I keep quite close to the royal throne, I love for those who fight.

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. XI

HOW shall I show my love since love is proved by deeds? Well,—the little child will strew flowers . . . she will embalm the Divine Throne with their fragrance, will sing with silvery voice the canticle of love.

Yes, my Beloved, it is thus that my life's brief day shall be spent before Thee. No other means have I of proving my love than to strew flowers; that is, to let no little sacrifice escape me, not a look, not a word, to avail of the very least actions and do them for Love. I wish to suffer for Love's sake and for Love's sake even to rejoice; thus shall I strew flowers. Not one shall I find without shedding its petals for Thee . . . and then I will sing, I will always sing, even if I must gather my roses in the very midst of thorns—and the longer and sharper the thorns the sweeter shall be my song.

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. XI

SŒUR Thérèse de l'Enfant Jésus often spoke of a well-known toy with which in childhood's days she had amused herself: a kaleidoscope; in form somewhat like a small telescope; on looking through, one sees an endless succession of pretty and many-coloured designs, varying at each turn of the kaleidoscope.

"This toy," she said, "aroused my admiration and I used to wonder what could produce so pleasing a phenomenon; when one day, after serious examination, I saw there were simply a few tiny scraps of paper and of wool cut no matter how, and thrown here and there. I pursued my investigation and discovered three mirrors inside the tube: I had there the key to the problem.

"This was for me the image of a great mystery. As long as our actions, even the least of them, remain within the focus of Love, the Blessed Trinity, which is figured by the three mirrors, reflects them, and endows them with a wondrous beauty. Jesus, looking at us through the little lens, that is to say, as it were through Himself, finds all our actions pleasing to Him. But if we leave the ineffable centre of Love, what will He see? Mere straws . . . actions sullied and nothing worth."

COUNSELS AND REMINISCENCES

THIS little prayer which includes all my desires I ask you to say for me each day:

"Merciful Father, in the name of Thy sweet Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin and of the Saints, I pray Thee that my sister be fired with Thy spirit of love, and that Thou wilt grant her the grace to make Thee greatly loved."

If God should take me soon to Himself, I ask you to continue each day this same prayer, for in Heaven my desire will be the same as upon earth; to love Jesus and to make Him loved.

III LETTER TO HER MISSIONARY "BROTHERS"

SHE was looking at the sky one day when some one remarked to her:

"Very soon you will dwell beyond the blue sky; with what love you contemplate it!"

She merely smiled, but afterwards said to the Mother Prioress:

"Mother, our Sisters little know what I suffer! Looking at the blue sky I was thinking only of the beauty of the material heavens; the other is more and more closed to me . . . I was at first distressed by that remark, then an interior voice answered: 'Yes, through love thou didst look at the heavens. Since thy soul is wholly consecrated to Love, all thy actions, even the most indifferent, bear the impress of this divine seal.' I was instantly consoled."

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. XII

UNTIL two days before her death she wished to be alone at night, however, notwithstanding her entreaties, the Infirmarian used to rise several times to visit her. On one occasion she found our little invalid with hands clasped and eyes raised to Heaven.

"But what are you doing?" she asked; "you should try to sleep."

"I cannot, dear Sister, I suffer too much! then I pray. . ."

"And what do you say to Jesus?"

"I say nothing, I love Him!"

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. XII

A SISTER was speaking to her of the happiness of Heaven: Thérèse interrupted, saying:

"It is not that which attracts me. . ."

"What is it then?"

"Oh! it is LOVE! To love, to be beloved, and to come back to earth to make LOVE loved."

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. XII

LOVE alone have I ever given to the good God, with love He will repay me.

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. XII

ALL that I have written regarding my desire of suffering is most true; oh! I do not repent of having surrendered myself to Love.

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. XII

JESUS! Jesus! if it be so sweet to desire Thy Love, what will it be to possess and to enjoy it for ever!

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. XI

O JESUS! could I but tell all little souls of Thine ineffable condescension! . . . I feel that if it were possible to find one more weak than mine Thou wouldst take delight in showering upon her greater favours still, provided that she abandoned herself with entire confidence to Thine Infinite Mercy.

But why these desires, O my Beloved, to impart the secrets of Thy Love? Is it not Thyself alone Who hast made them known to me and canst Thou not reveal them to others? Yes, I know it and I implore Thee to do so: I beseech Thee to let Thy divine gaze rest upon an immense number of little souls, I beseech Thee to choose in this world a Legion of little victims worthy of Thy Love!

 

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. XI

HER last words—looking at her crucifix:

"OH! . . . I LOVE HIM! . . . MY GOD, I . . . LOVE . . . THEE!!!"

HIST. D'UNE AME, CH. XII

O MY God, Most Blessed Trinity, I desire to love Thee and to make Thee loved, to labour for the glory of Holy Church by saving souls still on earth and by delivering those who suffer in purgatory. I desire to accomplish Thy Will perfectly, and to attain to the degree of glory which Thou hast prepared for me in Thy Kingdom, in one word, I desire to be a saint, but I know that I am powerless, and I implore Thee, O my God, to be Thyself my sanctity.

Since Thou hast so loved me as to give me Thine only Son to be my Saviour and my Spouse, the infinite treasures of His merits are mine, to Thee I offer them with joy, beseeching Thee to see me only as in the Face of Jesus and in His Heart burning with Love.

Again, I offer Thee all the merits of the Saints—in Heaven and on earth—their acts of love and those of the holy Angels; and finally I offer Thee, O Blessed Trinity, the love and the merits of the Holy Virgin, my most dear Mother; it is to her I entrust my oblation, begging her to present it to Thee.

Her Divine Son, my well-beloved Spouse, during His life on earth, told us: "If you ask the Father anything in My Name He will give it to you." [8] I am then certain that Thou wilt hearken to my desires . . . My God, I know it, the more Thou willest to give the more dost Thou make us desire. Immense are the desires that I feel within my heart, and it is with confidence that I call upon Thee to come and take possession of my soul. I cannot receive Thee in Holy Communion as often as I would; but, Lord, art Thou not Almighty? . . . Remain in me as in the Tabernacle—never leave Thy little Victim.

I long to console Thee for the ingratitude of the wicked and I pray Thee take from me the liberty to displease Thee! If through frailty I fall sometimes, may Thy Divine glance purify my soul immediately, consuming every imperfection—like to fire which transforms all things into itself.

I thank Thee, O my God, for all the graces Thou hast bestowed on me, and particularly for making me pass through the crucible of suffering. It is with joy I shall behold Thee on the Last Day bearing Thy sceptre—the Cross; since Thou hast deigned to give me for my portion this most precious Cross, I have hope of resembling Thee in Heaven and seeing the sacred stigmata of Thy Passion shine in my glorified body.

After exile on earth I hope to enjoy the possession of Thee in our eternal Fatherland, but I have no wish to amass merits for Heaven, I will work for Thy Love alone, my sole aim being to give Thee pleasure, to console Thy Sacred Heart, and to save souls who will love Thee for ever.

At the close of life's evening I shall appear before Thee with empty hands, for I ask not, Lord, that Thou wouldst count my works . . . All our justice is tarnished in Thy sight. It is therefore my desire to be clothed with Thine own Justice and to receive from Thy Love the eternal possession of Thyself. I crave no other Throne nor other Crown but Thee, O my Beloved! . . .

In Thy sight time is nothing, one day is as a thousand years. [9] Thou canst in an instant prepare me to appear before Thee.

That I may live in one Act of perfect Love, I OFFER MYSELF AS A VICTIM OF HOLOCAUST TO THY MERCIFUL LOVE, imploring Thee to consume me without ceasing, and to let the tide of infinite tenderness pent up in Thee, overflow into my soul, that so I may become a very martyr of Thy Love, O my God!

May this martyrdom, having first prepared me to appear before Thee, break life's thread at last, and may my soul take its flight, unretarded, into the eternal embrace of Thy Merciful Love.

I desire, O Well-Beloved, at every heart-beat to renew this Oblation an infinite number of times, till the shadows retire [10] and I can tell Thee my love eternally face to face!

[Signed]

MARIE-FRANÇOISE-THÉRÉSE

DE L'ENFANT JÉSUS ET DE LA SAINTE FACE

Rel. Carm. ind.

Feast of The Most Holy Trinity.

The 9th of June in the year of grace, 1895.

[1] Cant., viii, 7.

[2] St. Augustine.

[3] Cf. Ps. xlix, 9, 12, 14.

[4] John, iv, 7.

[5] St. John of the Cross.

[6] Cf. Ps. xxxv, 6.

[7] Cf. Imit., II, xi, 4.

[8] John, xvi, 23.

[9] Cf. Ps. lxxxix, 4.

[10] Cant., iv, 6.