I wondered for a long time why God has preferences, why all souls don’t receive an equal amount of graces. I was surprised when I saw Him shower His extraordinary favors on saints who had offended Him, for instance, St. Paul and St. Augustine, and whom He forced, so to speak, to accept His graces.
When reading the lives of the saints, I was puzzled at seeing how Our Lord was pleased to caress certain ones from the cradle to the grave, allowing no obstacle in their way when coming to Him, helping them with such favors that they were unable to soil the immaculate beauty of their baptismal robe.
I wondered why poor savages died in great numbers without even having heard the name of God pronounced. Jesus deigned to teach me this mystery.
He set before me the book of nature; I understood how all the flowers He has created are beautiful… […]
I understood, too, that Our Lord’s love is revealed as perfectly in the most simple soul who resists His grace in nothing as in the most excellent soul; in fact, since the nature of love is to humble oneself if all souls resembled those of the holy Doctors who illumined the Church with the clarity of their teachings, it seems God would not descend so low when coming to their heart.
But He created the child who knows only how to make his feeble cries heard; He has created the poor savage who has nothing but the natural law to guide him. It is to their hearts that God deigns to lower Himself.
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Manuscript A, 2r–3r (excerpts)
“The nature of love is to humble oneself” (Ms A, 2v): immediately, Thérèse gathers here many of her great themes, and this becomes one of the essential “gestures”, images of love, of divine grace, which recur twenty-four times in her writings.
A couple of times in the text Thérèse speaks of God’s preferences. How can we use this to discover all of “those favored by God”?
Discalced Carmelite Friars, Paris Province
Reflection courtesy of the Discalced Carmelite General Curia, which is drawn from their anniversary study plan, Reading of the writings of Thérèse of the Child Jesus.
We always refer to the website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux for the vast majority of our quotes concerning Saint Thérèse, Saint Zélie, and Saint Louis Martin, but if you would like to purchase any of the English translations that appear on the Archives website, please visit the website of our Discalced Carmelite friars at ICS Publications.