"We need to agree to remain poor and powerless, and this is the difficult part because 'the truly poor in spirit, where can we find them'?"
"The weaker we are, without desires, without virtues, the more suitable we are for the workings of this consuming and transforming Love..."
"My desires for martyrdom are nothing... My desires are a consolation that Jesus grants at times to weak souls like mine"
In this year's novena, our reflections will focus on St. Thérèse's mission to help us love God as she did. Our readings will come from Letter 197, written 17 September 1896 to her sister Marie of the Sacred Heart.
O Consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, descend into my soul and make all in me as an incarnation of the Word
She feels that she has been led into an immense, unbounded desert. And this, for her, is the more delightful, pleasant, and lovely, the deeper, vaster, and more solitary it is.
One recognizes purgative dryness in that “the soul is powerless in spite of all its efforts to meditate and make use of the imagination"
For God’s sake they are able to suffer a little oppression and dryness without yearning to return to those better times
Oh, who can make this counsel of our Savior on self-denial understandable, practicable, and attractive! ... dryness, distaste, and trial. ... the pure spiritual cross and the nakedness of Christ’s poverty of spirit.
She had already known when she moved to her 'Nazareth' that her aim was the 'desert' of Carmel. But she had to await the Lord’s hour.
In dryness and emptiness the soul becomes humble... she longs for instruction in order to reach the right way.
The darkest path is the most secure: "Whoever seeks God and nothing else is not wandering in darkness no matter how dark and poor you think you are."
"This prophet whom God commanded to go forth into the desert... is to be the model of all who withdraw into solitude"
"It always seemed to me that our Lord was keeping something for me in Carmel that I could find only there"