Ste. Thérèse Novena IX

O Queen of martyrs, till the evening of your life
That sorrowful sword will pierce your heart,
Already you must leave your native land
To flee a king’s jealous fury.
Jesus sleeps in peace under the folds of your veil.
Joseph comes begging you to leave at once,
And at once your obedience is revealed.
You leave without delay or reasoning.

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to do good on earth; send your shower of roses in abundance on those who call upon you, and obtain for us from God the graces we are waiting to receive from His infinite goodness.

 

saint-therese-of-lisieux46_1oct97infirmary TWsize
1 Oct 1897 | Photo credit: © Office Central de Lisieux / archives-carmel-lisieux.fr

 

¡Oh, Reina de los mártires, hasta el fin de tu vida
la espada dolorosa traspasará tu pecho !
Habrás de abandonar el suelo de tu patria,
para evitar de un rey el furor traicionero.
En paz duerme Jesús, a quien tu mano abriga,
cuando José te avisa que habéis de partir luego.
Tu obediencia es puntual y enseguida se apresta
y partís sin demora y sin razonamientos.

Santa “Teresita”, recuerda tu promesa de “hacer bien en la tierra” y que enviarías “lluvia de rosas” sobre quienes te invoquen. Obtenme de Dios las gracias que quiero de su infinita bondad. 

 


This text is an excerpt from the poem, Why I Love You, O Mary Read more

Este texto es un extracto del poema Por qué te amo, María Leer más 

1 October: Saint Therese of the Child Jesus

October 1
SAINT THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS
Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Feast

Thérèse Martin was born at Alencon in 1873. At the age of fifteen she entered the Carmel at Lisieux. She practiced heroic humility, evangelical simplicity and trust in God, and taught the novices these virtues by word and example. She offered her life for the salvation of souls and the growth of the Church. She died September 30, 1897.

Invitatory

Ant. The Lord reveals himself to little ones; come, let us worship him.

Invitatory psalm, as in the Ordinary.

Office of Readings

Hymn

Let all who lovingly avow
Those gifts the Christ Child came to share
Acclaim Thérèse’s virtues now
And praise her name in song and prayer.

Her patroness and mother chose
The lofty peaks of Carmel’s height
And there Thérèse in fervor goes
To follow Christ, her one delight.

Inspired by Jesus to convey
Amazing secrets of his grace,
She taught the world the simple way
Of childhood that the Gospels trace.

More like an angel than a child
She gathered virtue’s flowers at will
By whose sweet scent was God beguiled,
Whose tender fragrance charms us still.

Yet joy itself could not portray
The surge of her immense desire
Nor cloister walls have strength to stay
A love that swept the world like fire.

All glory, Jesus, be to you
This day revealed to little ones,
To Father and blest Spirit, too,
While age on age forever runs.

L.M.
Nomen decusque concinant

Ant. 1 Your mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, *
there is nothing I shall want.

Fresh and green are the pastures *
where he gives me repose.

Near restful waters he leads me, *
To revive my drooping spirit.

He guides me along the right path; *
he is true to his name.

If I should walk in the valley of darkness *
no evil would I fear.

You are there with your crook and your staff; *
with these you give me comfort.

You have prepared a banquet for me *
in the sight of my foes.

My head you have anointed with oil; *
my cup is overflowing.

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me *
all the days of my life.

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell *
forever and ever.

Ant. Your mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

Ant. 2 See what love the Father has shown us, to let us be called children of God; yet that is what we are.

Psalm 103

My soul, give thanks to the Lord, *
all my being, bless his holy name.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord *
and never forget all his blessings.

It is he who forgives all your guilt *
who heals every one of your ills,

who redeems your life from the grave, *
who crowns you with love and compassion,

who fills your life with good things, *
renewing your youth like an eagle’s.

The Lord does deeds of justice, *
gives judgment for all who are oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses *
and his deeds to Israel’s sons.

The Lord is compassion and love, *
slow to anger and rich in mercy.

His wrath will come to an end; *
he will not be angry forever.

He does not treat us according to our sins *
nor repay us according to our faults.

For as the heavens are high above the earth *
so strong is his love for those who fear him.

Ant. See what love the Father has shown us, to let us be called children of God; yet that is what we are.

Ant. 3 The Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and believed in me.

As far as the east is from the west *
so far does he remove our sins.

As a father has compassion on his sons, *
the Lord has pity on those who fear him;

for he knows of what we are made, *
he remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass; *
he flowers like the flower of the field;

the wind blows and he is gone *
and his place never sees him again.

But the love of the Lord is everlasting *
upon those who hold him in fear;

his justice reaches out to children’s children +
when they keep his covenant in truth, *
when they keep his will in their mind.

The Lord has set his sway in heaven *
and his kingdom is ruling over all.

Give thanks to the Lord, all his angels, +
mighty in power, fulfilling his word, *
who heed the voice of his word.

Give thanks to the Lord, all his hosts, *
his servants who do his will.

Give thanks to the Lord, all his works, *
in every place where he rules.

My soul, *
give thanks to the Lord!

Ant. The Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and believed in me.

Your word is a lamp for my feet
And a light on my path.

First Reading
From the first letter of the apostle Paul to the Corinthians

I Cor. 12:12, 27-31; 13:1-13

You together are Christ’s body, but each of you is a different part of it

The body is one and has many members, but all the members, many though they are, are one body; and so it is with Christ. You, then, are the body of Christ. Every one of you is a member of it. Furthermore, God has set up in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracle workers, healers, assistants, administrators, and those who speak in tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles or have the gift of healing? Do all speak in tongues, all have the gift of interpretation of tongues? Set your hearts on the greater gifts.

Now I will show you the way which surpasses all the others. If I speak with human tongues and angelic as well, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and, with full knowledge, comprehend all mysteries, if I have faith great enough to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give everything I have to feed the poor and hand over my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous; it does not put on airs; it is not snobbish. Love is never rude; it is not self-seeking; it is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries. Love does not rejoice in what is wrong, but rejoices with the truth. There is no limit to love’s forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure.

Love never fails. Prophecies will cease, tongues will be silent, knowledge will pass away. Our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect. When the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child I used to talk like a child, think like a child, reason like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways aside. Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. My knowledge is imperfect now; then I shall know even as I am known. There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.

Responsory

When I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw all people to myself.

Fragrant is the scent of your perfume; let us follow in your footsteps.
I will draw all people to myself.

Second Reading
From the autobiography of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus

(MS B, f. 3r-3v: ed. J. Clarke 1975, pp. 193-94)

In the heart of the Church I shall be love

My desires caused me a veritable martyrdom, and I opened the Epistles of Saint Paul to find some kind of answer. Chapters Twelve and Thirteen of the First Epistle to the Corinthians fell under my eyes. I read there, in the first of these chapters, that all cannot be apostles, prophets, doctors, etc., that the Church is composed of different members, and that the eye cannot be the hand at one and the same time. The answer was clear, but it did not fulfill my desires and gave me no peace. Without becoming discouraged, I continued my reading, and this sentence consoled me: Yet strive after the better gifts, and I point out to you a yet more excellent way. And the Apostle explains how all the most perfect gifts are nothing without Love. That Charity is the excellent way that leads most surely to God.

I finally had rest. Considering the mystical body of the Church, I had not recognized myself in any of the members described by Saint Paul, or rather I desired to see myself in them all. Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that if the Church had a body composed of different members, the most necessary and most noble of all could not be lacking to it, and so I understood that the Church had a heart and that this heart was burning with love. I understood it was love alone that made the Church’s members act; that if love ever became extinct, apostles would not preach the Gospel and martyrs would not shed their blood. I understood that love comprised all vocations, that love was everything, that it embraced all times and places… in a word, that it was eternal!

Then, in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out, “O Jesus, my Love… my vocation, at last I have found it… My vocation is Love!”

Yes, I have found my place in the Church and it is you, O my God, who have given me this place; in the heart of the Church, my Mother, I shall be love. Thus I shall be everything, and thus my dream will be realized.

Responsory

Joy and gladness fill my heart;
the Lord has been merciful to me.

He has looked with favor on his lowly servant and taken account of my soul’s needs.
the Lord has been merciful to me.

Where the Vigil Office is celebrated:

Canticles (Alternative 1)

Ant. The Lord spread his wings like an eagle; he lifted her up and bore her on his shoulders. The Lord alone was her leader.

Canticle I

Dt 32:3-7, 10-12

The deeds of kindness which God wrought for his people

How often have I longed to gather your children as a hen gathers her young under her wings (Mt 23:37)

I shall praise the name of the Lord. *
O give glory to this God of ours!
The Rock – his deeds are perfect, *
and all his ways are just,
a faithful God, without deceit, *
a God who is right and just.

Those whom he begot unblemished *
have become crooked, false, perverse.
Is it thus you repay the Lord, *
O senseless and foolish people?
Is he not your father who created you, *
he who made you, on whom you depend?

Remember the days of old, *
consider the years that are past;
ask your father and he will show you, *
ask your elders and they will tell you.

Israel God found him in a wilderness, *
in fearful, desolate wastes;
he surrounded him, he lifted him up, *
he kept him as the apple of his eye.

Like an eagle that watches its nest, *
that hovers over its young,
so he spread his wings; he took him, *
placed him on his outstretched wings.
The Lord alone was his guide *
and no other god was with him.

Canticle II

Song 1:3-4a; 2:8-10; 3:1b-2, 4bc

The faithful soul finds the beloved

Where have you hidden yourself, my Beloved? (St. John of the Cross)

Your name is oil poured out; *
therefore the maidens love you.
Draw me after you, let us make haste; *
your anointing oils are fragrant.
The king has brought me into his chambers; *
we will exult and rejoice in you.

The voice of my beloved:
Behold, he comes, *
leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle, *
or a young stag.
Behold, there he stands behind our wall, *
gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice.

My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my fair one, *
and come away.”

I sought him whom my soul loves; *
I sought him, but found him not.
“I will rise now and go about the city; *
in the streets and in the squares
I will seek him whom my soul loves;” *
I sought him, but found him not.

I found him whom my soul loves. *
I held him, and would not let him go.

Canticle III

Song 4:8ab, 9bc, 12, 15; 5:2; 6:3; 8:6-7a

The strength of love

Love turns labor into rest (St. Teresa of Jesus)

Come with me from Lebanon, my bride; *
come with me from Lebanon.
You have ravished my heart with a glance of your eyes, *
with one jewel of your necklace.

A garden locked is my sister, my bride, *
a garden locked, a fountain sealed.
A garden fountain, a well of living water, *
and flowing streams from Lebanon.

I slept, but my heart was awake. *
Hark! my beloved is knocking.
“Open to me, my sister, my love, *
my dove, my perfect one,
for my head is wet with dew, *
my locks with the drops of the night.”

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; *
he pastures his flock among the lilies.
Set me as a seal upon your heart, *
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death, *
jealousy is cruel as the grave.

Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a most vehement flame. *
Many waters cannot quench love.

Ant. The Lord spread his wings like an eagle; he lifted her up and bore her on his shoulders. The Lord alone was her leader.

Gospel (Alternative 1)

Jn 17:17-26

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

I have sent them into the world

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

Holy Father,
consecrate them in the truth;
your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
I have sent them into the world,
and for their sake I consecrate myself
so that they too may be consecrated in truth.
I pray not only for these,
but for those also
who through their words will believe in me.
May they all be one.
Father, may they be one in us,
as you are in me and I am in you,
so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.
I have given them the glory you gave to me,
that they may be one as we are one.
With me in them and you in me,
may they be so completely one
that the world will realize that it was you who sent me
and that I have loved them as much as you loved me.

Father,
I want those you have given me
to be with me where I am,
so that they may always see the glory
you have given me
because you loved me
before the foundation of the world.
Father, Righteous One,
the world has not known you,
but I have known you,
and these have known
that you have sent me.
I have made your name known to them
and will continue to make it known
so that the love with which you loved me may be in them,
and so that I may be in them.

Gospel (Alternative 2)

Jn 15:1-13

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty

Jesus said to his disciples:

“I am the true vine,
and my Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in me that bears no fruit
he cuts away,
and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes
to make it bear even more.
You are pruned already,
by means of the word that I have spoken to you.
Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.
As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself,
but must remain part of the vine,
neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine,
you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me, with me in him,
bears fruit in plenty;
for cut off from me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
is like a branch that has been thrown away
-he withers;
these branches are collected and thrown on the fire,
and they are burned.
If you remain in me
and my words remain in you,
you may ask what you will
and you shall get it.
It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit,
and then you will be my disciples.
As the Father has loved me,
so I have loved you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments
you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.
I have told you this
so that my own joy may be in you
and your joy be complete.
This is my commandment:
love one another,
as I have loved you.
A man can have no greater love
than to lay down his life for his friends.

Te Deum

You are God: we praise you; *
You are the Lord: we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father: *
All creation worships you.

To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, *
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might, *
heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you. †
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. *
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.

Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you: *
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, *
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the King of glory, *
the eternal Son of the Father.

When you became man to set us free *
you did not spurn the Virgin’s womb.

You overcame the sting of death, *
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. *
We believe that you will come, and be our judge.

Come then, Lord, and help your people, *
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints*
to glory everlasting.

Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
 Govern and uphold them now and always.

Day by day we bless you.
 We praise your name for ever.

Keep us today, Lord, from all sin.
— Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

Lord, show us your love and mercy,
 for we have put our trust in you.

In you, Lord, is our hope:
 And we shall never hope in vain.

Prayer

God our Father,
you have promised your kingdom
to those who are willing to become like little children.
Help us to follow the way of Saint Thérèse with confidence
so that by her prayers
we may come to know your eternal glory.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

 

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Morning Prayer

Hymn

Her boundless love for Christ her Lord
Impels Thérèse to greater things.
The martyr’s and apostle’s crown
To crown of virgins now she brings.

To be a victim of God’s love
Her heart aglow with mystic fire,
She begs her Spouse by love consume
Her life, a holocaust entire.

When death, the herald of true life,
Brings to its close, her life’s brief race,
She calls, “I love you” as she dies
And hastens to meet Christ’s embrace.

Now savoring all heaven’s joys,
The glories by her virtues won,
May she that shower of roses send
Which once she promised to her own.

O King of meek and gentle heart
Who for the little ones prepare
Your feast, grant us who follow her
In childlike trust, to enter there.

All praise be to the Father now,
Praise also to his only Son,
The Spirit in all virgin souls,
As ages endless through time run.

88.88.
Immensa Christi caritas

Psalmody

Ant. 1 My soul clings to you; with your right hand you have raised me up.

Psalms and canticle from Sunday, Week I

Ant. 2 You holy and humble of heart, bless the Lord.

Ant. 3 The Lord takes delight in his people, and crowns the humble with salvation.

Reading

Romans 8:14-17

All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. You did not receive a spirit of slavery leading you back into fear, but a spirit of adoption through which we cry out, “Abba!” (that is, “Father”). The Spirit himself gives witness with our spirit that we are children of God. But if we are children, we are heirs as well; heirs of God, heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so as to be glorified with him.

Responsory

See, I will pour out upon her a river of peace.
See, I will pour out upon her a river of peace.

The glory of the nations like an overflowing stream,
a river of peace.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
See, I will pour out upon her a river of peace.

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. Pray to the Lord of the harvest that he send laborers into his harvest.

Intercessions

Our Lord Jesus Christ has given Saint Thérèse to us as a model of the evangelical life. Let us pray to him and say:

R/. Hear us, O Lord.

Lord, you said, “Whoever is thirsty, let him come to me and drink;”
give us an intense thirst for your love.

Lord, you said, “If you do not become as little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven,”
help us to love you in simplicity of heart.

Lord, you told us, “There is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents;”
help us to have a childlike trust in your mercy.

Lord, you said, “Whoever does the will of my Father will enter the kingdom of heaven,”
give us a spirit of faithful obedience to all your commands.

Lord, you said, “Whatsoever you do to one of the least of my brethren you do to me;”
may we see you today in our brothers and sisters, and love you in them.

Lord, you said, “The harvest is great, but the laborers are few; pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest, that he send laborers into the harvest;”
give to all of us the missionary spirit of Saint Thérèse, who longed for the salvation of souls.

Our Father…

Prayer

God our Father,
you have promised your kingdom
to those who are willing to become like little children.
Help us to follow the way of Saint Thérèse with confidence
so that by her prayers
we may come to know your eternal glory.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

 

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Daytime Prayer

Psalms from the current weekday.

Midmorning

Ant. The Lord chose you for his own, to praise him and give glory to his name.

Reading

2 Corinthians 12:9b-10

I willingly boast of my weakness instead, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I am content with weakness, with mistreatment, with distress, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ; for when I am powerless, it is then that I am strong.

The Lord is my strength and my song.
In you I trust; I shall not be put to shame.

Midday 

Ant. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to little ones.

Reading

1 John 4:17-19

Our love is brought to perfection in this,
that we should have confidence on the day of judgment:
for our relation to this world is just like his.
Love has no room for fear;
rather, perfect love casts out all fear.
And since fear has to do with punishment,
love is not yet perfect in one who is afraid.
We, for our part, love
because he first loved us.

You, Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer.
From eternity this is your name.

Midafternoon

Ant. The Lord looks kindly on the prayer of the needy, and his word is addressed to the lowly.

Reading

1 John 3:1-2

See what love the Father has bestowed on us
in letting us be called children of God!
Yet that is what we are.
The reason the world does not recognize us
is that it never recognized the Son.
Dearly beloved,
we are God’s children now;
what we shall later be has not yet come to light.
We know that when it comes to light
we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.

I will run in the way of your commandments.
For you have given greatness to my heart.

Prayer

God our Father,
you have promised your kingdom
to those who are willing to become like little children.
Help us to follow the way of Saint Thérèse with confidence
so that by her prayers
we may come to know your eternal glory.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

 

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Evening Prayer

Hymn

From clear high mansions of that shining palace
Where you enjoy the light of God’s dear presence,
And plead our causes, mindful of your promise
Show’r down your roses.

Roses of faith to shed its light supernal,
Roses of hope when obstacles surround us,
And for our strengthening in daily living
Roses of pure love.

Through your own childlike confidence and candor
Send us the rose of quietly discerning
Love of a Father, shining in each happening
Both sweet and bitter.

This be our portion, God forever blessed,
Father eternal, Son and Holy Spirit,
Whose is the glory which through all creation
Resounds forever.

11.11.11.5.
Luce divina rutilantis aulae

Psalmody

Ant. 1 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Psalm 113

Praise, O servants of the Lord, *
praise the name of the Lord!
May the name of the Lord be blessed *
both now and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting *
praised be the name of the Lord!

High above all nations is the Lord, *
above the heavens his glory.
Who is like the Lord, our God, *
who has risen on high to his throne
yet stoops from the heights to look down, *
to look down upon heaven and earth?

From the dust he lifts up the lowly, *
from his misery he raises the poor
to set him in the company of princes, *
yes, with the princes of his people.
To the childless wife he gives a home *
and gladdens her heart with children.

Ant. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Ant. 2 For their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.

Psalm 131

O Lord, my heart is not proud *
nor haughty my eyes.
I have not gone after things too great *
nor marvels beyond me.

Truly I have set my soul *
in silence and peace.
As a child has rest in its mother’s arms, *
even so my soul.

O Israel, hope in the Lord *
both now and forever.

Ant. For their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.

Ant. 3 God chooses those the world considers weak to confound the strong.

Phil. 2:6-11

Though he was in the form of God, +
Jesus did not deem equality with God *
something to be grasped at.

Rather, he emptied himself, +
and took the form of a slave, *
being born in the likeness of men.

He was known to be of human estate *
and it was thus that he humbled himself,
obediently accepting even death, *
death on a cross!

Because of this, *
God highly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name *
above every name,

So that at Jesus’ name +
every knee must bend, *
in the heavens, on the earth,
and under the earth, *
and every tongue proclaim
to the glory of God the Father: *
JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!

Ant. God chooses those the world considers weak to confound the strong.

Reading

1 Timothy 2:1, 3-6a

First of all, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered for all men. Prayer of this kind is good, and God our Savior is pleased with it, for he wants all men to be saved and come to know the truth. And the truth is this:
“God is one
One also is the mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus,
who gave himself as a ransom for all.”

Responsory

I will tell of your name to my friends: in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.
I will tell of your name to my friends: in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.

For you have not despised the poor in their distress;
in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
I will tell of your name to my friends: in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.

Canticle of Mary

Ant. Father, I have made your name known to those you have given me: make them holy in the truth.

Intercessions

Let us pray to God, our almighty Father, for his Church throughout the world:

Lord, remember your covenant with us.

May we be inspired by the example of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus;
may your Church give itself to you in love.

May all contemplatives be faithful witnesses of your goodness;
so that the world may believe in you.

May we bear one another’s burdens in a spirit of love;
so that your faithful people may see your face in us and imitate your Son.

Fill us with a faithful missionary spirit;
for you desire all the world to know the truth of Christ.

Grant to all the faithful departed the joy of seeing your face;
for Christ wants those you gave him to be with him where he reigns in glory.

Our Father…

Prayer

God our Father,
you have promised your kingdom
to those who are willing to become like little children.
Help us to follow the way of Saint Thérèse with confidence
so that by her prayers
we may come to know your eternal glory.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

 

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Find this image and more in the Flickr photostream of The British Library

Ste. Thérèse Novena VIII

There is on this earth
A marvelous Tree.
Its root, O mystery!
Is in Heaven….

In its shade
Never could anything cause pain.
One can rest there
Without fearing the storm.

Love is the name
Of this ineffable Tree,
And its delectable fruit
Is called Abandonment.

It gives me in this world
An ocean of peace.
In this deep peace
I rest forever…

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to do good on earth; send your shower of roses in abundance on those who call upon you, and obtain for us from God the graces we are waiting to receive from His infinite goodness.

 

saint-therese-of-lisieux43_7jun97 TWsize
1897 | Photo credit: © Office Central de Lisieux / archives-carmel-lisieux.fr

 

Hay en la tierra un árbol,
árbol maravilloso,
cuya raíz se encuentra,
¡oh misterio!, en el cielo.

Acogido a su sombra,
nada ni nadie te podrá alcanzar;
sin miedo a la tormenta,
bajo él puedes descansar.

El árbol inefable
lleva por nombre «amor».
Su fruto deleitable
se llama «el abandono».

Un mar de paz me da ya en este mundo,
un océano de paz,
y en esta paz profunda
descanso para siempre.

Santa “Teresita”, recuerda tu promesa de “hacer bien en la tierra” y que enviarías “lluvia de rosas” sobre quienes te invoquen. Obtenme de Dios las gracias que quiero de su infinita bondad. 

 


This text is an excerpt from the poem, Abandonment is the Sweet Fruit of Love Read more

Este texto es un extracto del poema El abandono es el fruto delicioso del amor Leer más 

Ste. Thérèse Novena VII

For you the Kingdom and the Glory,
The Riches of the King of kings.
For me the ciborium’s humble Host.
For me the Cross’s treasure.
With the Cross, with the Host,
With your celestial aid,
In peace I await the other life,
The joys that will last forever.

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to do good on earth; send your shower of roses in abundance on those who call upon you, and obtain for us from God the graces we are waiting to receive from His infinite goodness.

 

saint-therese-of-lisieux38_July 1896 Blogfeatimage
1896 | Photo credit: © Office Central de Lisieux / archives-carmel-lisieux.fr

 

Para ti la gloria, el reino,
las riquezas del que es Rey,
Rey de los reyes del mundo.
Para mí el Pan del sagrario
y el tesoro de la cruz.
Con la cruz y con la hostia,
y con tu celeste ayuda,
espero en paz la otra vida,
la felicidad del cielo,
que nunca terminará.

Santa “Teresita”, recuerda tu promesa de “hacer bien en la tierra” y que enviarías “lluvia de rosas” sobre quienes te invoquen. Obtenme de Dios las gracias que quiero de su infinita bondad. 

 


This text is an excerpt from the poem, To My Guardian Angel Read more

Este texto es un extracto del poema A mi ángel de la guarda Leer más 

Ste. Thérèse Novena VI

My burning heart wants to give itself unceasingly.
It needs to prove its tenderness.
Ah! who will be able to understand my love?
What heart will want to pay me in return?
But I crave this return in vain.
Jesus, you alone can satisfy my soul.
Nothing can charm me here below.
True happiness cannot be found here
My only peace, my only happiness,
My only love is you, Lord!…

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to do good on earth; send your shower of roses in abundance on those who call upon you, and obtain for us from God the graces we are waiting to receive from His infinite goodness.

 

saint-therese-of-lisieux29_3July1896 (2)
1896 | Photo credit: © Office Central de Lisieux / archives-carmel-lisieux.fr

 

Mi corazón ardiente quiere darse sin tregua,
siente necesidad de mostrar su ternura.
Mas ¿quién comprenderá mi amor,
qué corazón 
querrá corresponderme?
En vano espero y pido que nadie pague con amor mi amor.
Sólo tú, mi Jesús, eres capaz de contentar mi alma.
Nada puede encantarme aquí en la tierra,
no se halla aquí la verdadera dicha.
¡Mi única paz, mi amor, mi sola dicha
eres tú, mi Señor!

Santa “Teresita”, recuerda tu promesa de “hacer bien en la tierra” y que enviarías “lluvia de rosas” sobre quienes te invoquen. Obtenme de Dios las gracias que quiero de su infinita bondad. 

 


This text is an excerpt from the poem, Jesus Alone Read more

Este texto es un extracto del poema Sólo Jesús Leer más 

Quote of the day: 28 September

Dear Little Therese,

I was seventeen when I read your autobiography.

It struck me forcibly. You called it ‘The story of a little flower’. To me the will-power, courage, and decisiveness it showed made it seem more like the story of a piece of steel. Once you had chosen the path of complete dedication to God, nothing could stop you: not illness, nor opposition from outside, nor inner confusion and darkness.

I remember the time I was ill and sent to a sanatorium, in the days before penicillin and antibiotics, when death awaited pretty well anyone who was sent to the hospital. I was ashamed of myself for feeling a little afraid.

‘At the age of twenty-three,’ I said to myself, ‘Therese, who until then had been healthy and full of vitality, was filled with joy and hope when she first spat blood. Not only thatbut when her health improved she got permission to end her fast with a diet of dry bread and water. And you’re almost trembling! You’re a priest! Don’t be silly!’

 

John Paul 1 receives cardinals cap
Archbishop Albino Luciani of Venice receives the Cardinal’s cap from St. Paul VI in the Consistory for the Nomination of New Cardinals on Monday, 5 March 1973 | Photo credit: albino-luciani.com

 

Reading it again, on the centenary of your birth (1873 to 1973), what now strikes me most is the way in which you loved God and your neighbor.

St. Augustine wrote: ‘We reach God, not by walking, but through love.’ You also called your road ‘the way of love’. Christ said: ‘No one comes to me unless my Father calls him’.

You were perfectly in tune with these words, feeling ‘like a bird without strength and without wings’, and seeing in God an eagle who came down to carry you off on high, on its wings. You called divine grace ‘the lifter’, which carried you to God swiftly and easily, since you were ‘too small to climb the harsh ladder of perfection’.

I said ’easily’, but let me make it clear: I meant it only in one way.

In anotherwell in the final months of your life your soul felt as if it was going down a kind of dark passage, seeing nothing of what it had once seen clearly. ‘Faith’, you wrote, ‘is no longer a veil but a wall’. Your physical sufferings were so great that you said, ‘If I had not had faith, I would have chosen death’.

In spite of that you kept saying to the Lord you loved, saying with your will alone, ‘I sing of the happiness of Paradise, but without any feeling of joy; I sing simply because I want to believe’. Your last words were: ‘My God, I love You’.

To the merciful love of God you offered yourself as a victim. All this did not prevent you from enjoying what was good and beautiful. Before your final illness you loved painting, and wrote poetry and short plays on religious subjects, taking some of the parts yourself and showing quite a talent for acting.

In the last stage of your illness, when you felt briefly better, you asked for some chocolates. You had no fear of your own imperfections, not even of having sometimes slept during meditation, out of weariness (‘mothers love their children, even when they are asleep’).

Loving your neighbor, you tried to serve others in small, useful ways, but to do so unobserved; and you preferred, if anything, to do this for people who irritated you, those you understood least. Behind their unlikeable faces you sought the beloved face of Christ.

And no one noticed these efforts of yours. ‘How mystical she was in chapel, and at her work’, the prioress wrote of you, ‘At other times she was very amusing, full of fun and making us laugh uproariously at recreation’.

Joy mixed with Christian love appears in the song of the angels at Bethlehem. It is part of the essence of the Gospel which means ‘good news’. It is characteristic of the saints. Joy may become perfect charity if it is shared, as in fact, dear St. Therese, you shared yours at recreation in the convent.

Therese, the love you gave God (and your neighbor for love of God) was really worthy of Him. This is how our love should be: a flame fed by all that’s great and fine in ourselves; a rejection of all that is refractory in us; and a victory that carries us on its wings and takes us as a gift to the feet of God.

These few lines certainly don’t contain the whole of your message to Christians, but they are enough to point out a few things to us.

Archbishop Albino Luciani
Patriarch of Venice

 

John Paul 1 general audience Summer Vining collection
Pope John Paul I (17 October 1912 — 28 September 1978) | SRE Collection (used with permission)

 

This letter to St. Therese of Lisieux is one of the series of Illustrissimi letters that Archbishop Luciani wrote regularly in a column for the Messaggero di San Antonio magazine. They were published in 1976 and are still available from booksellers in Italian and several translations, including English. We thank the whitesmokeahoy blog for publishing this excerpt from the publication.

Ste. Thérèse Novena V

Later I loved the creature
Who seemed pure to me.
Seeking the God of nature everywhere,
In Him I found peace
Forever!…

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to do good on earth; send your shower of roses in abundance on those who call upon you, and obtain for us from God the graces we are waiting to receive from His infinite goodness.

 

sainte-Therese-de-Lisieux_20 (3)
1895 | Photo credit: © Office Central de Lisieux / archives-carmel-lisieux.fr

 

Y más tarde amé a la criatura
que yo veía más pura,
a Dios buscando en su creación.
Y en El, sólo en él hallé
la paz…

Santa “Teresita”, recuerda tu promesa de “hacer bien en la tierra” y que enviarías “lluvia de rosas” sobre quienes te invoquen. Obtenme de Dios las gracias que quiero de su infinita bondad. 

 


This text is an excerpt from the poem, The Canticle of Céline Read more

Este texto es un extracto del poema El Cántico de Celina Leer más 

Ste. Thérèse Novena IV

On the evening of Love, speaking without parable,
Jesus said: “If anyone wishes to love me
All his life, let him keep my Word.
My Father and I will come to visit him.
And we will make his heart our dwelling.
Coming to him, we shall love him always.
We want him to remain, filled with peace,
In our Love!…”

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to do good on earth; send your shower of roses in abundance on those who call upon you, and obtain for us from God the graces we are waiting to receive from His infinite goodness.

 

sainte-Therese-de-Lisieux_13 (2)
1895

 

«La noche del Amor, ya sin parábolas,
Jesús decía :»si alguien quiere amarme,
toda su vida guarde mi palabra ;
y le visitaremos yo ¡y mi Padre !
Viniendo a él, por siempre lo amaremos,
¡su corazón será nuestra mansión… !
¡Queremos que él esté, lleno de paz,
en nuestro Amor…» !

Santa “Teresita”, recuerda tu promesa de “hacer bien en la tierra” y que enviarías “lluvia de rosas” sobre quienes te invoquen. Obtenme de Dios las gracias que quiero de su infinita bondad. 

 


This text is an excerpt from the poem, Living on LoveRead more

Este texto es un extracto del poema Vivir de Amor Leer más 

Ste. Thérèse Novena III

Joseph, your admirable life
Took place in poverty,
But you contemplated the beauty
Of Jesus and Mary.

 Joseph, O tender Father,
Protect Carmel.
May your children on earth
Always savor the peace of Heaven!

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to do good on earth; send your shower of roses in abundance on those who call upon you, and obtain for us from God the graces we are waiting to receive from His infinite goodness.

 

sainte-Therese-de-Lisieux_06_janvier1889 (2)
1889

 

Vuestra admirable vida
en la sombra, José, se deslizó
humilde y escondida,
¡pero fue augusto privilegio vuestro
contemplar muy de cerca la belleza
de Jesús y María!

José, tierno Padre,
protege al Carmelo.
¡Que en la tierra tus hijos
gocen ya la paz del cielo!

Santa “Teresita”, recuerda tu promesa de “hacer bien en la tierra” y que enviarías “lluvia de rosas” sobre quienes te invoquen. Obtenme de Dios las gracias que quiero de su infinita bondad. 

 


This text is an excerpt from the poem, To Our Father Saint JosephRead more

Este texto es un extracto del poema A San JoséLeer más 

Ste. Thérèse Novena II

Remember the ardent prayer
You made for your third child.
God granted it, for on earth she is
Like her sisters, a very brilliant beautiful Lily.
The Visitation hides her from the eyes of the world,
But she loves Jesus, she is flooded with his peace.
Her ardent desires
And all her sighs
Remember!…

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to do good on earth; send your shower of roses in abundance on those who call upon you, and obtain for us from God the graces we are waiting to receive from His infinite goodness.

 

sainte-Therese-de-Lisieux_03 (2)
Alençon, 1886

 

Acuérdate de la oración ferviente
que un día formulaste por tu tercera hija.
¡Dios la escuchó! Ella es, igual que sus hermanas,
un lirio que brilla sin igual.
Ya la Visitación la esconde y cela a los ojos del mundo y su malicia.
Ama al Señor, y ya su paz la inunda, su dulce paz y su quietud divina.
De sus ardientes
suspiros y deseos
¡acuérdate!

Santa “Teresita”, recuerda tu promesa de “hacer bien en la tierra” y que enviarías “lluvia de rosas” sobre quienes te invoquen. Obtenme de Dios las gracias que quiero de su infinita bondad. 

 


This text is an excerpt from the poem, Prayer of a Child of a SaintRead more

Este texto es un extracto del poema Plegaria de la Hija de un SantoLeer más 

Ste. Thérèse Novena I

If I think about tomorrow, I fear my fickleness,
I feel sadness and worry rising up in my heart,
but I’m willing, my God, to accept trial and suffering
Just for today.

Divine Pilot! whose hand guides me,
I’m soon to see you on the eternal shore.
Guide my little boat over the stormy waves in peace
Just for today.

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to do good on earth; send your shower of roses in abundance on those who call upon you, and obtain for us from God the graces we are waiting to receive from His infinite goodness.

 

sainte-Therese-de-Lisieux_01 crop
Alençon, juillet 1876

 

Si pienso en el mañana, me asusta mi inconstancia,
siento nacer tristeza, tedio en mi corazón.
Pero acepto la prueba, acepto el sufrimiento
¡nada más que por hoy!

¡Oh Piloto divino, cuya mano me guía!,
en la ribera eterna pronto te veré yo.
Por el mar borrascoso gobierna en paz mi barca
¡nada más que por hoy!

Santa “Teresita”, recuerda tu promesa de “hacer bien en la tierra” y que enviarías “lluvia de rosas” sobre quienes te invoquen. Obtenme de Dios las gracias que quiero de su infinita bondad. 

 


This text is an excerpt from the poem, My Song For Today. Read more

Este texto es un extracto del poema Mi Canto de Hoy. Leer más 

Quote of the day: 19 September

In the Lisieux infirmary

 

Sr. Thérèse of Saint-Augustine: “Tell me, have you had any struggles?”

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus: “Oh! yes, I have had some. I’ve had a nature that wasn’t easy­ going; this wasn’t apparent exteriorly, but I know it well, and I can assure you that I wasn’t a day without suffering, not a single day.”

Sr. Thérèse of Saint-Augustine: “But some think you had none. “

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus: “Ah! the judgments of creatures! Because they don’t see, they don’t believe!”

Sr. Thérèse of Saint-Augustine: “There are some Sisters who believe you will experience the fears of the dying. “

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus: “These haven’t come to me as yet. If they should come, I’ll bear them; but if I should have them, they would not be sufficient to purify me, they would be no more than bleach. What I need is the fire of love.”

 

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Sister Thérèse of Saint-Augustine
(Julia Leroyer)
5 September 1856 – 22 July 1929
See the complete photo here

 


Sister Thérèse of Saint-Augustine was the one nun of whom St. Thérèse wrote, “There is in the Community a Sister who has the faculty of displeasing me in everything, in her ways, her words, her character, everything seems very disagreeable to me. And still, she is a holy religious who must be very pleasing to God.” (Ms C 13v)

She played an instrumental role in assisting St. Thérèse through her dark night of faith. In January 1897 Sister Thérèse of Saint-Augustine had a prophetic dream of a dark apartment with a heavy black door “under which a very bright ray of light came through.” On the other side of the door, she could hear a voice calling from the light asking for St. Thérèse. When Sister Thérèse of Saint-Augustine awoke from her dream, she was convinced that the saint soon would die.

A few days later, Sister Thérèse of Saint-Augustine shared her dream with St. Thérèse. The saint’s response gives us a striking indication of the depths of her crisis of faith.

“How beautiful! It’s not a dream, it’s a fantasy and it’s for me that you had it. (…) If you knew what good you do for me; haven’t I spoken to you about the state of my soul? (…) I don’t believe in eternal life, it seems to me after this earthly life, there is nothing more. I can’t describe to you the shadows into which I’ve sunk. What you just told me is exactly the state of my soul. The preparation they are doing with me and especially the black door is really the picture of what is happening in me. You saw nothing but red in that door that is so dark, that is to say, that all has vanished for me and there is nothing left but love. Your dream is my only ray of light, I have no other. I know it by heart down to the smallest details.”

Months later in the infirmary, when Sister Thérèse asks if her dying companion has had any struggles, January’s dream certainly must have been on her mind.

Learn more about Sister Thérèse of Saint-Augustine here.

Read more of her last conversations with St. Thérèse here.

 

Quote of the day: 15 September

Mary, at the top of Calvary standing beside the Cross
To me you seem like a priest at the altar,
Offering your beloved Jesus, the sweet Emmanuel,
To appease the Father’s justice…
A prophet said, O afflicted Mother,
« There is no sorrow like your sorrow ! _ »
O Queen of Martyrs, while remaining in exile
You lavish on us all the blood of your heart !

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Why I Love You, O Mary (PN 54, excerpt)

 

Calvaire_Rochefort-en-Terre_Bretagne (2)
This detail from a streetside Calvary shrine in the village of Rochefort-en-Terre is typical of many found scattered throughout Bretagne, France | Source: Flickr creative commons

Quote of the day: 8 September

From the Yellow Notebook of Mother Agnès of Jesus
September 8

A little robin came and landed on her bed.

Léonie sent her the little music box we have preserved, and the tunes were so sweet, even though they were popular music, that she listened to them with pleasure.

Finally, someone brought her a bouquet of wildflowers for the an­niversary of her Profession. Seeing herself so loaded with gifts, she wept with gratitude and said:

“It’s all God’s tenderness towards me: exteriorly, I’m loaded with gifts; interiorly, I’m always in my trial (of faith) . . . but also in peace.”

 

European Robin 8291616@N08 Flickr 6406283467_c6bfe20050_o
Robin Redbreast lives in Lancaster, England | carol / Flickr

Quote of the day: 31 August

Pranzini_photo_anthropométrique

 

One Sunday, closing my book at the end of Mass, a picture of Our Lord on the Cross half slipped out, showing only one of His Divine Hands, pierced and bleeding. I felt an indescribable thrill such as I had never felt before. My heart was torn with grief to see that Precious Blood falling to the ground, and no one caring to treasure It as It fell, and I resolved to remain continually in spirit at the foot of the Cross, that I might receive the Divine Dew of Salvation and pour it forth upon souls. From that day the cry of my dying Saviour—“I thirst!”—sounded incessantly in my heart, and kindled therein a burning zeal hitherto unknown to me. My one desire was to give my Beloved to drink; I felt myself consumed with thirst for souls, and I longed at any cost to snatch sinners from the everlasting flames of hell.

In order still further to enkindle my ardour, Our Divine Master soon proved to me how pleasing to him was my desire. Just then I heard much talk of a notorious criminal, Pranzini, who was sentenced to death for several shocking murders, and, as he was quite impenitent, everyone feared he would be eternally lost. How I longed to avert this irreparable calamity! In order to do so I employed all the spiritual means I could think of, and, knowing that my own efforts were unavailing, I offered for his pardon the infinite merits of Our Saviour and the treasures of Holy Church.

Need I say that in the depths of my heart I felt certain my request would be granted? But, that I might gain courage to persevere in the quest for souls, I said in all simplicity: “My God, I am quite sure that Thou wilt pardon this unhappy Pranzini. I should still think so if he did not confess his sins or give any sign of sorrow, because I have such confidence in Thy unbounded Mercy; but this is my first sinner, and therefore I beg for just one sign of repentance to reassure me.” My prayer was granted to the letter. My Father never allowed us to read the papers, but I did not think there was any disobedience in looking at the part about Pranzini. The day after his execution I hastily opened the paper, La Croix, and what did I see? Tears betrayed my emotion; I was obliged to run out of the room. Pranzini had mounted the scaffold without confessing or receiving absolution, and the executioners were already dragging him towards the fatal block, when all at once, apparently in answer to a sudden inspiration, he turned round, seized the crucifix which the Priest was offering to him, and kissed Our Lord’s Sacred Wounds three times. . . . I had obtained the sign I asked for, and to me it was especially sweet. Was it not when I saw the Precious Blood flowing from the Wounds of Jesus that the thirst for souls first took possession of me? I wished to give them to drink of the Blood of the Immaculate Lamb that It might wash away their stains, and the lips of “my first born” had been pressed to these Divine Wounds. What a wonderful answer!

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Story of a Soul

 

Henri Pranzini was executed on this date, 31 August 1877 in Paris

 

If I was the Queen of Heaven

 

O Mary, if I were Queen of Heaven and you were Thérèse, I would want to be Thérèse so that you might be Queen of Heaven!!!

8 September 1897

 

These were the last words Saint Thérèse wrote in her own hand. This is a detailed view of a holy card that Thérèse prepared; see the entire image here.

Quote of the day: 9 August

Passion Sunday, 26 March 1939

Dear Mother, please, will Your Reverence allow me to offer myself to the Heart of Jesus as a sacrifice of propitiation for true peace: that the dominion of Antichrist may collapse, if possible, without a new world war, and that a new order may be established? I would like it [my request] granted this very day because it is the twelfth hour. I know that I am a nothing, but Jesus desires it, and surely He will call many others to do likewise in these days.

Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, O.C.D.

 

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
A stained glass window in Eindhoven, Netherlands seems to offer a fitting tribute to Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein. Her lifelong journey with God from the family’s Jewish hearth to the heart of God by the path of total immolation for Christthrough the bonds of the Teresian Carmelprovides a stirring witness to the Church today. May we be inspired by her example and aided by her intercession. | pedrocaetano / Flickr

 

Edith Stein addressed Letter 296 to her prioress in the Carmel of Echt, Mother Ottilia a Jesu Crucifixo, O.C.D. (Maria Margaret Thannisch) on Passion Sunday, 1939. In her letter, we see profound continuity with Teresian spirituality; we offer for your reflection a few salient points.

Obedience

Edith’s obedience to her prioress prompts her to seek permission to make this solemn offering, rather than to enter into such a life-changing commitment by herself, a decision that could have consequences for her entire community.

Obedience is a cornerstone of all Carmelite life, beginning with the Rule of St. Albert of Jerusalem, which states, The first thing I require is for you to have a prior, one of yourselves, who is to be chosen for the office by common consent, or that of the greater and maturer part of you; each of the others must promise him obedience — of which, once promised, he must try to make his deeds the true reflection…” (Rule, 4)

St. Teresa of Avila takes up the refrain when she writes, “in matters touching on obedience He doesn’t want the soul who truly loves Him to take any other path than the one He did: obediens usque ad mortem” (Ph 2:8). (Foundations, 5:5)

 

Notting Hill Profession 2019
On 4 August 2019 Sister Sarah of Notting Hill Carmel made her First Religious Profession, and pronounced her vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience during Mass, in the presence of witnesses of the Church. This photo shows her pronouncing her vows as she kneels before her prioress, who receives them as God’s representative. | Photo: Carmelite Nuns in Britain / Facebook (used by permission)

 

Self-Offering

In comparison with the Discalced Carmelite martyrs of Compiègne and St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus who preceded Edith in choosing a life of radical, holocaust offering to God, we note the following similarities and differences:


🞧  The Discalced Carmelites of Compiègne made their offering after their prioress proposed making an act of consecration “by which the community would offer themselves in holocaust to appease the wrath of God and to obtain that, through the sacrifice of their very selves, peace may be restored to the Church and to the State.” (Sr. Marie de l’Incarnation 1836, p. 67)

 

🞧  St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus was motivated by “ardent desires… to save souls” when she made her holocaust offering to merciful love on 9 June 1895. (CJ, 30 Sep 97) She wrote, 

“O My God! Most Blessed Trinity, I desire to love you and make you loved, to work for the glory of Holy Church by saving souls on earth and liberating those suffering in purgatory. I desire to accomplish your will perfectly and to reach the degree of glory you have prepared for me in your kingdom… In order to live in one single act of perfect love, I offer myself as a victim of holocaust to your merciful love, asking you to consume me incessantly, allowing the waves of infinite tenderness shut up within you to overflow into my soul, and that thus I may become a martyr of your love, O my God!” (Pri 6)

 

🞧  St. Teresa Benedicta offered herself to the heart of Jesus, a gesture of self-immolation in the furnace of the infinite love of Christ. Like St. Thérèse of Lisieux and Blessed Thérèse of Saint-Augustine, the prioress of Compiègne, St. Benedicta understood that a holocaust is consumed in the flames that spring forth from the Sacred Heart, echoing the sentiment of Thérèse: “O my Jesus! let it be me this happy victim, consume your holocaust through the fire of your Divine Love.” (Ms A, 84r)

Further, the propitiatory nature of St. Benedicta’s self-offering aligns with the consecration of the proto-martyrs of Discalced Carmelite nuns, Blessed Thérèse of Saint-Augustine and her companions “so that peace may be restored to the Church and to the State.” (Sr. Marie de l’Incarnation 1836, p. 67)

 

Adoration_of_the_Kings_Cologne Cathedral window_Robyn Fleming Flickr
This stained glass window depicting the adoration of the three kings in the Cathedral of Cologne would have been familiar to Edith Stein; the cathedral holds a reliquary which, according to tradition, contains the bones of the magi, seen here. Did Edith see her self-sacrificial offering in reference to the gold, frankincense, and myrrh offered by the travelers from the East? | Robyn Fleming / Flickr

 

Nothingness

“I know that I am a nothing,” Edith wrote. This is an ancient tune in the Teresian Carmel, beginning with St. Teresa of Avila herself: “I realized I was a woman and wretched and incapable of doing any of the useful things I desired to do in the service of the Lord.” (Way, 1:2)

Blessed Thérèse of Saint-Augustine counseled abandonment as a remedy to her daughters and directees: “I’m speaking of perfect abandonment to the divine wishes of our good Master. We are in his hands like children in the arms of a tender Father, who knows well what we need” (Letter 4 from Blessed Thérèse of Saint-Augustine to Mademoiselle de Grand-Rut, Holy Thursday, April 1790). (Sr. Marie de l’Incarnation 1836, p. 137)

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, immersing herself within her own Carmelite identity“of the Child Jesus”through spiritual childhood,  explores the frontier of nothingness through love. While she stated in Manuscript A that it is “the property of love… to lower itself,” (Ms A, 2v) in her magisterial Manuscript B, she plumbs the abyss: “So that Love may be fully satisfied, it must lower itself, lower itself all the way to nothingness and transform this nothingness into fire.” (Ms B, 3v)

Are these three Carmelite martyrs exaggerating? No, insists the Discalced Carmelite friar who is the foremost expert on the theology of the saints, François-Marie Léthel, OCD—professor of the same at the Pontifical Theological Faculty “Teresianum”. His teaching is crystal clear:

It is “a rule in the theology of the saints: the saints never exaggerate, but simply tell the truth in dimensions that always seem exaggerated to us as they do for all those who aren’t yet saints!” (Léthel 2011, p. 144)

 

Star Cluster NGC 6611 Hubble star clusters NASA Hubble Flickr
This collection of dazzling stars is called NGC 6611, an open star cluster that formed about 5.5 million years ago in the well-known Eagle Nebula (or Messier 16). It is a very young cluster, containing many hot, blue stars, whose fierce ultraviolet glow make the surrounding Eagle Nebula glow brightly. Astronomers refer to areas like the Eagle Nebula as HII regions. This is the scientific notation for ionized hydrogen from which the region is largely made. Extrapolating far into the future, this HII region will eventually disperse, helped along by shockwaves from supernova explosions as the more massive young stars end their brief but brilliant lives. In this image, dark patches can also be spotted, punctuating the stellar landscape. These areas of apparent nothingness are actually very dense regions of gas and dust, which obstruct light from passing through. Many of these may be hiding the sites of the early stages of star formation, before the fledgling stars clear away their surroundings and burst into view. For more information, visit: http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1101a/ |ESA/Hubble & NASA / Flickr

 

Divine Will

St. Teresa Benedicta minced no words when she declared her firm belief that God was calling her to make this radical self-sacrifice: “Jesus desires it.”

St. Thérèse was more poetic:

Divine Word! You are the Adored Eagle whom I love and who draws me! It is you who, soaring toward this land of exile, willed to suffer and die in order to draw souls into the heart of the Eternal Home of the Blessed Trinity. It is you who, ascending once again to the inaccessible Light, which will be henceforth your abode, still remain in this vale of tears, hidden beneath the appearance of a white host.

Eternal Eagle, you desire to nourish me with your divine substanceme, poor little creaturewho would return to nothingness if your divine gaze did not give me life each and every moment.

O Jesus, in the excess of my gratitude, let me tell you that your love is crazy. Given this craziness, how can you not want my heart to soar to you? How can my trust have any limits? 

Ah! For you, I know, the saints have done some crazy things, they’ve done some great things because they were eagles… Jesus, I’m too little to do great things… and my own craziness is to hope that your Love will accept me as a victim… My craziness consists in begging the Eagles my brothers, to obtain for me the favor of flying toward the Sun of Love with the Divine Eagle’s own wings… (Ms B, 05v)

For Blessed Thérèse of Compiègne, the divine inspiration to make the act of consecration came to her during mental prayer, those moments in the life of every Discalced Carmelite nun where even in the midst of dryness and darkness, she communes with God alone.

Mother Thérèse shared an apartment with the most senior members of the monastic community in Compiègne city after they were expelled from their cloister by the secularizing legislation of the French revolutionary government. It was to these most mature members of the community that one morning she first proposed a community act of holocaust consecration (probably in 1792); but their immediate reaction was to recoil in fear.

Historian William Bush notes that their reaction startled the prioress and she immediately regretted the proposal. Yet, after an entire day of contemplation, here were “two tearful 76-year-old nuns coming to ask forgiveness of their prioress for their lack of courage.” (Bush 1999, p. 107)

Again, what did Edith say? “Jesus desires it.”

 

Ratgeb martyrdom of the Carmelites
“Deus Vult” (God wills it) was the rallying cry associated with the Crusades, in particular the first crusade in the 11th century. The first Carmelite hermits, for whom St. Albert of Jerusalem wrote his Rule of Life, were believed to be crusaders who chose to lead a life of penance and prayer on the Mediterranean slope of Mount Carmel, rather than return to their homes in Europe. Ultimately, many of them gave their lives as witnesses to Christ when they were martyred at the hands of the Saracens in 1291.
Martyrdom of the Carmelites
Jörg Ratgeb (German, 1480-1526)
Wall painting, 1517
Carmelite Cloister, Frankfurt

 

Universal Call

When Blessed Thérèse of Saint-Augustine proposed the act of consecration to the entire community, she reminded her nuns in Compiègne to “note well, my Sisters, that we didn’t enter religious life except to put ourselves to work on our sanctification through the total immolation of our selves, which are so precious to us.  It shouldn’t cost us much to do this.” (Sr. Marie de l’Incarnation 1836, p. 67)

With her typical audacity, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus dared to ask this of the Lord: “I beg you to lower your divine gaze upon a great number of little souls. I beg you to choose a legion of little victims worthy of your love!” (Ms B, 5v)

Yes, St. Thérèse begged for holocaust victims; and, St. Benedicta felt certain that Christ would call others to follow such a rugged path that she trod: “surely He will call many others to do likewise in these days.” (Stein, E 1939, Letter 269)

 

OLMC Haifa 2019 Procession photo OCDinform 01
Thousands of pilgrims accompanied the Pilgrim Virgin statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on the slow, arduous climb from Saint Joseph Latin Catholic Parish in the City of Haifa up to the Stella Maris Church and Monastery of the Discalced Carmelite friars on the promontory of Mount Carmel on 5 May 2019. It was the 100th anniversary of the procession, which began as an act of gratitude for the liberation of the city from Turkish rule at the end of the first World War. | Discalced Carmelite General Curia / Facebook (used by permission)

 

“In these days…”

In our time, self-sacrifice and courage never must be lacking. “Jesus desires it” still today. What time is it now? Is it still “the twelfth hour”? Are we too late to respond to his call? In the words of a meditation written for the Elevation of the Holy Cross, 14 September 1939, Saint Edith Stein still speaks to us today:

The world is in flames. Are you impelled to put them out? Look at the cross. From the open heart gushes the blood of the Savior. This extinguishes the flames of hell. Its precious blood is poured everywhere—soothing, healing, saving.

The eyes of the Crucified look down on you—asking, probing. Will you make your covenant with the Crucified anew in all seriousness? What will you answer him?

“Lord, where shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.”

Ave Crux, Spex unica!

 


Reference List

Agnès of Jesus, 1897, The yellow notebook of Mother Agnès, Archives du Carmel de Lisieux, viewed 8 August 2019, <http://www.archives-carmel-lisieux.fr/english/carmel/index.php/carnet-jaune/2385-carnet-jaune-septembre>.

Albert of Jerusalem, c. 1206-1214, The Rule of St. Albert, Carmelnet, viewed 8 August 2019, <http://carmelnet.org/chas/rule.htm>.

Bush, W 1999, To Quell the Terror: The True Story of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Foley, M., & Teresa. 2012, The book of her foundations: a study guide, Institute of Carmelite Studies, Washington, D.C.

Gelber, L, Linssen, M & Stein, E 1992, The Hidden Life: Hagiographic Essay, Meditations, Spiritual Texts, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Kavanaugh, K, Rodriguez, O & Teresa 2000, The Way of Perfection, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Léthel, F-M 2011, La Lumière du Christ Dans le Coeur de l’Église: Jean-Paul II et la théologie des saints, Éditions Parole et Silence, Les Plans-sur-Bex.

Marie de l’Incarnation 1836, Histoire des religieuses carmélites de Compiègne conduites a l’échafaud le 17 juillet 1794, Ouvrage posthume de la soeur Marie de l’Incarnation, Thomas-Malvin, Sens.

Stein, E. 1993, Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face 1895, Manuscript A 02v, Archives du Carmel de Lisieux, viewed 8 August 2019, <http://www.archives-carmel-lisieux.fr/english/carmel/index.php/02-10/02/02-verso>

Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, 1895, Manuscript A 84r, Archives du Carmel de Lisieux, viewed 8 August 2019, <http://www.archives-carmel-lisieux.fr/english/carmel/index.php/81-86/84/84-recto>.

Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face 1896, Manuscript B 03v, Archives du Carmel de Lisieux, viewed 8 August 2019, <http://www.archives-carmel-lisieux.fr/english/carmel/index.php/b03/b03v>

Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face 1896, Manuscript B 05v, Archives du Carmel de Lisieux, viewed 8 August 2019, <http://www.archives-carmel-lisieux.fr/english/carmel/index.php/b05/b05v>

Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, 1895, Prayer 6 from Thérèse of Lisieux, Archives du Carmel de Lisieux, viewed 8 August 2019, <http://www.archives-carmel-lisieux.fr/english/carmel/index.php/pri-6>.

 


Sine qua non

The blogger wishes to acknowledge the invaluable guidance, instruction, example, encouragement, and friendship of the following Discalced Carmelites:

Bishop Silvio José Báez, Auxiliary Bishop of Managua
Sister Marie Josephine Fagnoni, Carmel of Haifa
Father Emilio José Martínez González, Pontifical Theological Faculty “Teresianum”
Father François-Marie Léthel, Pontifical Theological Faculty “Teresianum”
Sister Thérèse Wilkinson, Thicket Priory

Léonie Martin—Sr. François-Thérèse, V.H.M.—was the seventh witness at the diocesan inquiry for the cause of beatification of her sister, Thérèse. In her response to the 21st question concerning the theological virtue of faith, she mentioned this incident… 


Her spirit of faith allowed her to see all things from a spiritual point of view. The letters she wrote to me spoke only of God and she only ever considered events from the point of view of faith. When our father died, she wrote (20th August 1894):

I am thinking more than ever about you ever since our dear Father went up to heaven… Papa’s death does not give me the impression of a death but of a real life. I am finding him once more after an absence of 6 years, I feel him around me, looking at me and protecting me. Dear little Sister, are we not more united now that we gaze on the heavens to find there a Father and a Mother who offered us to Jesus? … Soon their desires shall be accomplished, and all the children God gave them are going to be united to Him forever.

Saint Louis Martin died 29 July 1894

Read more from Léonie, Witness 7 at the Diocese of Lisieux Interrogatory

 

sea of clouds sunrise wallpaper
Photo by Rahul on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

 

Quote of the day: 22 July

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

The last words of Manuscript C

Manuscript C, folios 36 verso and 37 recto


My dear Mother, now I would like to tell you what I understand by the fragrance of the perfumes of the Beloved.

Since Jesus has re-ascended to Heaven, I can only follow him through the footprints that he left, but how illuminated are these footprints, how aromatic they are! I only have to cast my eyes on the holy gospel; all of a sudden I’m breathing in the perfumes of the life of Jesus and I know on which side to run…

It’s not the first place, but the last place that I aim for; rather than moving forward with the pharisee, I repeat, full of trust, the humble prayer of the tax-collector;

but above all I imitate the conduct of Magdalene: her astonishing—or rather her loving audacity—that charms the Heart of Jesus, seduces mine.

Yes, I feel it, even if I had on my conscience all the sins that can be committed, I would go—my heart, broken in repentance—throw myself in the arms of Jesus because I know how much he cherishes the prodigal child who comes back to Him.

It’s not because the good God, in his prevenient mercy, has preserved my soul from mortal sin that I raise myself to Him through trust and love…

 

MsC36v j'imite la Madeleine (crop)
But above all I imitate the conduct of Magdalene: her astonishing—or rather her loving audacity—that charms the Heart of Jesus, seduces mine. | Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux (used by permission)

 


Renowned Discalced Carmelite scholar Father François-Marie Léthel concluded Meditation 8 of the 2011 Lenten Exercises for the Roman Curia by citing this final paragraph from Manuscript C. He also notes that, at the same moment, Thérèse writes to her spiritual brother Bellière:

You love St. Augustine, St. Magdalene; these souls to whom “many sins were forgiven because they loved much”. Me too, I love them; I love their repentance, and especially… their loving audacity! When I see Magdalene come forward in the midst of the numerous guests, showering the feet of her adorable Master with her tears, that she’s touching for the first time, I sense that her heart has understood the abysses of love and mercy of the Heart of Jesus and that, total sinner that she is, this Heart of love is not only disposed to pardon her but still more to lavish upon her the benefits of his divine intimacy, to lift her up to the highest summits of contemplation. Ah! my dear little Brother, since it was given to me also to understand the love of the Heart of Jesus, I admit to you that has chased away all fear from my heart. The memory of my faults humiliates me, it brings me to never learn on my strength, which is only a weakness, but even more this memory speaks to me of mercy and love. How—when you throw your faults with total, filial trust in the burning all-consuming brazier of love—how wouldn’t they be consumed without coming back?”

Read Father John Clarke’s translation of Letter 247 from Saint Thérèse to Abbé Maurice Bellière (21 June 1897) here.

 


Nota Bene: We have elected to be as faithful to the original text as possible in our translation, avoiding a re-cast into contemporary idioms. There is the age-old question among translators of French: does avoir confiance mean to be confident, to have confidence, or does it mean to trust? As an example, again and again today, theological translators agree: the best and truest translation of Jésus, j’ai confiance en toi is, Jesus, I trust in you.

 

Lethel, François-Marie. (2011) La Lumière du Christ dans le Coeur de l'Église: Jean-Paul II et la théologie des saints. 
© 2011, Librairie Éditrice Vaticane. Pour la langue française: © Éditions Parole et Silence, 2011.
Translations from the French are the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

 

 

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