The perfume vase

J.M.J.T.

July 22, 1897 – Feast of St. Magdalene

Jesus +

“Let the just man break me out of compassion for sinners, let the oil with which one perfumes his head not weaken mine.”

I cannot be broken, tried, except by the just, since all my Sisters are pleasing to God. It is less bitter to be broken by a sinner than by a just man; but out of compassion for sinners in order to obtain their conversion, I ask You, oh, my God! that I may be broken for them by the just souls who surround me.

I ask You, too, that the oil of praise so sweet to nature may not weaken my head, that is, my mind, by making me believe I possess virtues that I have hardly practiced several times. Oh, Jesus, Your name is like oil poured out; it is in this divine perfume that I want to bathe myself entirely, far from the eyes of creatures….

Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Letter 259 to Sr. Geneviève

Mary Magdalene LA TOUR Georges LACMA
The Magdalen with the Smoking Flame
Georges de La Tour (French, 1593-1652)
Oil on canvas, 1635-37
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

 

View the original manuscript of St. Thérèse’s letter to Sr. Geneviève—her sister Paulineat the website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux.

Marie du jour: 31 May

Why I Love You, O Mary!

You make me feel that it’s not impossible
To follow in your footsteps, O Queen of the elect.
You made visible the narrow road to Heaven
While always practicing the humblest virtues.
Near you, Mary, I like to stay little.
I see the vanity of greatness here below.
At the home of Saint Elizabeth, receiving your visit,
I learn how to practice ardent charity.

~   ~   ~

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Why I Love You, O Mary (PN54, Stanza 6)

Saint Thérèse’s first draft of the poem is featured in the image above. Stanza 6 is the second stanza on the right side of the page. Lines 5-6 and 7-8 of the stanza appear in brackets.

 

Bell, Robert Anning, 1863-1933; The Meeting of the Virgin and Saint Elizabeth
The Meeting of the Virgin and Saint Elizabeth
Robert Anning Bell (British, 1863–1933)
Tempera on linen, 1910
Manchester Art Gallery
This is a biblical scene of Saint Elizabeth receiving the visit of the Virgin Mary. Elizabeth is dressed in gray and red robes and is kneeling and clutching at the waist of Mary, who is dressed in blue and white robes. Mary is bending over to take Elizabeth’s face in her hands. It is set in a flat landscape with a low horizon. The two women are framed by the wall of a building immediately behind them to their right, and some shrubbery further away in the center and left.

 


View the complete image of St. Thérèse’s first draft of the poem, an image of her second draft, details of her corrections, and images of the finished poem and its full text in English or French at the website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux.

Marie du jour: 13 May

All of a sudden the Blessed Virgin appeared beautiful to me, so beautiful that I never had seen anything so beautiful; her face radiated an ineffable tenderness and goodness, but what penetrated to the depths of my soul was the “ravishing smile of the Blessed Virgin.”

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Manuscript A, Folio 30 recto

Vierge du Sourire Les Buissonnets
Les Buissonnets – Virgin of the Smile, Lisieux, France | Photo: Jim, the Photographer / Flickr

 

Manuscript A translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission

Quote of the day: 26 April

Dear Céline, you who used to ask me so many questions when we were little, I wonder how it happened that you had never asked me this question: “Why did God not create me an angel?” Ah, Céline, I shall tell you what I think. If Jesus did not create you an angel in heaven, it is because He wants you to be an angel on earth; yes, Jesus wants to have His heavenly court here below just as up above! He wants angel-martyrs, He wants angel-apostles, and He has created an unknown little flower, who is named Céline, with this intention in mind. He wills that His little flower save souls for Him; for this, He wills only one thing: that His flower look at Him while suffering her martyrdom. …

Oh! Céline, let us love Jesus to infinity, and from our two hearts let us make only one so that it may be greater in love!…

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Letter 127 (excerpt) to her sister, Céline Martin
26 April 1891


NDLR: The original French text,  il a créé une petite fleur ignorée qui se nomme Céline, is clearly a reference to the close relationship between Thérèse who referred to herself as une petite fleure blanche (literally, little flower white), and to her sister, to whom she ascribes here the title, une petite fleure ignorée (literally, little flower unknown). With all due respect to the Rev. Father John Clarke, O.C.D. for his monumental work as the U.S. translator of the letters of St. Thérèse, we think there was a missed opportunity to show this intimate relationship in the rendering of the title in this translation. As you will see in the full text of the letter, Fr. Clarke elected to translate Céline’s title as a little unknown flower. We believe that the order of the adjectives could easily be interchanged and the fullness of the relationship between the two little flowers would be more apparent and better appreciated by the reader. We have indicated this above by editing his translation: “unknown little flower”. As we are the first to admit, traduire c’est trahir (the translator is a traitor).

nature field flowers grass
Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

Quote of the day: 10 February

That superabundant share of divine light and grace enkindled in Thérèse so ardent a flame of love, that she lived by it alone, rising above all created things, till in the end it consumer her; so much so that shortly before her death she could candidly avow she had never given God anything but Love…

Therefore do We desire earnestly that all the Faithful of Christ should render themselves worthy of partaking in the abundant profusion of graces resulting from the intercession of “little Thérèse.” But We desire much more earnestly that all the faithful should study her in order to copy her, becoming children themselves, since otherwise they cannot, according to the oracle of the Master, arrive at the Kingdom of Heaven.

If the way of spiritual childhood became general, who does not see how easily would be realized the reformation of human society which We set ourselves to accomplish at the commencement of our Pontificate…

Pope Pius XI
Homily for the Canonization of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus
17 May 1925

1925-canonisation-204x87_Sr Marie du Saint Esprit

Quote of the day: 31 January

Springtime story of a little white flower written by herself and dedicated to the Reverend Mother Agnes of Jesus. It is to you, dear Mother, to you who are doubly my Mother, that I come to confide the story of my soul.

St Therese of the Child Jesus
Story of a Soul, MsA 02r

Quote of the day: 2 January

My little girl was born last night, Thursday [January 2], at eleven-thirty. She’s very strong and in very good health. They tell me she weighs eight pounds. Let’s say six, which is still not bad. She seems very sweet… I barely suffered a half hour. What I felt before was practically nothing. She’ll be baptized tomorrow, Saturday.

Saint Zélie Guérin Martin
Letter from Mme Martin to Mme Guérin, January 3, 1873

Advent 4: Revealed to babes

When a gardener carefully tends a fruit he wants to ripen before its time, it’s not to leave it hanging on a tree but to set it on his table. It was with such an intention that Jesus showered His graces so lavishly upon His little flower, He, who cried out in His mortal life: “I thank thee, Father, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and the prudent and revealed them to babes,” willed to have His mercy shine out in me. Because I was little and weak He lowered Himself to me, and He instructed me secretly in the things of His love.

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus

 

47384013_1796047600522748_3642176131508994048_o
Photo by Father David Bohnsack, M.C.C.J.
Fr. David is a Comboni Missionary from North America who is currently serving in Chad. Learn more about Comboni Missions on the North American Province website

 

Cuando un jardinero rodea de cuidados a una fruta que quiere que madure antes de tiempo, no es para dejarla colgada en el árbol, sino para presentarla en una mesa ricamente servida. Con parecida intención prodigaba Jesús sus gracias a su florecita… El, que en los días de su vida mortal exclamó en un transporte de alegría: «Te doy gracias, Padre, porque has escondido estas cosas a los sabios y a los entendidos, y las has revelado a la gente sencilla», quería hacer resplandecer en mí su misericordia. Porque yo era débil y pequeña, se abajaba hasta mí y me instruía en secreto en las cosas de su amor.

Santa Teresa del Niño Jesús

The Story of a Soul: Manuscript C, folio numbers 48 verso and 49 recto
Translated by Fr. John Clarke, O.C.D.
Archives du Carmel de Lisieux
Copyright © by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

St. Thérèse and the First World War

Sister Thérèse, the humble wildflower, emboldened me and made me see that Jesus loved the humble in a very special way. She instills courage within me and, with her, I wait and hope… she has completed my conversion.

During the First World War of 1914-1918, the presence of Sister Thérèse in the trenches was extraordinarily tangible. The voluminous mail from that period asks for her support and a large quantity of ex-votos were offered to the Carmelite Sister as tokens of gratitude.

The official website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux offers a sample of mail received from the front line, a selection of illustrated letters, postcards and holy cards, as well as ex-voto offerings from grateful soldiers.

Explore the Lisieux Carmelite Archives in English here

bannieres14-18 WW1 (2)

Drawn from the depths of the abyss of disbelief, I’m slowly journeying towards faith. Intensely aware of my own indigence, I one day came across Story of a Soul, which the chaplain at our camp lent to me. And there I read that there is one road, and one joy, which is called holy joy, and that even simple souls can follow it and won’t go astray. Sister Thérèse, the humble wildflower, emboldened me and made me see that Jesus loved the humble in a very special way. She instills courage within me and, with her, I wait and hope… she has completed my conversion. When I have the honor of going to fight, I would like Sister Thérèse – henceforth my patron saint – to accompany me. I will take her with me in my heart and in my head but I would like a flower from her grave to be placed in my wallet, against my heart.
Charles Gérard, Caporal
February, 1916

Explore the Lisieux Carmelite Archives in English here

Battlefield shower of roses

THERESE - her powerlessness BLOGsize
Novena Prayer
St. 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.

Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Day 8

Scripture – Galatians 5:19, 22-25

What human nature does is quite plain. But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires. The Spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives.

Reading – Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D., from his retreat to the Carmel of Pontoise, 1943

There are two ways of communing with God. The first is the sacramental way, by reception of the Sacred Host, which allows us to bear Christ’s presence within ourselves. The second and unceasing way consists of God giving himself to us every moment of every day of our lives. In this way, God comes to us in the form of a duty, a joy or a sorrow. God comes to us in other persons, such as an unappealing [person] with whom we have to work or a congenial [friend] with whom we sit at [a meal]. In all these situations, it is God who comes to us, but we do not realize his presence. Yet, whatever the form behind which he hides and whatever the garb in which he presents himself, he is the God of Wisdom, Omnipotence, and Love without limits.

We will be saints, with holiness like that of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila and the Little Flower, when God comes to us no longer in divine radiance, but in the form of a crushing threat to our life. Such was the experience of Christ in his Passion. Even if our human nature recoils in fear and trembling, we will be able to commune with God within the recesses of our soul through abandonment. There lies the key to God’s love and peace.

Novena Prayer

O Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me
and show me herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands!

Excerpt from Listen to the Silence: A Retreat With Père Jacques
Translated and Edited by Francis J. Murphy 
Copyright © 2005 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

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