St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus
This month, on October 1, we celebrated the memorial of St. Thérèse of Lisieux . In her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, she describes her spirituality of childlike trust and love of God. In these excerpts, St. Thérèse writes of Christ’s love, which is given to those who share her childlike “littleness.” May her words inspire us to come to Jesus ”like little children” (Matthew 18:2) and remind us that all our seemingly small offerings are pleasing to him.
I am but a weak and helpless child, yet it is my very weakness which makes me dare to offer myself, O Jesus, as a victim to your love. I am a child of the holy Church, and the Church is a queen, because she is now espoused to the Divine King of Kings. I ask not for riches or glory. Nay, I ask for love. To love you, Jesus, is now my only desire. Great deeds are not for me; I cannot preach the gospel or shed my blood. No matter! I, a little child, will stay close to the throne and love you.
Jesus smiles upon his children
But how shall I show my love, since love proves itself by deeds? Well! This little child will strew flowers. She will sing love’s canticle in silvery tones. Yes, my Beloved, my short life shall be spent in your sight. I wish to profit by the smallest actions, and to do them for love. And I will sing—I will sing always, even if my roses must be gathered from amidst thorns. But of what avail to you, my Jesus, are my flowers and my songs? I know it well: this fragrant shower, these delicate petals of little price, these songs of love from a poor little heart like mine, will nevertheless be pleasing unto you. Trifles they are, but you will smile on them.
Fly unto the Divine Eagle!
How can a soul so imperfect as mine aspire to the plenitude of love? What is the key of this mystery? Alas! I am but a poor little unfledged bird. I am not an eagle, although I have an eagle’s eyes and heart! Yet, notwithstanding my exceeding littleness, I dare to gaze upon the Divine Sun of Love, and I burn to dart upwards unto him! I would fly, I would imitate the eagles; but all that I can do is lift up my little wings—it is beyond my feeble power to soar.
O Sun, my only love, I am happy to feel myself so small, so frail in your sunshine, and I am in peace. I know that all the eagles of your celestial court have pity on me, they guard and defend me, they put to flight the vultures—the demons that would devour me. I fear them not, these demons, I am not destined to be their prey, but rather the prey of the Divine Eagle. O my Savior! You are the Divine Eagle whom I love! I know that the saints, being “eagles,” have done great things. I am too little for great things, but I hope that your love accepts me as victim; I will count on the aid of angels and saints, in order that I may fly unto you with your own wings, O my Divine Eagle! I entreat you to let your divine eyes rest upon a vast number of little souls, and I entreat you to choose in this world a legion of little victims of your love!