Editor’s note: Those of you who want to learn more about Saint Thérèse can also visit Maureen O’Riordan’s blog, “Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: A Gateway,” at http://www.thereseoflisieux.org/.
The Santa Clara OCDS will be sponsoring A Day of Recollection with St.Thérèse, with Maureen as our guest speaker on Saturday, November 11, 2017 at Santa Clara Monastery (1000 Lincoln Street). To register, please go to thespeakroom DONATE tab. ($20 donation suggested, but any amount is appreciated!)
In her Autobiography, St. Therése expresses the heavens being opened in her heart. Experiencing this inspired her desires to want to be everything in what builds up the body of Christ, wanting to be everything in what gives glory to God. She wanted to embrace all vocations, and it was God who inspired her to have these desires.
She realized that her longings were way bigger than herself and that she needed back up. She remembers the great story of prophet Elijah and Elisha. She says she remembers, “the prayer of Elisha to his father Elijah, when he dared to ask him for his double spirit.” Now Elijah was a giant of a prophet, the greatest after Moses and before John the Baptist. He was a real magnanimous man, larger than life. To ask a double portion of this man, was a huge request.
St. Therése continues, “I presented myself before the angels and saints” – all of them, not just one or two. She presents herself before the whole heavenly court and says to them, ‘I am the smallest of creatures. I know my misery and my feebleness.’ Be mindful, that her statements are not just pious, flowery, sentimental language; from the depths of her being, she knows her nothingness. She is in touch with the truth and reality of who she is when left to herself.
However, she recognizes and knows, “how much noble and generous hearts love to do good. I beg you then, oh blessed inhabitants of heaven, I beg you to adopt me as your child. To you alone will be the glory which you will make me merit, but deign to answer my prayer. It is bold, I know. However, I dare to ask you to obtain for me your two-fold love.”
That request is reminiscent of when the Lord God in our midst commands to the prophet Isaiah, before he prophesied the coming of Emmanuel, “Ask for a sign. Let it be bigger than the heavens and wider than the sky and forest that you could possibly imagine. Ask for a sign.” In other words, through the prophet Isaiah, God asks His people, ‘Expand your heart. Have great hopes and expectations of who God is and how much of Himself He wants to give. Don’t have little hopes. Let your heart be widened.’
Thérese widens her heart as much as can be imaginably conceived, and she says to all the angels and saints, “Give me a double portion of your spirit!” All of them!
To prove that this was not just a fantasy and a part of her imagination, after her life, her posthumous mission, the mission that came about after she left this world and went to heaven, all of the desires that the Lord planted in her like seeds, produced a harvest on this earth. God fulfilled in her life all the desires that He planted in her in this world. As a prophetess, St. Thérese speaks so loudly to us of the truth, the reality of the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, the reality of the spiritual world. She also points us to the very tangible, substantial, real world of the interior life. Even though we might not necessarily always have the external signs the interior experiences, nevertheless, that is more real than what we can perceive with our senses because it’s eternal (to be continued).
Saint Thérèse, pray for us.
(SOURCE: Cristo Rey Retreat, San Francisco, September 2015)
Copyright 2016, Fr. Robert Barcelos. All rights reserved
Feast Day Novena Prayer
(This prayer is used by the Carmelites during the Feast Day Novena)
St. Therese, Flower of fervor and love, please intercede for us. Fill our hearts with your pure love of God. As we approach and celebrate your feast day, make us more aware of the goodness of God and how well He tends His garden. Instill in us your little way of doing ordinary things with extra-ordinary love.
Give us the heart of a child who wonders at life and embraces everything with loving enthusiasm. Teach us your delight in God’s ways so that divine charity may blossom in our hearts. Little Flower of Jesus, bring our petitions (mention in silence here) before God, our Father.
With your confidence, we come before Jesus as God’s children, because you are our heavenly friend. As we celebrate the Feast Day of your homecoming in heaven, continue to shower roses and grace upon us.