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!)
Even though St. Thérèse didn’t much fulfilled in this life, all that God had inspired in her was fulfilled a hundred fold in heaven. We see the concrete proof of that in all that happened after she passed from this world to the next. You have probably heard of the storm of glory that took place after her death. There are many books that outline what St. Thérèse accomplished through her intercessions. Just a few of those highlights will give us an idea of how active the spiritual life is, and how real these desires that God had inspired in her were.
St. Thérèse died in 1897. A year later, already two-thousand copies of A Story of A Soul were made available and disseminated. This wasn’t necessarily foreseen by the rest of the community, and Thérèse thought she was just writing her autobiography for her sister, Pauline. By 1899, two-years later, already the first favors, cures, and miracles started being recorded.
By 1909, twelve years after her death, the cause of her canonization was introduced. The momentum begins to build. Just one year later, 1910, her Carmel received 9741 letters from people in France and foreign countries expressing graces received through her intercession. By 1914, her Carmel received an average of two hundred letters a day. Also on that year, Pope Pius X told a missionary bishop in a private conversation that St. Thérèse was to him, the greatest saint of modern times.
The fruits that are produced in the world show that St. Thérèse had already received the double portion of the spirit of all the angels and saints. She had the intuition and perceived this truth in advance. That is what is so marvelous when you read the last conversations at the end of The Story of A Soul, Manuscript C. In all of her humility, she says, ‘I want to be loved. You have no idea. I am going to spend heaven doing good on earth, and you better keep this book, you better keep this napkin where I coughed up blood, because they’re all going to be priceless someday.’ She knew it, even though there was no physical evidence. She knew the reality of God’s vocation for her in her heart of hearts.
By 1923, St. Thérèse was beautified and Pope Pius XI called her the star of his pontificate. Already the highest person in the Church was referring to this little child, who would’ve been considered perhaps the least of all, as the greatest. Also in 1923, the Carmel where she lived in Lisieux received 800 to 1000 letters daily, not simply asking for intercessions, but expressing gifts that had already been granted. By December 14th, which would later become the Feast of Saint John of the Cross, Pope Pius XI proclaims St. Thérèse the principal patroness, equal to St. Francis Xavier, of all missionaries, of all the missions in the whole world.
‘I want to be a missionary, but just for a few years is not good enough. I want to be a missionary to preach the gospel on all continents of the world, simultaneously from the beginning of time until the end,’ St. Thérese expressed.
That desire could’ve been interpreted as being ludicrous. ‘Come on, you’re getting over-exaggerated, here,’ anyone would’ve thought. She wasn’t over-exaggerating. She would mystically become a missionary and God would grant her a share in His own redemptive mission in an amazing way that continues to be difficult to comprehend, but it is something very, very real.
By 1929, a basilica was constructed in her honor at Lisieux. A basilica was built for this Little Flower, this twenty-four year old girl, who did nothing of what Saint Teresa of Calcutta did, who had never preached a single sermon in her life, and who never did any of the kind of works that might seem to be a cause for success or greatness in worldly standards.
She was totally hidden and seemingly insignificant. Yet barely thirty years after her death, a basilica was made in her honor. That basilica is an outward sign of the greatness of her little soul. Her dream was realized after she passed from this life.
St. Thérèse is a prophetess of the reality of the spiritual world and of the kingdom of God. She confirms that the truth of the interior life of faith, hope, and love is more real than the external world of the temporal life that is passing away. The kingdom of God is 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.