Skip to content

Vocation to Love. Memorial of Saint Theresa of The Child Jesus, Virgin

By F. K. Bartels
10/1/2015 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In the life of The Little Flower we find a drive to love to the end

The Little Flower of Jesus sacrificed her life for love of souls. She saw the magnitude of her Beloved's love for them. She offered herself for the building up of the Church, the People of God and the Mystical Body of Christ. That is truly a vocation of love, a love which is bound up in the Supreme Love, our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. The Little Flower's life was one of beauty, joy, and wonder, a life which continues to affect members of the Church to this day. Here death did not mark the end of her vocation of love, but sparked a new reality of "beginning" in which she continues to touch souls the world over, inflaming within them her ardent desire to love to the end.

St. Theresa died on September 30, 1897. As a result of her sanctity and the many miracles which were accounted to her intercession, the cause for her canonization was introduced only seventeen years later.

St. Theresa died on September 30, 1897. As a result of her sanctity and the many miracles which were accounted to her intercession, the cause for her canonization was introduced only seventeen years later.

Highlights

By F. K. Bartels
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
10/1/2015 (2 years ago)

Published in Christian Saints & Heroes

Keywords: saints, st theresa, the little flower, intercession, miracles, mission


GLADE PARK, CO (Catholic Online) -- Known as the Little Flower of Jesus, St. Theresa (Therese of Lisieux) was born at Alencon in France, in 1873. She was the ninth child of Louis and Zelie Martin, both saintly parents, who had each desired to consecrate their own lives to God in the religious life. Denied that vocation, Louis and Zelie focused their energy on another lofty vocation: the married life in which parents raise children for love of God, instilling in their hearts true knowledge of purpose and destiny. Thus raised in a loving home, the "first church" in which her parents carefully nurtured all their children in the womb of Christian virtue and love, St. Theresa's vocation to the religious life manifested itself while she was yet only a young child. By God's grace, she heard the silent yet persistent call of devotion in her heart, one which drew her toward a life of love, poverty, obedience and self-sacrifice, a life in which she could give of herself completely to her Beloved.

As the whisper in her heart which urged her to commend her life to God increased, seeing no other life for herself but that of the religious life, St. Theresa sought permission to enter the Carmelite Convent at age fifteen, only to be refused by the superior, which brought her as well as her father, who was eager to give his daughter to God, no small amount of suffering. As a result, father and daughter traveled to Rome as two companions on a saintly mission in order to seek the consent of Pope Leo XIII. The Holy Father, however, preferred that the decision remain in the hands of the superior, who indeed consented only a short time later, on 9 April, 1888. The Little Flower of Jesus was only fifteen. At last the desire of her heart, one placed there by God himself, had been granted, and, St. Theresa, following in the steps of two of her older sisters, joyously entered the convent of Lisieux, a tranquil place of peaceful prayer, silent contemplation, and fervent love of neighbor.

The Little Flower lived that religious life for eleven years; the Gospel life, a life marked by humility, evangelical simplicity, poverty and all the rest; a life of constant growth in holiness, hidden in God, in which incomparable gifts of advanced prayer, contemplation, and mystical union rained from heaven. Yet what clearly stands out in her wondrous life of Christian virtue is her trust in God, a trust so great that, as we clearly see in her eagerness to enter the convent, she was able to fearlessly and joyously throw herself at our Savior's feet at such a tender age.

The Little Flower of Jesus: The Vocation of Love

So great was St. Theresa's love for Christ, so strong her desire to give totally and completely, that she longed to die a martyr's death. In her autobiography, written in obedience to her superior and published two years after her death, St. Theresa wrote, "Since my longing for martyrdom was powerful and unsettling, I turned to the epistles of Saint Paul in the hope of finally finding an answer." Yet, on her first reading, she would not find such an answer.

"I read that not everyone can be an apostle, prophet or teacher, that the Church is composed of a variety of members, and that the eye cannot be the hand. Even with such an answer revealed before me, I was not satisfied and did not find peace."

St. Theresa continued reading until she found what she termed an "encouraging theme": "Set your desires on greater gifts. And I will now show you the way which surpasses all others" (cf. 1 Cor 12:31).

The answer that the Beloved revealed to St. Theresa was love, queen of the virtues: love would be her calling, love her vocation, love her life. It was love that would bring her peace: "For the Apostle insists that the greater gifts are nothing at all without love and that this same love is surely the best path leading directly to God. At length I had found peace of mind.

"When I looked upon the mystical body of the Church, I recognized myself in none of the members which St. Paul described, and what is more, I desired to distinguish myself more favorably within the while body. Love appeared to me to be the hinge for my vocation. Indeed I knew that the Church . . . had a heart and that such a heart appeared to be aflame with love. I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed there blood no more. I saw and realized that love sets off the bounds of all vocations, that love is everything, that this same love embraces every time and every place. In one word, that love is everlasting.

"Then, nearly ecstatic with supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my proper place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction."

The Little Flower of Jesus: Prudent And Wise, Driven To Love To The End

In the Office of Readings -- from the Liturgy Of The Hours, the official and public prayer of the Church -- antiphon in Common of Virgins we read, "Radiant virgin, prudent and wise, you are the spouse of the holy Word of God." St. Theresa displayed profound prudence and wisdom in her trust in God; in her understanding of the holy Catholic Church as a nourishing mother whose life is lived for the sake of her children; in her penetrating grasp of the vocation of love; and in her unwaveringly fervent desire to travel farther along the path of Christ's will.

St. Theresa of The Child Jesus was, we might say, driven to love to the end. Is this not what our Savior was? Our God who, driven by a resplendent, divine love beyond our understanding, loved us to the end? Further, it is our Savior who continues to truly give of himself in Eucharist, received, celebrated and adored by millions upon millions around the world each day. That is Love given to the end and beyond, a Love which is perpetuated for all time, flowing into eternity itself. St. Theresa recognized this Love in her Beloved, and sought to model her life after this Love of magnificence beyond comparison.

The Little Flower of Jesus sacrificed her life for love of souls, for their salvation and entry into the heavenly Kingdom, and for the building up of the Church, the People of God and the Mystical Body of Christ, for she saw the magnitude of her Beloved's love for them. That is truly a vocation of love, a love which is bound up in the Supreme Love, our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

St. Theresa died on September 30, 1897. As a result of her sanctity and the many miracles which were accounted to her intercession, the cause for her canonization was introduced only seventeen years later. The Little Flower's life was one of beauty, joy, and wonder, a life which continues to affect members of the Church to this day. Therefore her death did not mark the end of her vocation of love, but rather sparked a new reality of "beginning" in which she continues to touch souls the world over, inflaming within them her ardent desire to love to the end.

----------------

F. K. Bartels is a Catholic writer who knows his Catholic faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever have. He is managing editor of catholicpathways.com, and a contributing writer for Catholic Online.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for OCTOBER 2017
Workers and the Unemployed.
That all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good.


Comments


More Christian Saints & Heroes

Experts think they have found the tomb of the REAL Santa Claus Watch

Image of The tomb of the real Saint Nicholas may have just been found.

Archaeologists suspect they have found the tomb of the actual saint behind Santa Claus. The saint, who was thought to be in Italy until ... continue reading


A Promise to God: St. Michael the Archangel, Defend Us in Battle Watch

Image of Michael is also represented in icons as standing on a horizontal body and with his left arm held high, holding a small image of a

Though I am not strong enough to hold the suffering souls in my arms and carry them home, I can do one thing: I can pray for the ... continue reading


The Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael: Archangels and Powerful Spiritual Allies Sent by Love and for Love Watch

Image of

The Catechism of the Catholic Church informs us - The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls ... continue reading


The Assumption of Mary

Image of

Why is the Assumption important? First, lets look at what this dogma is all about. On 1 November, 1950, Pope Pius XII issued the Apostolic ... continue reading


FEAST: St. Dominic and the Order of Preachers Watch

Image of St. Dominic: In his conversations and letters he often urged the brothers of the Order to study constantly the Old and New Testaments. He always carried with him the gospel according to Matthew and the epistles of Paul, and so well did he study them that he almost knew them from memory.

Today we honor Dominic. As the thirteenth century began, great errors were deceiving many of the faithful in the south of France. ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Catholic Online MasterClass
Learn from experts

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Catholic Media Missionaries
The New Evangelization

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.