Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By F. K. Bartels

10/1/2015 (11 months 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 (11 months 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.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for SEPTEMBER 2016
Universal:
Centrality of the Human Person: That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the center.
Evangelization: Mission to Evangelize: That by participating in the Sacraments and meditating on Scripture, Christians may become more aware of their mission to evangelize.



Comments


More Christian Saints & Heroes

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

By Youngsun Jun

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 deliverance of the souls who are in the darkness. I can request help from the angels for them. I can make a 911 call for them. So again, I ... continue reading


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

Image of

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

The Catechism of the Catholic Church informs us - The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls 'angels' is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition (328). Charged by God to ... continue reading


My Memoir of St. Padre Pio: Price of Suffering and Beatification by the Brush of Grace

Image of Padre Pio in death.

By Matt Hicks

Miraculous testimony of an elite level gymnast touched by Padre Pio: 'Pio, like all the saints, is like the window-washer that scales tall buildings to clear away the muck and allow us to see His luminous rays aflame. God sends them, as He pushes us forward, ... continue reading


Which is it? Saint Teresa of Calcutta or Mother Teresa of Kolkata Watch

Image of The icon of Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

There is confusion over the proper title of Mother Teresa. Her name is appearing in the media as both "Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta" and "Mother Teresa of Kolkata," sometimes written with the word "Mother" and sometimes without. Which is correct? LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


The saints are real and active in our lives! Saint Padre Pio intercedes on behalf of baby with critical heart condition Watch

Image of Saint Padre Pio has been credited with intercession that saved the life of baby Caitlin Dooley.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The saints are real and active in our lives. This is more obvious than ever following the miraculous recovery of a baby in an Irish intensive care unit. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - A relic of Saint Padre Pio has been credited with a dramatic improvement in ... continue reading


Clare of Assisi as Model: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Calls for Women of Courage to Renew the Church Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In her convent of San Damiano, Clare heroically practiced the virtues that should characterize all Christians: humility, a spirit of piety and penance, and charity.  Her fame of sanctity and the prodigies that came about thanks to her intervention led Pope ... continue reading


Fr. Paul Schenck on Edith Stein: Daughter of Israel, Daughter of the Church Watch

Image of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, Edith Stein, Catholic feminist, philosopher and martyr of Auschwitz: Throughout her life, Edith never renounced or denounced her Jewish identity. Rather, as demonstrated in her memoir, her participation in Jewish customs at home, her letter to the Pope and in her correspondences, she spoke of her Jewish roots as intrinsic to her self-identification, to her views and even to aspects of her vocation

By Fr. Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck

August 9 is the Memorial of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, Edith Stein, Catholic feminist, philosopher and martyr of Auschwitz. In this sketch, Fr. Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck, Jewish born priest and Chair of the National Pro-Life Center (Washington, DC), examines the ... continue reading


Saint Ignatius of Loyola Challenges All of Us to Become Saints Watch

Image of On July 31st we remember the founder of the Company or Society of Jesus (Jesuits), Ignatius of Loyola. He is the patron saint of soldiers and of retreatants. There is a connection. He was a soldier and the Spiritual Exercise which he left us have been used for hundreds of years to help men and women like us encounter Jesus Christ, on retreats, and in our daily lives. The disciplines they promote can help us to grow in holiness of life, no matter what our state in life, and equip us for service in the Army of the King, Jesus Christ.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Over the centuries, the Jesuits have been relied upon by Popes as trustworthy, heroic soldiers for Jesus Christ and His Church. Yes, there have been times when the company seemed to lose its fervor. However, Jesus Christ the King has always sent His Spirit to ... continue reading


St Irenaeus of Lyon Teaches Us How to Know God Watch

Image of Irenaeus of Lyon wrote these words - The glory of God gives life; those who see God receive life. For this reason, God-who cannot be grasped, comprehended, or seen-allows Himself to be seen, comprehended, and grasped by men, that He may give life to those who see and receive Him. It is impossible to live without life, and the actualization of life comes from participation in God, while participation in God is to see God and enjoy His goodness.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

This great defender of the faith insisted on the central claim of Christianity: God can be known and loved-indeed, that is why He came into our midst in the person of His Son; so that through a  relationship with Jesus Christ, man could participate in the ... continue reading


Here's 3 reasons why the canonization of Mother Teresa matters to you Watch

Image of Mother Teresa of Calcutta is an example for all to follow, even the nonbeliever.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

On September 4, 2016, Pope Francis will canonize Mother Teresa as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Her canonization is an important event for Catholics and all people around the world. Here are 3 reasons why. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When Mother Teresa ... continue reading


All Christian Saints & Heroes News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
9 While I was watching, thrones were set in place and one most venerable ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 138:1-2, 2-3, 4-5
1 [Of David] I thank you, Yahweh, with all my heart, for you have ... Read More

Gospel, John 1:47-51
47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, 'There, truly, is an ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 29th, 2016 Image

St. Michael the Archangel
September 29: Saint Michael the Archangel isn't a saint, but ... Read More