Saturday, June 30, 2012

Therese of Lisieux, Part the Third

I realized I hadn't followed up on my journey with Therese, so I'll tie up this loose end & be on my way.  I finished Story of a Soul & remained confounded at why this woman was named a saint. I went on to read commentaries that promoted the appeal of her spirituality to the common man, but something about her still eluded me. I was frustrated. I found myself ending my journal entries with a prayer to St. Therese to show me her little way. I wasn't really expecting anything...

And then it happened.

No, I'm not going to tell you she talked back, but quite suddenly, my thoughts were noticeably more fluid. The words in my head were still in my voice, but it was like they were being dictated rather than thought by me. I went with it. I wrote what I "heard" until I heard no more. Maybe it was just me, maybe it wasn't. But after I went back & reread the entries, I had the impression that perhaps Therese had been listening. 

"The Lord knows how to keep you, but He may not still the storm... 
Rest assured... it won't be dark forever."

"Selflessness is a transition as quick as a twinkle or as slow as molasses... 
How fast you move depends on how you trust."

"Selflessness is the beginning, but selfishness will be your end."

"You are actually completely powerless... submit to the Lord... 
this is the little way." 

This week, I decided to dig out my copy of  the "Imitation of Christ" by Thomas a' Kempis. Therese seemed to adore & draw sustenance from this book over a century ago.  I've cracked it open a few times over the years, but ended up burying it in the graveyard that is my bookshelf. Its a work that needs time to ferment in the soul. As I open it with fresh eyes once again, its taken on a new identity as companion & mentor, much like the Little Flower of Lisieux seems to have become for me. I understand now one of the reasons she's a saint: she endured the mundane with grace. On the surface, there was nothing really extraordinary about her. But when you think about how much suffering there's to be had in everyday life- the getting up & facing each hour, the going to work & dealing with yourself & difficult people all day long... Anyone who can not only endure but find purpose in these things is far more valiant in my eyes than the hero who is martyred for a noble cause or goes off to war & slays a thousand. In a way, it seems Therese has indeed suffered like me... perhaps even more.

1 comment:

  1. You again put a big smile on my face!