Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Little Flower

Today is the feast day of St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, as she called herself. I have a great devotion to St. Therese and it was a blessing this morning to be able to share with a group of women a relic I have of St. Therese. Given to me by my good friend, Anne, it is a relic of a small piece of St. Therese's brown Carmelite habit. I actually have two relics of St. Therese. One I received as a gift and the other one I sent to Rome for. 
Interesting information about the spiritual classic, "The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux-The Story of A Soul," appears in the introduction to John Beever's translation of the book,  In the first 12 years, forty-seven thousand copies were sold. Between 1910 and 1915 a hundred and sixty-four thousand copies were brought. Today millions of copies have spread throughout the world and it has been translated into 38 languages (probably more by now). It is the great best-seller of this century. Yet at first sight there is nothing extraordinary about it, nothing to warrant this phenomenal success. The Story of a Soul is not a great literary work. As literature it cannot be compared with St. Augustine's Confessions, with St. Teresa's autobiography (St. Teresa of Avila) or with St. Francis de Sales's Introduction to a Devout Life......Once read it cannot be forgotten. And the range of its appeal is tremendous: simple, ill-educated people and great scholars read it. It is a book which moves peasants and popes. Men and women of every race and of every kind of intelligence and education succumb to its spell...Yet it is a great book, an unforgettable book and a book whose influence deepens and widens every year.  We go wrong, I think, because we judge it by normal and natural standards. But it is not a normal or a natural book. It is abnormal because it is a supernatural book. In the words of Pius XI, St. Therese 'attained to the knowledge of supernatural things in such abundant measure that she was able to point out the sure way of salvation to others.'
She called her doctrine 'the little way of spiritual childhood,' and it is based on complete and unshakeable confidence in God's love for us.
Happy Feast Day to all Carmelites and all others too!

I desire, in a word, to be a saint, but I feel my helplessness and I beg you, O my God to be yourself my sanctity.
St. Therese of Lisieux- Died at the young age of 24-She is the youngest Doctor of the Church