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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

St. Therese of Lisieux - The Little Flower

A couple years ago in October I began a 5 day novena to The Little Flower. On the fifth day, on the bush outside my door, there bloomed a trilogy of white flowers...far out of season. This bush tends to bud and then bloom in late May into June...the flowers are long-lasting and fragrant, but they still wilt all too quickly and drop their petals all across my doorstep. They have a scene which is somewhat similar to roses.

I stared in surprise at the blooms. They were actualy springing from the exact branch from which I had taken the last buds of the previous season. I had offered those last buds to Our Lady as an "I love you" offering.

A year later, I had made my 3-year Confession but was still struggling with many things. I stood in the Confessional line, on a First Friday, I think, trying to phrase what I was going to say. I happened to be standing at the back of the chapel, completely "eye to eye" with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

And deep within me, a voice spoke, "I already know you...I already know what you've done. You don't need that front you put up."

I realized He was right, and those vestiges of Pride fell away, allowing me to go into the Confessional. I went in to a face to face Confession and burst into tears...and I had no idea why. The priest was wonderful and managed to get to the root of the problem. Because there were a few standing in line behind me, he asked me if I would be willing to come back, either that night, at the end of the line, or by appointment. He told me that he thought there was "more there" and he wanted to be able to discuss it with me. I agreed to wait.

I sat in the back of the chapel, near the statue of St. Therese, weeping, trying to contain my tears even a little. I did not take notice of her statue at all.

While I prayed for guidance in finishing my Confession, a woman nudged me gently and said, "I brought this here tonight for someone else, but that person isn't here. I think I'm supposed to give it to you."

She placed in my hands a xeroxed (literally) little booklet of novena prayers to St. Therese and the Litany of St. Therese. I thanked her, weeping even more now. I glanced over at the statue of my patroness, and began to pray. I just had this sense of being surrounded by love, and, my friends...those Saints in Heaven really DO take notice of us, and will interceede for us unsolicited. I think, though, that they just don't always make themselves known..the interceed in private, but that night, St. Therese knew I needed SOMEONE to to share my pain, and she stepped forward with a little spiritual hug.

That winter I read "A Story of a Soul". I had never read it before and just read passages here and there.

I had a dream one night in which I was in an old, fallen-down but under-renovation church, and in the sanctuary were people who didn't seem to know they were in a church. I went towards where the altar and tabernacle were supposed to be, even in their absence not wanting to pollute that space with my presence. On the right side of the altar, there was a hole in the wall and I, being nosy, looked through it. I was taken aback to see that someone, apparently a nun, kneeling with her back to me, praying.

I went to the other side, then realized there was another hole in the wall. I saw a mirror reflecting a person at me, the woman praying. She looked up and smilled her sweet smile...and I realized she was St. Therese!

I was afraid to approach, but she only continued to smile and nodded as though it was ok to approach. I could not see her directly, but only in the reflection of the mirror set at an angle. I could only see her left shoulder and part of her veil.

I prayed to her, asking for her own prayers for me, asking for a flower from Heaven. She nodded, still smiling. I was called to go and so I said my goodbye, thanked her, and was taken away.

I woke up, the dream still hanging on. I berated myself for not having asked for prayers for my family and my friends. I asked only for myself and felt terribly selfish.

That morning, I went to Mass early and brought "A Story of a Soul" with me.

While in Adoration that morning, reading, I came across a passage in the book in which St. Therese describes a dream she had. She met, in the dream, the Foundress of her order and some of the original sisters. She grasped the hand of the Foundress and asked if God was pleased with her and recieved great reassurance.

She woke up from the dream and berated herself for not praying for her loved ones. She called herself "selfish".

I was so struck by this parallel that I nearly fell out of the pew!

I would never dare to compare myself to this wonderful saint, but if only I could be like her! Do not be afraid to ask for her prayers...even if they are not God's will, then perhaps St. Therese will at least leave you a little token of her love and a little spiritual hug to let you know that you are not alone on your journey to be united with Jesus.

St. Therese, the Little Flower
Please pick me a rose from the Heavenly Garden
And send it to me with a message of love
Ask God to Grant me the favor I thee implore
And tell Him I will love Him each day more and more.

Our Father.... (5 times)
Hail Mary......(5 times)
Glory Be.......(5 times)

St. Therese, PRAY FOR US!


Anonymous said...

Dang it Adoro - your posts always make me cry!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, but then, what else can we expect from the little flower? You write beautifully also, -- but more, this is what I needed to hear (read) this morning.

Whether it is a chance (?) reading of the scripture or from a saint's life, many of us have experienced this same coincindence (?) or synchronicity between our lives and what we find on the page at a particular moment. No wonder some have called it "spiritual reading." More, some realize they feel the hand of one long passed on resting on their shoulder or turning the page to just the right spot.

St. Therese, pray for us!

Tim said...

Quote:"She woke up from the dream and berated herself for not praying for her loved ones. She called herself "selfish".

Awwww! That is so cool!

Cynthia Kerr said...

Your story about St. Therese touches me. She is so powerful and she has been so busy, especially since 1997 the year of her centennary. She came into my life on February 9th of that year and today nothing in my life is the same. I am in formation for the Order Carmelites Discalced Secular and own a little catholic story in California. I have struggled these past nine years to know God's will for my life and St. Therese has been there holding my hand and leading me each and every day down her 'little way of spiritual childhood.' I invite you to visit my blog called St. Therese's Little Way. During September I am quoting from Her Last Conversations. I'm not good at html so I'll give you the address the old fashioned way. I also have a website dedicated to St. Therese called God bless you and may St. Therese continue to interecede for you.