St Thérèse: The Living Garden of the Lord

Thérèse often pondered the fact that there is such a disparity between souls, some of whom are blessed to live their whole lives as great saints, while others are deeply flawed and continuously fall along their journey. She wondered how the smaller, flawed souls could be assured of Heaven, since they were much weaker than the greater souls. This saint, who believed herself to be one of the deeply flawed souls, prayed fervently to be enlightened on the subject, and described her enlightenment in her autobiography:

“[Jesus] opened the book of nature before me, and I saw that every flower He has created has a beauty of its own, that the splendor of the rose and the lily’s whiteness do not deprive the violet of its scent nor make less ravishing the daisy’s charm. I saw that if every little flower wished to be a rose, Nature would lose her spring adornments, and the fields would no longer be enameled with their varied flowers. “

So it is in the world of souls, the living garden of the Lord. It pleases Him to create great saints, who may be compared with the lilies or the rose, but He has also created little ones, who must be content to be daisies or violets, nestling at His feet to delight His eyes when He should choose to look at them. The happier they are to be as He wills, the more perfect they are.

“I saw something further: that Our Lord’s love shines out just as much through a little soul who yields completely to His Grace as it does through the greatest. True love is shown in self-abasement, and if everyone were like the saintly doctors who adorn the Church, it would seem that God had not far enough to stoop when He came to them … What delights Him is the simplicity of these flowers of the field, and by stooping so low to them, He shows how infinitely great He is. Just as the sun shines equally on the cedar and the little flower, so the Divine Son shines equally on everyone, great and small.”

Thus, though Saint Thérèse of Lisieux is one of the roses of Our Lord’s garden, her encouragement for all souls, especially the least, is of the greatest value to those of us who despair that we will never rise above our own lowliness. On the contrary, St. Thérèse teaches us that we should not dwell on our faults and imperfections, but instead recognise and rejoice in our smallness, for this condition will surely get us to Heaven if we persevere in such holy simplicity. It will become the soul of the spiri­tual life, since it consists precisely in purity of intention. Simplicity gives to the life of the spirit all its depth and value. The simple soul is ever pleasing to God, because it ever looks toward Him, and seeks for Him always, having no ambition other than to do His will in order to procure His glory.
“That I may live in an act of perfect love, I OFFER MYSELF AS A VICTIM OF HOLOCAUST TO THY MERCIFUL LOVE, imploring Thee to consume me unceasingly, and to let the tide of infinite tenderness pent up in Thee, overflow into my soul, that so I may become a very martyr of Thy Love, O my God.
“May this martyrdom, having first prepared me to appear before Thee, break life’s thread at the last, and may my soul take its flight, unretarded, into the eternal embrace of Thy Merciful Love.
“I desire, O Well-Beloved, at every heartbeat to renew this Oblation an infinite number of times, till the shadows decline and face to face I can tell Thee my love eternally.”

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2 Responses to St Thérèse: The Living Garden of the Lord

  1. Mary Salmond says:

    Today is the feast of St. Maria Goretti who wished to be a lily also, pure and white. Oh that the girls and woman of today would have that same desire, to be virgins outside the religious life and be an example for all woman.

    Liked by 1 person

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