I thought it a bit odd when I discovered that St. Cecilia—the patron saint of musicians—didn't actually sing or play an instrument. She was one of those saints whom I was familiar with since childhood; I remember seeing illustrations of her in books, her eyes raised wistfully to heaven, her fingers resting on harp strings or ivory keys. You would think that she had written a famous hymn or... something.
When Thérese was a child, her older sister Leonie decided that she had outgrown some of her playthings. Before giving them away, she offered them to her younger sisters. Celine politely chose a single toy. When it came to Thérese’s turn, she grabbed the entire basket and proclaimed, “I choose all!”
This story illustrates well how this future saint approached the spiritual life. She understood that there are many degrees of holiness and she wanted the very highest degree. “My God,” she cried, “I choose all! … ‘I choose all’ that You will!”
It was Holy Thursday, nearing midnight—that's when all the best conversations happen. A friend and I were discussing a book we had both read recently, 33 Days to Merciful Love, and how in the time of St. Thérese of Lisieux, the Jansenism heresy was shaking the Church in its teeth.
"But if you look at the Church's history," she said, "it was in the times of greatest heresy and upheaval that God raised up the greatest saints."
These words landed on my heart like a kick to the chest and I suddenly found myself blinking back tears. I fought to regain my composure as I felt Jesus say, "I want you to be that saint."
"For me to love You as You love me, I would have to borrow Your own love."
—St. Thérese of Lisieux
What love could a soul offer that would compare to Infinite Love itself? It is impossible.
. . . But like a mother who gives her child some money so that he can pay for the bouquet of flowers he wants to give her, our God gives us his own divine love so that we can love him in a way that we are utterly incapable of otherwise.
The inspiration for this image first came to me a few months ago during mass...
The gospel reading was the parable of the brides waiting for the bridegroom. I pictured the warm glow of light from their lamps, the cool blue of the sleeping town below, their faces turned outward in anticipation for the return of their beloved. But that image, like so many that flit into my imagination at random moments, was lost in the the busyness of life. I did not think of it again until the feast of the Epiphany.
"My past, O Lord, to your mercy; my present, to your love; my future, to your providence."
—Saint Padre Pio
I'm just getting over a nasty flu (ergo the lack of blog post this past week), and boy did it freak me out.
"I do not pray for success, I pray for faithfulness."
— Mother Teresa
The other day I came across this gem from Peter Kreeft:
I think nobody alive today is a more powerful agent of conversion than someone like Mother Teresa. You can refute arguments but not her life. When she came to the National Prayer Breakfast and lectured President Clinton about abortion, he had nothing to say to her. He can’t argue with a saint. It’s too bad there isn’t an easier way, because becoming a saint is not the easiest thing in the world. It’s much easier to become an apologist or a philosopher or a theologian.
"Holiness consists simply in doing God's will, and being just what God wants us to be."
—Saint Therese of Lisieux
This is something I have pondered often, because motherhood—as any mother would attest—is far from glamorous.