Note: I have a song to celebrate Saint Therese’s Feast day
I remember asking Jesus and St. Therese. “Please illuminate something to me. So if you have something you wish to say, please point it out to me.” I asked this of her today, and ohhh, does St. Therese come through when you ask for her prayers, especially on her feast day!
Oh, did St. Therese have her prayer answered for me by our Lord? I opened up the Little Flower’s The Story of a Soul on September 8th, 1896, a letter she wrote.
It was a letter directed toward her superior and her sister, Marie. It was like a literal brick that hit me in the face.
If you have been following my journey in faith, you will know that I had a second conversion experience, where, by the Grace of God, St. Joan came to me in a dream. I don’t know how or why, but I know it in my heart.
Recently, I’ve been troubled by the connection with St. Therese and St. Joan. The Little Flower’s autobiography was silent on our martyr of France. Well, this letter broke that illusion. It was as if the little Carmelite Rose was sitting down beside me and pointing me in the right direction.
“Why are you doubting?” The Little Rose whispers, “The strongest of relationships need little to no words to explain the love between the two.”
Yep, that is most certainly the case.
So what was this revelation?
In Therese’s letter, she was writing to her sister about a dream she had. In this dream, she met the Carmelite founder in France, Venerable Anne of Jesus. However, this Venerable Anne was no ordinary person.
She glowed with a gentle, heavenly radiance of a saint in Heaven. Upon recognizing the saint, St. Therese asked the Carmelite founder if God would leave her on this Earth much longer, to which the founder smiled warmly as if a mother and said, “Yes, soon, soon… I promise you.”
St. Therese asked another question. “Dear Mother, whether God is not asking me for something more than my poor little actions and my desires. Is He happy with me?”
The mother embraced her daughter, Therese, and said, “God is not asking anything else from you, He is happy, very happy!” A little later, St. Therese awoke from the dream.
What struck me the most was the analysis she came up with. It expressed my literal relationship with St. Joan before and after my dream of her. I apologize for this long quote; it is essential.
“Oh Jesus! Now the storm was not roaring, the sky was calm and serene…. I believed, I felt that there is a heaven, and that heaven is peopled with the souls who cherish me, who regard me as their child. That impression remains in my heart, so much the better since, up till then…”
Spot on Saint Therese…. she wrote the words I desperately lacked to experience my feelings with my whole encounter. But she explains her relationship with Venerable Anne,
“… I had always been absolutely indifferent toward the Venerable Mother Anne of Jesus. I had never invoked her, and the thought of her never came to my mind except when I heard people talk about her, which was rare. So when I understood to what point she loved me, how little she was indifferent toward me, my heart melted in love and gratitude, not only for the Saint who had visited me but also for all the Blessed ones who dwell in Heaven.”
It was smack to the face for me. The Little Flower explained it so simply. She gave me a piece of the puzzle. The Saints aren’t just heavenly people who are kicking it up in heaven, watching a movie.
No, they are very much active in our lives. Sometimes we come across them. At other times, they find us out of nowhere. When we have these encounters, it’s just mind-breaking.
Saint Therese explains the literal feelings,
“I would not know how to tell you the gladness that I felt in my soul. These things are felt and cannot be expressed.”
How right she was! Words fail us as humans. It is something incomprehensible and unexplainable. I still remember the feelings of that dream I had, where I was terrified of it at first. But, as I developed a relationship with St. Joan, that fear turned into gratitude.
Through my encounter with St. Joan, the Lord taught me that Heaven is full of real people who want to help us. Moreso, St. Joan was introducing herself to me, and ever since that event, when I hear St. Joan, my heart leaps with joy and fondness of my heavenly sister.
Beforehand, I was utterly indifferent! Now, I feel a certain level of admiration for the saints for all their work! Oh, Saint Therese, thank you for pointing me in the right direction. A true blessing on her feast day!
While she helped explain my relationship with the saints with her own encounter, she continued to guide me, for I was growing hesitant with the connection between the two patrons of France.
Yet she patted me on the shoulder,
“With St. Agnes and St. Cecilia, I would present my neck to the sword, and like Joan of Arc, my dear sister, I would like to burned at the stake murmuring you name, Jesus.”
It seems dark, right? Why would Saint Therese want to die like Saint Joan of Arc? Was she insane? Did she enjoy suffering? Yes, but for a different reason.
Love is sacrifice. There is no greater love than laying down your life for a friend.
That is what Saint These explained; she was inspired by the saints, by martyrs. She was most inspired by Saint Joan of Arc, whom she called sister, and how she sacrificed herself with the name of Jesus on her lips. Joan of Arc laid down her life for Jesus, and Saint Therese wanted to do the same.
Yet Saint Therese’s martyrdom would take a different form. It wasn’t dying in persecution. It was dying to herself, denying herself for the love of God.
Taking that inspiration of Saint Joan of Arc, she used it to suffer an arduous martyrdom for the sake of Jesus, for priests, and souls. She won over countless souls by going through droughts of doubt and mundane work while dying from a painful disease that took her life.
I would dare say that I am one of those souls with Saint Joan of Arc.
Thank you, Saint Therese, for making things so simple as always. While I thank Saint Joan for my second conversion, it wouldn’t have been possible without you!
From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
This song expresses my… feelings towards St. Therese. I encourage you to give it a solid listen.
“I’ve been searching many times to fill my emptiness inside. Every day was black and white. Will this last until the end of time?
Not until the day I met you. With your life, I found something true.
Teach me, O St. Therese, in praising God, in loving Jesus.
Guide me, O St. Therese, in living a life so humble. “