By: Carol Ann Morrow
Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897) spent her short life almost entirely in France.
She made one exceptional trip to the feet of Pope Leo XIII in Rome. There, at age 15, she boldly asked to
become a cloistered Carmelite.
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In 1894, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus was
asked to write her childhood memories, the beginning of her spiritual
autobiography, Story of a Soul. Its
pages detail the “Little Way of Spiritual Childhood,” which is our path this
May the wisdom of the Little Flower guide your growth
in everyday goodness and greater awareness of grace.
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I come to sing the mercies of the
the first page of her autobiography, Thérèse
writes that her story is a tale of God’s mercies.
the many mercies you have experienced. Begin this season with gratitude.
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Love attracts love.
the end of her story, Thérèse speaks
eloquently of love. She acknowledges that she is able to love
only because Jesus has first loved her. Acknowledge
the love Jesus has placed in your heart as the source of your own acts of love.
Friday after Ash Wednesday
It is in my weakness that I glory and I expect each day to discover new
imperfections in myself.
many, Lent is about the quest to be more perfect. Thérèse freely admitted she was not
perfect but was counting on God’s merciful love. When
you sense your imperfection, ask Jesus to borrow from the rich mine of God’s
Saturday after Ash Wednesday
True glory is that which will last
eternally, and to reach it, it isn’t necessary to perform striking works but to
hide oneself and practice virtue in such a way that the left hand knows not
what the right is doing.
Lent’s beginning, Thérèse’s observation about hiding one’s good works is an
appropriate caution. Keep your resolutions to yourself. Bask in God’s merciful
FIRST WEEK OF LENT: SEEK OUT YOUR IMAGES
Just as the sun shines
simultaneously on the tall cedars and on each little flower as though it were
alone on the earth, so Our Lord is occupied particularly with each soul as
though there were no others like it.
what flower or tree best describes your soul. Reach up to the sun in your
Thérèse had vanished as a drop of
water is lost in the immensity of the ocean. Jesus alone remained.
every experience with water—as cleanser, refreshment, relaxation—to remind you
God is more tender than a mother.
a happy experience of being mothered by someone. Imitate that tenderness to
I feel the vocation of the WARRIOR, THE PRIEST, THE APOSTLE,
THE DOCTOR, THE MARTYR.
your spiritual calling. Pray within that calling—as warrior, priest, apostle,
doctor, or martyr.
I am a little brush that Jesus has
chosen in order to paint His own image in the souls . . . entrusted to my care.
is your favorite image of Jesus? Use that image to inspire your prayer.
I had offered myself . . . to the Child Jesus as His little plaything. I told Him . . . to use me like a little
ball of no value which He could throw on the ground, push with His foot, pierce, leave in a corner, or press to His heart
if it pleased Him.
“plaything” might you be for the Child Jesus? In prayer, picture yourself
One feels that to do good is as
impossible without God’s help as to make the sun shine at night.
in the sunlight literally or figuratively. Experience the divine warmth and
SECOND WEEK OF LENT: MEASURE YOUR LITTLENESS
I applied myself to practicing
little virtues, not having the capability of practicing the great.
a small challenge: to smile, to be silent, to be thankful.
God cannot inspire unrealizable
desires. I can, then, in spite of my littleness, aspire to holiness.
on a virtue to which God is calling you. Seek opportunities to express it.
children are as pleasing to their parents
when they are asleep as well as when they are wide awake.
your night prayers. Experience yourself cradled by God as you close your eyes
I look upon myself as a weak
little bird. . . . I have only an eagle’s
EYES AND HEART.
yourself as a wren. Hide yourself, as the psalmist says, in the shadow of God’s
The elevator which must raise me
to heaven is Your arms, O Jesus! And for this I had no need to grow up, but
rather I had to remain little.
saw herself as too small to climb the “stairway of perfection.” She invites you
to surrender strenuous effort and allow yourself to be lifted by—and to—the
You can see that I am a very
little soul and that I can offer God only very little things.
is so small that it escapes heavenly notice. Like Thérèse, choose not to
complain about petty annoyances.
I am but a poor little thing who
would return to nothingness if Your divine glance did not give me life from one
moment to the next.
sees herself as a little bird, nourished by the Eucharist. Visit the Blessed
THIRD WEEK OF LENT: FIND WAYS TO PRAY
If the big feasts were rare, each
week brought one that was very dear to my heart, namely Sunday! What a day
Sunday was for me! It was God’s feast day, and feast of rest.
a day of rest. Thérèse was confident that God loved her just as much at rest as
Sometimes I would try to fish with
my little line, but I preferred to go alone and sit down on the grass. . . . Without knowing what it was to
meditate, my soul was absorbed in real prayer. I listened to distant sounds,
the murmuring of the wind, etc.
childhood experience can be yours. Prayerfully attend to the sounds of God’s
When I saw all these beauties very
profound thoughts came to life in my soul. I seemed to understand already the
grandeur of God and the marvels of heaven.
Thérèse is speaking of the Swiss
mountains and lakes. Visit a beautiful natural setting and drink in the beauty
created by God.
It is especially the Gospels that sustain me during my hours of prayer,
for in them I find what is necessary for my poor little soul.
the Gospels to inspire your prayer. You, too, will find in them what you need.
For more Lenten reflections, order your copy here. Save by buying in bulk quantities.
Carol Ann Morrow is an Associate of the Sisters of
St. Francis, Oldenburg, Indiana, and author of other Catholic Updates and
books, including Forgiving Is Smart for
Your Heart (Abbey Press).
Quotations from Story
of a Soul, translated by John Clarke, OCD. Copyright © 1975, 1976, 1996 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites. ICS
Publications, 2131 Lincoln Road, NE, Washington, DC 20002-1199, USA, icspublications.org. Used with
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