Listening to many friends talk of their devotion to The Little Flower and their love of her “little ways” over the years led me to pick up a copy of the writings and biography of St. Therese of Lisieux to discover the beauty for myself. Upon reading “The Story of a Soul,” I was unprepared for the depth of faith and devotion shared by The Little Flower. Written in a loving, personal tone, her writings begin by explaining her complete devotion to Jesus and Our Lady from a very young age and reflect her experiences, thoughts and feelings throughout her life and years of illness until her death at age 24.
Not knowing what to expect picking up the book, I was immediately struck by the humbleness of her writing; that someone of such great faith would be so humble. Her personal thoughts reveal a real, flawed woman who worked diligently through her little ways to bring herself closer to God. St. Therese longed to sacrifice all she could for God, offering up her physical and emotional suffering to Jesus throughout her short life, praying that it would bring her closer to heaven.
I am stunned by the simpleness of her faith. And it was simple, as she even states, and beautiful. “…I just act like a child who can’t read; I tell God quite simply all that I want to say and He always understands.” Reading her words, you do not wonder how someone who died so young became a Doctor of the Church. God graced her with the amazing gift of pure faith.
“Prayer, for me, is simply a raising of the heart, a simple glance toward Heaven, an expression of love and gratitude in the midst of trial, as well as in times of joy; in a word, it is something noble and supernatural expanding my soul and uniting it to God.
If she lived today, I can only imagine what the media or popular culture would say about a young girl wanting so desperately to dedicate her life to God. With such determination to join a cloister at age 15, that she personally petitioned the Pope during a visitation in Rome. I don’t imagine they would be very kind to her or understand her devotion, much as many around her failed to truly comprehend her at the time.
This book inspires me and spoke to my soul like none other. No wonder so many have a devotion to The Little Flower. She speaks with such clarity on very serious matters of faith. Her little way of turning small things into an opportunity to worship and sacrifice, will bring you closer to God on a path you didn’t expect. St. Therese gives us exactly what she wanted to find for herself. “I will find a little way to Heaven, very short and direct, an entirely new way.”
“The Story of a Soul” changed a part of how I view my love for God. This book, for me, is a perfect example of why we read and study the Saints. Her amazing example of devotion, sacrifice and her “little way to Heaven” brought me a step closer to Jesus, deepening my own faith. I predict this book will be one I read again and again throughout my life as I attempt to emulate her simple faith and devotion to an ever-present, loving God.
Copyright 2012 Lisa Jones