Saturday, October 01, 2005

Bonne fete du Saint Therese! *

I don't like telling people when it's my birthday, it seems grabby, but I sure don't mind celebrating the feast day of my patron saint, St. Therese of Lisieux. Happy Feast Day to all us Thereses, Theresas, Tereses, Teresas, Terrys, Terris, and Teris!

For our (few) non-Catholic readers, a Saint's feast day is the day they died, because what greater day to celebrate than the day they met the Lord?

It took me awhile to get used to her utter childlike abandonment of love to her Heavenly Father, and her Victorian writing style. She wants to be the ball the Child Jesus plays with....that takes a little getting used to.

But there is a womanly understanding of love, complete trust in God, and even a motherly reaction to the slights of the world, absorbing the little hurts and crosses, for the glory of God and the good of His children, that becomes apparent when you read and re-read her autobiography The Story of a Soul. I may have given this advice last year, but if you haven't read it, or haven't read it lately, consider doing it this way: the book is in three parts. Read Part II, Part III and THEN Part I. I couldn't get through the first part the first couple times I tried it, too late-1890's-sweet. But when I started in the middle and then came back around home plate, I got it. I got her "childishness" as simplicity, hard-bought simplicity, pared-clean submission and trust.

There is a tradition of asking St. Therese for a rose. She may grant you one in the next week or ten days. I asked once, long ago, and got one, sort of. I didn't ask again, fearing superstition. But I asked again two days ago and I'm looking for a rose, understanding, I think, that the Saints in Heaven can act on earth, only with the consent and power of God. I'll let you know if it shows up, and I've promised the Lord and St. Therese to have faith no matter what happens.

Eat French food in honor of the day. Or at least French fries!

From her Act of Oblation to Merciful Love:

In the evening of this life, I shall appear before You with empty hands, for I do not ask You, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is stained in Your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in Your own Justice and to receive from Your Love the eternal possession of Yourself. I want no other Throne, no other Crown but You, my Beloved!

* I most emphatically do not speak or write or read French. I tinkered this together with Babelfish. Please fix it in comments, if you would. Merci.


Julie D. said...

The book that helped me get through the "sweetness" was St. Benedict and St. Therese by Dwight Longenecker. St. Benedict is much more my style, but by showing the connections between these two great but very different saints he really helped me "get" St. Therese.

~pen~ said...

happy Feast Day!!

(i had to look twice to see if it was your birthday or not...)

have you read Maurice & Therese? it was a wonderful read, letters exchanged between a struggling young priest and St. Therese. lovely, lovely. i actually even finished it :)

Therese Z said...

Thank you. I always need book recommendations, especially about St. Therese.

She's so sweet and pure, and I'm so not. But the Holy Spirit must have pushed my parents to name me that for His own reasons, because until the last minute I was supposed to be named Lillian!

Henry Dieterich said...

I'm a pedant, so I'll let you know the correct French. It's "Bonne Fête de Sainte Thérèse de l'Enfant-Jésus!" It has to be "Sainte" because she's a woman ("Saint" is masculine) and "du" means "of the (masculine)." It could also be "Sainte Thérèse de Lisieux" but the former (Thérèse of the Child Jesus; actually in full "of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face") is her name in religion. In English, we often call her just "The Little Flower," I suspect to avoid having to pronounce "Lisieux." I heard several people this past weekend say "Lee-soo" when in fact it should be more like "Lee-syuh." I think that in French, on the other hand, this nickname is not much used, although she did refer to herself as "une petite fleur blanche" ("a little white flower").

Also french fries (frites) actually originated in Belgium.



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