Like the flowers of a tree, which should give place to fruit in due season

A prayer by Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (from her autobiography)

Jesus, my Divine Spouse, grant that I may ever keep my baptismal robe spotless. Take me from this world rather than let me tarnish my soul by one small voluntary fault. May I seek and find You alone! May no mortal creatures absorb my heart, nor I theirs! May nothing in the world ever disturb my peace! O Jesus, it is peace I beg of You. Peace, and above all, boundless love.

Jesus, let me die for You, a martyr; grant me martyrdom of soul or of body, or better still, grant me both! Grant that I may keep my vows perfectly, that no one may trouble about me; that I may be trampled underfoot, forgotten like a tiny grain of sand. I offer myself to You, my Beloved, that You may do in me everything You will, unhindered by any created obstacle.

Like the flowers of a tree, which should give place to fruit in due season

Selected quotes from “Novissima Verba – The Last Conversations of Saint Thérèse”:

May 28, 1897
“I do not desire more ardently to die than to live. I let the good God choose for me. It is what He does that I love.”

“I always sees the bright side of things. Some take everything in such a way as to make the worst of things. It is just the contrary in my case. If there is nothing but pure suffering, if the heavens are so black that I cannot see anything clearly, very well! I make my joy consist precisely in that.”

June 9, 1897
“It is said in the Gospel that the good God will come as a thief (see Matthew 24:42-44). So, He is coming soon to steal me! I am so anxious to assist Him in every way!”

July 3, 1897
“When I commit a fault that makes me sad, I know well the sadness is the consequence of my unfaithfulness. But do you think that I rest there? Oh, no! Straightaway I hasten to say to God: ‘My God, I know that I have deserved this feeling of sadness I experience; meanwhile let me offer it to You all the same as an ordeal You have sent me—through love. I am sorry for what I have done, but I am glad to have this suffering to offer to You.”

July 6, 1897
“I have often noticed that experience of suffering makes us kind and indulgent toward others because it is suffering that draws us near to God.”

July 7, 1897
“Those words: ‘Although He should kill me, I will trust in Him,’ have fascinated me ever since childhood. But it took me a long time to become established in that degree of abandonment. Now I am there, however. The good God just took me in His Arms and placed me there!”

“I was commencing the Stations of the Cross in the Choir that day when, suddenly, I felt that I had been wounded by a dart of fire so ardent that death must be near. I have no words to describe it; it was as though an invisible hand had plunged me wholly into fire. And such fire! Yet, at the same time, what sweetness! I was burning up with love, and was convinced that to withstand such an onslaught of love for one minute, nay, for even one second more, was impossible; death must certainly ensue. It was an experimental knowledge of those states described by the saints, and which some of them had so frequently experienced. But such a grace was mine only once—and, even then, for one instant only. Almost immediately after, I fell back into my habitual state of aridity.”

July 8, 1897
“If you only knew how sweetly I shall be judged. Nevertheless, if God did chide me a little, I should find it sweet all the same. And even should I be sent to purgatory I would still be happy and would, like the three Hebrew children, sing canticles of Love in the midst of the fiery furnace (see Daniel 3:51). If, in that way, I were able to deliver some other souls and suffer in their place, how happy I should be, for then I would be doing good by delivering the captives.”

July 11, 1897
“Just as a mother glories in her children, so shall we be proud of one another in heaven without the least shadow of jealousy.”

July 21, 1897
“Yet I did not pray to be deprived of divine consolation, but only of those joys and illusions which so often turn the soul away from God.”

July 31, 1897
“Ever since my First Communion, when I asked Jesus to change into bitterness all the consolations of earth, I have had a ceaseless desire to suffer. I did not, however, at first think of making it my joy. That was a grace accorded me later on. Until then it was like a spark hidden in ashes, and like the flowers of a tree, which should give place to fruit in due season. But seeing the flowers always falling—that is to say, letting my tears fall when I was suffering—I thought to myself with astonishment and sadness: ‘Then there will be nothing but desires!’ “

August 4, 1897
“Oh! that I might be humiliated and maltreated to see if I have true humility of heart! Still, when I was humiliated in the past, I was very happy…. Yes, it does seem to me that I am humble. God shows me the truth, and I see so clearly that everything comes from Him!”

August 5, 1897
“All such fancies cannot help me; I can nourish myself only upon the truth. That is the reason why I have never wished to have any visions. On earth we can never behold heaven and the angels such as they really are. I much prefer to wait for that until after my death.”

“My devotion to the Holy Face, or rather all my spirituality, has been based on these words of Isaias: ‘There is no beauty in Him, nor comeliness: and we have seen Him, and there is no sightliness [in Him]. Despised and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity: and His look was as it were hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed Him not.” (Isaiah 53:2-3) I, too desire to be without glory or beauty, to tread the winepress alone (cf. Isaiah 63:3), unknown to any creature.”

August 7, 1897
“It is to God alone all value must be attributed, because there is nothing of value in my little nothingness.”

August 12, 1897
“When I think of all the graces God has bestowed upon me, I have all I can do not to let my tears of gratitude flow unceasingly. It seems to me that the tears I shed this morning were tears of perfect contrition. Ah! how impossible it is for us of ourselves to produce such sentiments in our hearts! It is the Holy Spirit Who gives them, ‘Who breatheth where He will.’ (cf. John 3:8) “

August 28, 1897
“When I am in heaven, you must often fill my hands with little sacrifices and prayers, to give me the pleasure of letting fall a shower of graces upon souls.”

September 11, 1897
“I fear I have had a fear of death! But I have no fear of that which comes after death, and I do not regret leaving this life. Oh, no! I only pondered within myself with a sort of apprehension: ‘What is this mysterious separation of the soul from the body?’ … It is the first time that I experienced anything like that, but straightaway I abandoned myself entirely to the good God.”

September 25, 1897
“The little ones shall be judged with extreme sweetness…. It is possible to remain little even when in the most responsible offices, and when living to a great age. If I died at eighty years of age, if I had been in many monasteries and charged with numerous responsibilities, I should always have remained just as little as I am today. I am convinced of this. And it is written that in the end the Lord will arise to save all the meek and humble ones on earth. It does not say to judge but to save.”

“If only, my Jesus, I could tell all little souls about Your ineffable condescension! I feel that if, supposing the impossible, You could find a soul weaker than mine, You would delight in lavishing upon it far more graces still, so long as it abandoned itself with boundless confidence to Your infinite mercy. But why this desire to tell others the secrets of Your love? Can You not, Yourself, reveal to others what You have revealed to me? I know You can, and I beg You to do so. I implore You, cast Your eyes upon a multitude of little souls; choose from this world, I beg of You, a legion of little victims worthy of Your LOVE.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux


A child of Jesus and Mary.

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