Mystics for Advent Part Nine: St. Therese of Lisieux

Vancouver’s Little Flower Academy is, of course, named for St. Therese of Lisieux, herself dubbed ‘the little flower’. Born in 1873, her short life ended in 1897. She lived as a cloistered Carmelite for almost ten years in privacy and prayer. The following reflections are from her private journal, published as The Story of a Soul.

Like some of our Advent mystics, Therese prays, “Love that enflames, enter and enflame me now!” Her desire is to be consumed by The Burning Babe”.

Eternal Canticle

Even far from heaven, I still can sing.

Your promised one–hear her, Lord!–still sings,

giving her everything to Love’s eternal canticle.

She feels Your quick flight to her in response–

Your Holy Spirit’s fire from above.

Matchless Beauty and my Love! I am amazed

that You give Yourself entire, that give Yourself

entirely to me. Here, take my heart,

take all my yearning heart! Make of my life

one single act of love, and all expressed to You!

Will you infuse my worthlessness with worth?

Will You take my squalor as home?

Love occasions ever greater love–appalling grace!

In helpless adoration, Lord, I press to reach Your side.

Love that enflames, enter and inflame me now!

Do You hear? I cry out to You! Come now to do Your will!

Love compels me, desiring that I might ever be

Engulfed and lost in You, Fierce Crucible divine!

Whatever pain is borne for You turns suddenly to joy.

Regardless of all else, my love flies to You as a cooing dove!

Heavenly Everything, Lush and Loving Fulness, Immeasurable

Swetness, may my soul receive You here, even as above.

Heavenly Everything, Lush and Loving Fullness, Immeasurable

Sweetness, everything You are and all You do is Love!

*  *  *

And we complete our Mystics for Advent series with St. Therese’s Advent Prayer.

The Flower

The earth is stilled, snowbound,

and roundabout, a bitter hoarfrost clings.

Winter and his henchmen

hold all and everything in a grip of pain.

But look! amid that frozen waste

a single Flower rises from the earth

new arrived from heaven’s fatherland,

where springtime eternality gives birth.

Sister! Approach the Rose of the Nativity

and there among the modest grasses bide.

As the humblest of the petals,

await the King and be His bride!

May that be our prayer this Advent. And a blessed Christmas season to all.

note: 

The words of St. Therese of Lisieux have been arranged by poet Scott Cairns and presented in his book Love’s Mystery: Mystics on the Endless Life (Paraclete4 Press, 2007).

Steve Bailey is a deacon at St. Laurence, Coquitlam and a blog master at New Westminster Anglican Blog. Your comments and contributions are always welcome.

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One Response to Mystics for Advent Part Nine: St. Therese of Lisieux

  1. Dianne says:

    I like Therese of Lisieux’s Flower the best. Joyeux Noel!

    ddr

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