"Everyone of You Who Does not Renounce All His Possessions Cannot be My Disciple"
A Letter of St. Therese of Lisieux
Dear Sister, how can you ask me if it is possible for you to love God as I love Him? ... My desires of martyrdom are nothing; they are not what give me the unlimited confidence that I feel in my heart. They are, to tell the truth, the spiritual riches that render one unjust, when one rests in them with complacence and when one believes they are something great... Ah! I really feel that... what pleases Him is that He sees me loving my littleness and my poverty, the blind hope that I have in His mercy .... That is my only treasure...
Oh, dear Sister, I beg you... understand that to love Jesus... the weaker one is, without desires or virtues, the more suited one is for the workings of this consuming and transforming Love. The desire alone to be a victim suffices, but we must consent to remain always poor and without strength, and this is the difficulty, for: "The truly poor in spirit, where do we find him? You must look for him from afar," said the psalmist. He does not say that you must look for him among great souls, but "from afar," that is to say in lowliness, in nothingness.
Ah! let us remain then very far from all that sparkles, let us love our littleness, let us love to feel nothing, then we shall be poor in spirit, and Jesus will come to look for us, and however far we may be, He will transform us in flames of love. Oh! How I would like to be able to make you understand what I feel! It is confidence, and nothing but confidence that must lead us to Love. Does not fear lead to Justice? (To the severe justice that people show to sinners but not the justice Jesus will have for those who love him.) Since we see the way, let us run together. Yes, I feel it, Jesus wills to give us the same graces; he wills to give us his Heaven gratuitously.
Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1873-1897), Carmelite, Doctor of the Church
Letter 197 of 17/09/1896 (©ICS publications)
the Main Page on the Saints..
Back to Main Page of Saint Therese...