Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Thérèse de Lisieux, fully Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. born Marie-Françoise-Thérèse Martin NULL

French Carmelite Nun also known as "The Little Flower of Jesus" or Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face

"To live a good life; to die a holy death - that is everything."

"A day...an hour...and we shall have reached the port! My God, what shall we see then? What is that life which will never have an end?...Jesus will be the Soul of our soul. Unfathomable mystery! "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man what great things God hath prepared for them that love him." (1 Corinthians 2:9). And this will all come soon - yes, very soon, if we ardently love Jesus."

"All the Saints have understood this, and more especially perhaps those who have enlightened the world with the luminous teaching of the Gospel. Was it not from prayer that Saint Paul, Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa and so many other friends of God drew that wondrous science which enraptures the greatest intellects?"

"Ah! since that day love penetrates me and surrounds me; this Merciful Love each moment renews and purifies me, leaving in my heart no trace of sin. No, I cannot fear Purgatory; I know that I do not merit even to enter with the Holy Souls into that place of expiation, but I know too that the fire of Love is more sanctifying than the fire of Purgatory, I know that Jesus cannot will needless suffering for us, and that He would not inspire me with the desires I feel if He were unwilling to fulfill them."

"A word or a smile is often enough to put fresh life in a despondent soul."

"And it is the Lord, it is Jesus, Who is my judge. Therefore I will try always to think leniently of others, that He may judge me leniently, or rather not at all, since He says: Judge not, and ye shall not be judged."

"But on whom shall our poor heart lavish its love? Who shall be found that is great enough to be the recipient of its treasures? Will a human being know how to comprehend them, and above all will he be able to repay? There exists but one Being capable of comprehending love; it is Jesus; He alone can give us back infinitely more than we shall ever give to him."

"And do you not think that on their side the great Saints, seeing what they owe to quite little souls, will love them with an incomparable love? Delightful and surprising will be the friendships found there - I am sure of it. The favored companion of an Apostle or a great Doctor of the Church, will perhaps be a young shepherd lad; and a simple little child may be the intimate friend of a Patriarch. Oh! how I long to dwell in that Kingdom of Love..."

"Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church being a body composed of different members, the most essential, the most noble of all the organs would not be wanting to her; I understood that the Church has a heart and that this heart is burning with love; that it is love alone which makes the members work, that if love were to die away apostles would no longer preach the Gospel, martyrs would refuse to shed their blood. I understood that love comprises all vocations, that love is everything, that it embraces all times and all places because it is eternal!"

"Even now I know it: yes, all my hopes will be fulfilled... yes... the Lord will work wonders for me which will surpass infinitely my immeasurable desires."

"As I grew older I loved the good God more and more, and very frequently did I offer Him my heart, using the words my mother had taught me. I strove in all my actions to please Jesus and was most watchful never to offend Him."

"Archimedes said: "Give me a lever and a fulcrum, and I will raise the world." What he was unable to obtain because his request had but a material end and was not addressed to God, the Saints have obtained in full measure. For fulcrum, the Almighty has given them Himself, Himself alone! for lever, prayer, which enkindles the fire of love; and thus it is that they have uplifted the world, thus it is that saints still militant uplift it, and will uplift it till the end of time."

"For a long time I had been asking myself why souls did not all receive the same amount of grace. Jesus deigned to instruct me about this mystery. Before my eyes He placed the book of nature and I understood that all the flowers created by Him are beautiful... that, if all the little flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime garb. The same is true of the world of souls, the Lord's living garden."

"For me, prayer is an upward leap of the heart, an untroubled glance towards heaven, a cry of gratitude and love which I utter from the depths of sorrow as well as from the heights of joy. It has a supernatural grandeur which expands the soul and unites it with God. I say an Our Father or a Hail Mary when I feel so spiritually barren that I cannot summon up a single worth while thought. These two prayers fill me with rapture and feed and satisfy my soul."

"God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint. It is impossible for me to grow bigger, so I put up with myself as I am, with all my countless faults. But I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new[...] It is your arms, Jesus, which are the lift to carry me to heaven, And so there is no need for me to grow up. In fact, just the opposite: I must stay little and become less and less."

"For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy."

"God’s love shows itself just as well in the simplest soul which puts up no resistance to His grace as it does in the loftiest soul. Indeed, as it is love’s nature to humble itself, if all souls were like those of the holy doctors who have illumined the Church with the light of their doctrine, it seems that God would not have stooped low enough by entering their hearts. But God has created the baby who knows nothing and can utter only feeble cries. He has created the poor savage with no guide but natural law, and it is to their hearts that He deigns to stoop. They are His wild flowers whose homeliness delights Him. By stooping down to them, He manifests His infinite grandeur. The sun shines equally both on cedars and on every tiny flower. In just the same way God looks after every soul as if it had no equal. All is planned for the good of every soul, exactly as the seasons are so arranged that the humblest daisy blossoms at the appointed time"

"God's love is revealed just as much in the most simple soul who does not resist His graces as in the most sublime."

"Great is the power of prayer - a queen, as one might say, having free access always to the King, and able to obtain whatever she asks. In order to be heard, it is not necessary to read from a book a beautiful form of prayer adapted to the circumstances; if it were so, how greatly to be pitied should I be!"

"He whose Heart ever watcheth, taught me, that while for a soul whose faith equals but a tiny grain of mustard seed, He works miracles, in order that this faith which is so weak may be fortified; yet for His intimate friends, for His Mother, He did not work miracles until He had put their faith to test. Did He not let Lazarus die through Martha and Mary had sent to tell Him that he was sick? At the marriage at Cana, the Blessed Virgin having asked Him to come to the assistance of the master of the house, did He not reply that His hour was not yet come? But after the trial, what a recompense! Water changed to wine, Lazarus restored to life..."

"Her prayer was continual though she was habitually plunged in aridity. One day a novice entered her cell paused, struck by the celestial expression of her countenance. She was sewing with alacrity yet seemed lost in profound contemplation."

"Holiness consists simply in doing God's will, and being just what God wants us to be."

"How beautiful is our vocation! It is for us, it is for us, it is for Carmel to preserve "the salt of the earth" We offer our prayers and sacrifices for the apostles of the Lord; we ought ourselves to be their apostles while by word and example they preach the Gospel to our brethren."

"How happy I am to realize that I am little and weak, how happy I am to see myself so imperfect"

"How I thirst for Heaven-that blessed habitation where our love for Jesus will have no limit! But to get there we must suffer... we must weep... Well, I wish to suffer all that shall please my Beloved, I wish to let Him do just as He wills with His "little ball.""

"How shall I show my love is proved by deeds? Well - the little child will strew flowers...she will embalm the Divine Throne with their fragrance, will sing with silvery voice the canticle of love."

"How sweet is the way of Love! True, one may fall, one may not be always faithful, but Love, knowing how to draw profit from all, very quickly consumes whatsoever may displease Jesus, leaving naught but humble and profound peace in the innermost soul."

"I applied myself above all to practice quite hidden little acts of virtue; thus I liked to fold the mantles forgotten by the Sisters, and sought a thousand opportunities of rendering them service."

"I am convinced that one should tell one's spiritual director if one has a great desire for Communion, for Our Lord does not come from Heaven every day to stay in a golden ciborium; He comes to find another heaven, the heaven of our soul in which He loves to dwell."

"I do not well see what more I shall have in Heaven than now, she once said. I shall see the good God, it is true; but as to being with Him, I am wholly with Him already upon earth."

"I desire no sensible consolation in loving; provided Jesus feel my love that is enough for me. Oh! to love Him and to make Him loved...how sweet it is..."

"I feel that when I am charitable it is Jesus alone who acts in me; the more I am united to Him the more do I love all my Sisters. If, when I desire to increase this love in my heart, the demon tries to set before my eyes the faults of one or other of the Sisters, I hasten to call to mind her virtues, her good desires; I say to myself that if I had seen her fall once, she may well have gained many victories which she conceals through humility; and that even what appears to me a fault may in truth be an act of virtue by reason of the intention."

"i can nourish myself on nothing but truth"

"I had wondered for a long time why God had preferences and why all souls did not receive an equal amount of grace... He set the book of nature before me and I saw that all the flowers He has created are lovely. The splendor of the rose and whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. I realised that if every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness and there would be no wild flowers to make the meadows gay."

"I know well that it is not my great desires that please God in my little soul, what He likes to see is the way I love my littleness and my poverty; it is my blind hope in His mercy, this is my only treasure.... The weaker one is, without desires or virtues the more ready one is for the operations of this consuming and transforming love.... God rejoices more in what He can do in a soul humbly resigned to its poverty than in the creation of millions of suns and the vast stretch of the heavens."

"I know of one means only by which to attain to perfection: LOVE. Let us love, since our heart is made for nothing else. Sometimes I seek another word to express Love, but in this land of exile the word which begins and ends (St. Augustine) is quite incapable of rendering the vibrations of the soul; we must then adhere to this simple and only word: TO LOVE."

"I leave to great souls and lofty minds the beautiful books I cannot understand, much less put into practice and I rejoice that I am little because children alone and those who resemble them will be admitted to the heavenly banquet. I am glad that there are many mansions in the Kingdom of God, because if there were only those whose description and whose road seem to me incomprehensible, I could never enter there."

"I ought to seek the company of those Sisters who according to nature please me least. I ought to fulfill in their regard the office of the Good Samaritan. A word, a kindly smile, will often suffice to gladden a wounded and sorrowful heart."

"I know now that true charity consists in bearing all our neighbors'defects--not being surprised at their weakness, but edified at their smallest virtues."

"I tell you that it is enough to recognize one's nothingness and to abandon one's self like a child in the arms of God."

"I too am consoled by an interior voice. The Saints encourage me from above, they say to me: 'So long as thou art in fetters thou canst not fulfill thy mission; but later, after thy death - then will be the time of thy conquests'."

"It is necessary to consent to remain poor and weak; this is hard . I have always longed to be unknown, I am resigned to being forgotten. It is necessary to count on nothing."

"I strive to work by faith though bereft of its consolations. I have made more acts of Faith in this last year than during all the rest of my life."

"I say nothing to him. I love him."

"I understood that every flower created by Him is beautiful, that the brilliance of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not lessen the perfume of the violet or the sweet simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all the lowly flowers wished to be roses, nature would no longer be enameled with lovely hues. And so it is in the world of souls, Our lord's living garden."

"If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness."

"If I did not simply live from one moment to another, it would be impossible for me to be patient, but I only look at the present, I forget the past, and I take good care not to forestall the future."

"If it is hard to give to whoever asks, it is still harder to let what belongs to us to be taken, without asking it back, or rather, I ought to say it seems hard; for the yoke of the Lord is sweet and light when we accept it we feel its sweetness immediately."

"In times of aridity when I am incapable of praying, of practicing virtue, I seek little opportunities, mere trifles, to give pleasure to Jesus; for instance a smile, a pleasant word when inclined to be silent and to show weariness. If I find no opportunities, I at least tell Him again and again that I love Him; that is not difficult and it keeps alive the fire in my heart. Even though this fire of love might seem extinct I would still throw little straws upon the embers and I am certain it would rekindle."

"In Heaven the good God will do all I wish, because I have never done my own will upon earth."