Georgiana's Reviews > The Story of a Soul: A New Translation

The Story of a Soul by Thérèse de Lisieux
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Aug 16, 09

bookshelves: inspirational, non-fiction, religion
Read in August, 2009

p. 70 He also gave me to understand that my own glory wouldn't be apparent to mortal eyes, that it would consist in becoming a great Saint!!!...This desire might seem foolhardy if one were to consider how weak and imperfect I was, and how much I still am after seven years spent in the religious life, but nonetheless I still feel the same audacious confidence that I'll become a great Saint. That's because I'm not counting on my merits, since I have none, but I hope in the One who is Virtue, Holiness Itself. It is He alone who, being content with my feeble efforts, will raise me up to Himself and, covering me with his infinite merits, will make me a Saint.

85 Often in front of me people would brag about the intelligence of others, but never about mine. So I concluded that I didn't have any, and I resigned myself to seeing myself as being deprived of it...

My sensitive and loving heart would have easily given itself away if it had found another heart capable of understanding it....I tried to link up with other little girls my age, especially with two of them. I loved them, and for their part they loved me as much as they were capable of loving. But alas! How narrow and flighty is the heart of created beings!!!...Soon I saw that my love wasn't understood.

With a heart like mine, I would have let myself be taken and my wings clipped, and then how would I have been able to "fly away and find rest"? How can a heart that is given over to the affection of created beings be intimately united with God? ...I feel that that is not possible. Without having drunk from the poisoned cup of the too-ardent love of created things, I feel that I cannot be deceived.

86 I have seen so many souls, seduced by that false light, flying like poor butterflies and burning their wings, then coming back toward the true, the sweet light of love that gave them new wings, more brilliant and light, so that they might fly toward Jesus, that Divine Fire "who burns without consuming." Oh! I feel it: Jesus knew I was too weak to be exposed to temptation. Perhaps i would have let myself be burned up completely by the deceitful light if I had seen it shining before my eyes...

"Whoever has been forgiven little, loves little" [Lk. 7:47], but I also know that Jesus has forgiven me more than He did for Mary Magdalene, since He forgave me in advance, keeping me from falling. Oh! How I would like to be able to explain what I'm feeling!... Here's an example that will interpret my thoughts a little: Suppose that the son of a capable doctor encounters on the road a rock that makes him fall, and that as a result of this fall he breaks a limb. Immediately his father comes to him, picks him up lovingly, takes care of his wounds, and in so doing uses all the resources of his art, and soon his son, now completely healed, bears witness to his gratitude. Without any doubt, this son is quite right to love his father! But I'm going to make still another supposition. The father, knowing that on the road his son was taking there was a rock, hurries to go before him and removes it (without anybody seeing him). Certainly, this son, the object of the father's prevenient tenderness, not KNOWING the misfortune from which he's been delivered by his father, won't bear witness of his gratitude, and will love him less than if he had been cured by him.... But if he comes to know the danger that he has just escaped, will he not love him more? Well, I am this child who is the object of the anticipatory love of a Father who sent His Word not to redeem the righteous but sinners. He wants me to love Him because He has forgiven me, not much, but everything. He didn't wait for m to love Him much like Mary Magdalene, but He wanted ME TO KNOW how much He loved me with an inexpressible anticipation, so that now I might love Him to distraction! ...I've heard it said that there is no pure soul that an be found who loves more than a repentant soul. Oh! how I would like to belie that saying!...

92 "Life is your ship and not your dwelling!..."

104 I felt a great desire to work for the conversion of sinners, a desire that I had never felt so strongly....In a word, I felt charity enter into my heart, the need to forget myself in order to please others, and ever afterward I was happy! One Sunday, as I was looking at a photograph showing Our Lord on the Cross, I was struck by the blood that was falling from one of His Divine hands. I felt great pain at the thought that this blood was falling to the ground without anyone hurrying to collect it, and I resolved to keep myself in spirit at the foot of the Cross in order to receive the Divine dew that was flowing down from it, understanding that I must then spread it over souls....Jesus' cry on the Cross also resounded continually in my heart: "I am thirsty!" [Jn. 19:28]. These words set on fire within me a keen fervor that I hadn't known before...I wanted to give something to drink to my Beloved, and I felt myself consumed with thirst for souls....It was no longer the souls of priests that attracted me, but those of great sinners. I was burning with the desire to snatch them from everlasting flames...

112 It isn't to remain in the golden ciborium [the covered receptacle that holds the consecrated Communion wafers:] that He comes down every day from heaven. It's to find another heaven that is infinitely dearer to Him than the first one, the heaven of our soul, made in His image, the living temple of the adorable Trinity! [1 Cor. 3:16]

209 Jesus does not ask for great actions, but only for abandonment and gratefulness. [...:] Offer to God a sacrifice of praise & thanksgiving." [Ps 50:14, Heb 13:15]

219 She knows only one thing, and that is to love you Jesus.

219 But how will she bear witness to her Love, since Love is proved by works? Well, the little child will throw out flowers, she will use her perfumes to give a lovely fragrance to the royal throne, she will sing with her silvery voice the hymn of love...Yes, my beloved, that is how my life will be consume. ...I have no other means of proving my lobe for you than to throw flowers, that is, not to pass up any little sacrifice, any look, any word, to take advantage of all the little things and to do them out of love.

247 I understood how much my love for my sisters was imperfect. I saw that I wasn't loving them as God loves them. Oh! Now I understand that perfect charity consists in bearing with others' faults, in not being surprised at their weakness, in being edified by the little acts of virtue that we see them practice. But above all I understood that charity ought not to stay enclosed in the depths of the heart.

249 Since they take my little acts of virtue for imperfections, they can just as well be wrong when they take as a virtue what is only imperfection. [Concerning being non-judgmental:]

264 [God:] has always used His creatures as instruments for doing His work in souls. If the canvas on which an artist paints could think and speak, certainly it wouldn't complain about being constantly touched and retouched by a brush, and neither would it envy the role of that instrument, because it would know that it's not to the brush but to the artist who directs it that it owes the beauty that it bears. As for the brush, it couldn't take glory in the masterpiece that it made. It knows that artists aren't inconvenienced: They make child's play of difficulties, taking pleasure in sometimes choosing instruments that are weak and defective... Beloved Mother, I'm a little brush that Jesus has chosen to paint His image on the souls that you've entrusted to me. An artist doesn't use just one brush, he needs at least two. The first one is the most useful --with it he gives the general colors, completely covering the canvas in a short time. The other, smaller one, he uses for the details.

267 Love is fed with sacrifices. The more the soul refuses natural satisfactions, the more its tenderness becomes strong and impartial.

268 I see with happiness that by loving Him, the heart becomes enlarged. I see that it can give incomparably more tenderness to those who are dear to it, than if it were to concentrate on a self-centered and unfruitful love.

269 The rosiness has disappeared...You feel that doing good is something almost as impossible without God's help as making the sun shine at night...You feel that you must absolutely forget your own desires and personal conceptions, and guide souls along the path that Jesus has traced for them, without trying to make them walk along your own path.

279 I've noticed (and it's quite natural) that the holiest Sisters are the most loved. People seek out their conversation, and they render services to them without their asking for them. In short, these souls who are capable of enduring the lack of consideration and tact find themselves surrounded with the affection of everyone.


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