Thérèse de Lisieux · 306 pages
Rating: (9.6K votes)
“God would never inspire me with desires which cannot be realized; so in spite of my littleness, I can hope to be a saint.”
“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.”
“If a little flower could speak, it seems to me that it would tell us quite simply all that God has done for it, without hiding any of its gifts. It would not, under the pretext of humility, say that it was not pretty, or that it had not a sweet scent, that the sun had withered its petals,or the storm bruised its stem, if it knew that such were not the case.”
“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.”
“Another time I was working in the laundry, and the Sister opposite, while washing handkerchiefs, repeatedly splashed me with dirty water. My first impulse was to draw back and wipe my face, to show the offender I should be glad if she would behave more quietly; but the next minute I thought how foolish it was to refuse the treasures God offered me so generously, and I refrained from betraying my annoyance. On the contrary, I made such efforts to welcome the shower of dirty water, that at the end of half an hour I had taken quite a fancy to this novel kind of aspersion, and I resolved to come as often as I could to the happy spot where such treasures were freely bestowed.”
“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.”
“when something painful or disagreeable happens to me, instead of a melancholy look, I answer by a smile. At first I did not always succeed, but now it has become a habit which I am glad to have acquired.”
“to dedicate oneself as a Victim of Love is not to be dedicated to sweetness and consolations; it is to offer oneself to all that is painful and bitter, because Love lives only by sacrifice and the more we would surrender ourselves to Love, the more we must surrender
ourselves to suffering”
“I understand and I know from experience that: 'The kingdom of God is within you.' Jesus has no need of books or teachers to instruct souls; He teaches without the noise of words. Never have I heard Him speak, but I feel that He is within me at each moment; He is guiding and inspiring me with what I must say and do. I find just when I need them certain lights that I had not seen until then, and it isn't most frequently during my hours of prayer that these are most abundant but rather in the midst of my daily occupations.”
“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.”
“That beautiful day passed just as the saddest ones do, since the most radiant of days has a tomorrow.”
“joy is not found in the things which surround us, but lives only in the soul.”
“How can a heart given up to human affections be closely united to God? It seems to me that it is impossible. I have seen so many souls, allured by this false light, fly right into it like poor moths, and burn their wings, and then return, wounded, to Our Lord, the Divine fire which burns and does not consume.”
“But how good God is! How well He fits our trials to our strength!”
“I burned to defend myself, but fortunately I had a bright idea. I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that if I began to speak up for myself I should lose my peace of soul; I knew too that I was not virtuous enough to let myself be accused without saying a word, my only hope of safety was to run away. No sooner thought than done: I fled … but my heart beat so violently that I could not go far and I sat down on the stairs to enjoy in peace the fruits of my victory. It was undoubtedly a queer kind of courage, but I think it is better not to fight when defeat is certain.”
“Each time that my enemy would provoke me to combat, I behave as a gallant soldier. I know that a duel is an act of cowardice, and so, without once looking him in the face, I turn my back on the foe, then I hasten to my Saviour, and vow that I am ready to shed my blood in witness of my belief in Heaven.”
“I prayed earnestly for this Sister who had caused me so much struggle, but this was not enough for me. I tried to do everything I possibly could for her, and when tempted to answer her sharply, I hastened to give her a friendly smile and talk about something else, for, as it says in The Imitation, “It is better to leave everyone to his own way of thinking than begin an argument.” (Imit., III, xliv, 1).”
“by humiliation alone can Saints be made,”
“also understood that there are many degrees of holiness, that each soul is free to respond to the calls of Our Lord, to do much or little for His Love—in a word, to choose amongst the sacrifices He asks.”
“But I am not going to give every detail. Some things lose their fragrance when opened to the air, and there are stirrings of the soul which cannot be put into words without destroying their delicacy.”
“It wasn’t long before God made me realise that the true glory is that which is eternal and that, to achieve it, there is no need to perform outstanding deeds. Instead, one must remain hidden and perform one’s good deeds so that the right hand knows not what the left hand does. When I read stories about the deeds of the great French heroines — especially of the Venerable Joan of Arc, I longed to imitate them and felt stirred by the same inspiration which moved them. It was then that I received one of the greatest graces of my life, for, at that age, I didn’t receive the spiritual enlightenment which now floods my soul. I was made to understand that the glory I was to win would never be seen during my lifetime . . .”
“Oh, how sweet the first kiss of Jesus was! It was a kiss of love. I knew that I was loved and I declared: “I love You and I give myself to You for ever!” Jesus made no demand on me; He asked for no sacrifices. For a long time Jesus and little Thérèse had gazed at each other and they understood each other. On that day it was no longer a matter of gazing: it was a union. There were no longer two of us. Thérèse had disappeared like a drop of water lost in the depth of the ocean. Only Jesus remained — as Master and King. For had not Thérèse begged Him to take away her freedom? Freedom frightened her, for she knew herself to be so weak and feeble that she wished to be united with the divine Power for ever. Her joy was too great, too deep to be contained. She wept. Her companions were amazed and afterwards they said: “Why on earth did she cry? Something must have been upsetting her. Perhaps it was because her mother wasn’t there, nor her Carmelite sister she loves so much.” They couldn’t understand that such a flood of divine joy cannot be borne without tears.”
“For a long time I’d been fed on the wheat of The Imitation. It was the only book which did me any good, as I hadn’t discovered the treasures of the Gospels. I knew every chapter by heart. I was never without this little book.”
“Then, beside myself with joy, I cried out: "O Jesus, my Love, at last I have found my vocation. My vocation is love! Yes, I have found my place in the bosom of the Church, and this place, O my God, Thou hast Thyself given to me: in the heart of the Church, my Mother, I will be LOVE! . . .”
“But instead of letting me see any ray of hope, God afflicted me with a most grievous martyrdom which lasted for three days. It brought sharply home to me the bitter grief felt by the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph as they searched for the Child Jesus. I was alone in a desert waste — or rather, my soul was like a fragile skiff tossing without a pilot in a stormy sea. I knew that Jesus was there, asleep in my craft, but the night was too black for me to see Him. All was darkness. Not even a flash of lightning pierced the clouds. There’s nothing reassuring about lightning, but, at least, if the storm had burst, I should have been able to glimpse Jesus. But it was night, the dark night of the soul. Like Jesus during His Agony in the Garden, I felt myself abandoned and there was no help for me on earth or in heaven. God had abandoned me. Nature herself seemed to share my misery. The sun never shone once during those three days and the rain fell in torrents. I have noticed that, at all the important moments of my life, nature has mirrored my soul. When I wept the sky wept with me, and when I was happy the sun shone without a cloud in the sky.”
“I have had great enlightenment from the writings of St. John of the Cross. When I was between seventeen and eighteen, they were my only spiritual food. But as I grew older, religious writers left me quite unmoved. I’m still like that. If I glance at a book, no matter how good and moving it is, my heart at once contracts and I read without understanding or, if I understand, I cannot meditate on it. When I’m in this state, the Bible and The Imitation come to my rescue. In them I find hidden manna, a pure and substantial food. But, above all, the Gospels help me in my prayers. They are always showing me new ways of looking at things, and I am always finding hidden and mysterious meanings in them. I understand and, by experience, I know that the Kingdom of God is within us. Jesus has no need of books or doctors of the Church to guide souls. He, the Doctor of doctors, can teach without words. I have never heard Him speak, but I know that He is within me. He guides and inspires me every moment of the day. Just when I need it, a new light shines on my problems. This happens not so much during my hours of prayer as when I’m busy with my daily work.”
“But now I realise that true charity consists in putting up with all one’s neighbour’s faults, never being surprised by his weakness, and being inspired by the least of his virtues . . . When God, under the old law, told His people to love their neighbours as themselves, He had not yet come down to earth. As He knew how much we love ourselves, He could not ask us to do more. But when Jesus gave His apostles a “new commandment, His own commandment,” He did not ask only that we should love our neighbours as ourselves but that we should love them as He loves them and as He will love them to the end of time. O Jesus, I know You command nothing that is impossible. You know how weak and imperfect I am, and You know only too well that I could never love the other nuns as You love them if You Yourself did not love them within me.”
“It still stops my having any feeling of pride when people think well of what I do, for I say to myself: Since any small good deed I do can be mistaken for a fault, the mistake of calling a fault a virtue can be made just as easily.”
“I am no longer surprised by anything and I feel no distress at seeing my complete helplessness. On the contrary, I glory in it and every day I expect to discover fresh flaws in myself. In fact, this revelation of my nothingness does me much more good than being enlightened on matters of faith.”
“God had already made me realise that His mercy does not grow weary of waiting for some souls and that He enlightens them only slowly. So I took good care not to anticipate Him.”
“Sharon was Apache, and I was Spokane, but we practiced our tribal religions like we practiced Catholicism: We loved all of the ceremonies but thought they were pitiful cries to a disinterested god.”
“Mrs. Wiggins had some trouble getting into the swing, partly because she was so big, and partly because she got to laughing. But Robert and Georgie held the seat and she got in finally, and Hank started to push her. Everybody thought she’d get scared when the swing began to go, but she didn’t. “Land sakes, it’s just like flying,” she said. “Swing me higher, Hank.” And then as the swing swooped down: “Whee!” she yelled. Well”
“Don't you know yet that men are full of words that mean nothing? The silence of a woman is a thousand times weightier. You must learn to trust silence. To load it with truth, and to wait.”
“Let me have two locks of your hair, and help my mother plait them into a bow-string for me. "Does anything depend on it asked Hallgerd". "My life depends on it replied Gunnar.”
“You're just afraid," I flung at him. "Of what would happen to you and your life at court if you were to carry Elisandra away. Of what your father would say. Of what Bryan would do to you."
Now he, too, looked angry. "I am afraid of many things, but those are not the fears that keep me from action," he said.
I turned my back on him. "Then I don't understand you," I said.
I heard the door open. "No," he said, "and you never have.”
BookQuoters is a community of passionate readers who enjoy sharing the most meaningful, memorable and interesting quotes from great books. As the world communicates more and more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become more relevant and important. For some of us a quote becomes a mantra, a goal or a philosophy by which we live. For all of us, quotes are a great way to remember a book and to carry with us the author’s best ideas.
We thoughtfully gather quotes from our favorite books, both classic and current, and choose the ones that are most thought-provoking. Each quote represents a book that is interesting, well written and has potential to enhance the reader’s life. We also accept submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to the BookQuoters community.
Founded in 2023, BookQuoters has quickly become a large and vibrant community of people who share an affinity for books. Books are seen by some as a throwback to a previous world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is typical of the Information Age but is a habit disdained by some diehard readers. We feel that we have the best of both worlds at BookQuoters; we read books cover-to-cover but offer you some of the highlights. We hope you’ll join us.