The Secret of the Soul
How does one comprehend [with] the vast wonder life has to offer? Or how does one able to understand the meaning of trials in life? There are a [lot of ways] number of ways in which one can manifest the grandeur of life, the complexity of its meaning, and the severity of its tragedies. But in order to achieve such, one must be totally submissive to an eternal Being, who is omnipotent enough to see us through, powerful enough that our knees shake, lovable enough that our hearts are melted. But still we are given a free will to choose, and also, our personalities, temperament and attitude also affect [with] that understanding. We are all unique and special in our package as persons, we have a different perspective on that Eternal Being who is God, and it will differ on our own personal experience who is He and how He is able to manifest in our lives. Here lies the secret of the “greatest saint in modern times”: Thérèse of Lisieux. I am anxious how to write a paper in her honor, a paper that that will bring justice, accepted by her and by her fans. I myself is a great fan of hers for she is the first saint I ever knew and admired, of course after the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her story is made known through her autobiography The Story of a Soul, which she wrote two years before her death. I will be using the Autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the story of a soul translated by John Beevers, 1957. From here I will point out how this obscure nun gather such a number of followers and admirers that even great figures of the church such as Pope Francis, Teresa of Calcutta, and Padre Pio had such devotion.
Her autobiography herself presents nothing more than a plain recollection of her past. These consist from her childhood memories, teenage years, school days, holidays and tours with the family, joyful and also painful experiences, and also, her life, her consolation and desolation in the Carmel convent in Lisieux. There is nothing new about this, for I have also my own autobiography and my own style and metaphors that I only seem to understand. But this autobiography offers more than plain memoirs. It displays such profundity, a sense of mystery and an edifying sense of awe despite its simplicity. Thérèse’s life is just so ordinary; she admits that she is not into sports and games, I was cheerful enough, but I didn’t know how to play games and so during playtime I often used to stand by a tree and think of serious matters (Chapter four, page 59). Like an ordinary kid she, at times, is also naughty and childish in a way, As we we were on the pavement, we weren’t in danger from carriages, and we went along for a few minutes, enjoying the pleasure of walking without seeing where we were going. But then we bumped into some boxes displaying goods at the door of a shop and knocked them flying. A furious shopkeeper rushed out to rescue his stuff (Chapter Three, page 40-41). She also admits that she is a crybaby and spoiled and even rolls in the floor if her demands are not granted. She also underwent physical pain and sickness. Here we see how very human she was, how very fragile and a delicate human being. I am no different. The ordinary life of Thérèse makes it attractive because we are all ordinary. We tend to complain and compare ourselves to others, how great others are, how talented and how gifted they are thus neglecting our being special and unique and our gifts that God has bestowed on us. I myself am doing the same, comparing and even blaming God why He doesn’t bestow on me certain gifts, and that cause me envy and desolation. But the striking point for me in my reflection of Thérèse is why she entered Carmel, and why she liked it so urgently. I would like to reflect on the human side of Thérèse, not to deride her saintly virtues but to inspire and to mirror her life as an example of a life worth living. As I read though the manuscript, I can’t help but put a little suspicion about her reasons...
Cited: Beevers, John. The Autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. The Story of A Soul. New
York, Double Day & Company Inc., 1957.
Clarke, John O.C.D. The Autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. The Story of A Soul.
Washington: ICS Publication, 1976.
Jamart. Francois, O.C.D. Complete Spiritual Doctrine of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Manila: St.
Paul Publication, 1989.
Kinney Donald, O.C.D. The Poetry of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. Washington: ICS
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