Thursday, September 22, 2016

Novena to St. Therese



Novena to St. Therese



First Day
Spiritual Childhood
You can see that I am a very little soul and that I can offer God only very little things. I am too little to perform great actions. Jesus does not demand great actions from us but only surrender and gratitude. St. Therese

Novena Prayer
Saint Therese, through your example you taught us how to love God. Help us to grow in faith that our charity may be made perfect. Trusting that he will always hear our prayers, we renew our spiritual commitment and ask to be strengthened by God's love.

St. Therese, you showed us a way pleasing to God the "Little Way" of spiritual childhood. Lead us along this way to the light of God and the beauty of his Kingdom. Help us to see the good in everyone we meet as well as the beauty in ourselves.

Help us to keep our eternal goal in mind, knowing that Our Lord is waiting for us at the end of this life where we hope to meet you along with our dear departed loved ones in heaven. Amen.
(From the Carmel of Port Tobacco, Maryland)

May Saint Therese guide us on her Little Way and teach us to receive everything as a grace. We want to say with her: Each moment brings an opportunity to choose your will in love. In joy, in sorrow, in every circumstance of life, may our hearts rest in Yours.


Second Day

Confidence
We can never have too much confidence in the Good God. He is so mighty and merciful. As we hope in Him so shall we receive...I believe, I hope, I love.                    St. Therese

Novena Prayer
St. Therese, Flower of fervor and love, please intercede for me. Fill my heart with your pure love of God. Make me more aware of the goodness of God and how well he tends His garden. Instill in me your "Little Way" of doing ordinary things with extra-ordinary love. Give me the heart of a child who wonders at life and embraces everything with loving enthusiasm. Teach me your delight in God's ways so that divine charity may blossom in my heart. Little Flower of Jesus, bring my petitions (mention here) before God our Father. With your confidence, I come before Jesus as God's child, because you are my heavenly friend. Amen.

Third Day

Abandonment
The heart of St. Therese's "spiritual childhood" is total abandonment to the will of God. Sometimes as Carmelites we forget the other part of Therese's message: suffering. Yes, she abandoned herself to God
through holy suffering. People who read about St. Therese for the first time, perhaps reading Story of a Soul, find her simple and sweet. This is certainly not the case when one studies her writings. I would highly recommend the book St. Therese of Lisieux her last conversations, translated by John Clarke, OCD.

This book lays out page by page St. Therese's total abandonment to the will of God through heroic suffering.This abandonment is not an attitude of o.k. whatever happens, happens, I will deal with it. No, this holy abandonment in the life of a Carmelite is found in the waiting upon the Lord in prayer from moment to moment, ready to accept the joys and sufferings that He wills. And to accept all from his loving hand with a spirit of joy and peace. Near the end of her life when speaking of her great suffering St. Therese stated, "If i did not simply live from one moment to another it would be impossible for me to be patient, but I look only at the present. I forget the past and I take good care not to forestall the future. When we yield to discouragement or despair, it is usually because we think too much about the past or the future."She also said, "I thank Thee, O my God, for all the graces Thou hast bestowed on me, and particularly for having made me pass through the crucible of suffering."Let us as Carmelites pray to have the grace to imitate her total willingness to embrace the cross and rejoice in following Jesus on the narrow road of salvation.

Novena Prayer
O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love. O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God today to grant the favors I now place with confidence in your hands...(Mention your request)St. Therese, help me to always believe as you did, in God's great love for me, so that I might imitate your "Little Way" each day. Amen

Fourth Day
Faith

For one whose faith is like a mustard seed, He grants miracles, and moves mountains to strengthen this faith. For His intimate friends, He works miracles before having tried their faith. But after the trial
what a reward! St. Therese St. Therese accepted the supernatural gift of faith with a total trust and confidence in God befitting a true
child of God with a pure heart. She wanted the whole world to love God as she loved him. She wanted to share this gift of faith and proclaim it to all continents of the earth, exclaiming, "I would spread the gospel to all parts of the earth even to the farthest isles. I would be a missionary but not for a few years only; were it possible I would wish to have been one from the world's creation and to remain one until the end of time."

We know from her writings that she suffered through the dark night of faith. She stated that for long years the Lord gave her no consolations, it was she says, "as if, our Lord were asleep in the boat." But she rejoices at this saying, " I love all He does."

Let us pray to our little doctor of great Love to help us to love Him as she loves Him. May we see in her shower of roses a symbol of "everything is a grace" and let us love everything He does in our lives as a shower of roses from heaven.

Novena Prayer
Saint Therese, through your example you taught us how to love God. Help us to grow in faith that our charity may be made perfect. Trusting that he will always hear our prayers, we renew our spiritual commitment and ask to be strengthened by God's love.

St. Therese, you showed us a way pleasing to God the "Little Way" of spiritual childhood. Lead us along this way to the light of God and the beauty of his Kingdom. Help us to see the good in everyone we meet as well as the beauty in ourselves.

Help us to keep our eternal goal in mind, knowing that Our Lord is waiting for us at the end of this life where we hope to meet you along with our dear departed loved ones in heaven. Amen.

May Saint Therese guide us on her Little Way and teach us to receive everything as a grace. We want to say with her: Each moment brings an opportunity to choose your will in love. In joy, in sorrow, in every circumstance of life, may our hearts rest in Yours. Amen.

Fifth Day
Humility

Answering one day the question of Mother Agnes of Jesus-her sister Pauline-: "What do you mean by remaining little before God? What is your Little Way?" She replied: It is to recognize our nothingness, to expect everything from God as a little child expects everything from its father; it is to be disquieted about nothing, and not to be set on gaining our living...To be little is not attributing to oneself the virtues that one practises, believing oneself capable of anything, but to recognise that God places this treasure in the hands of His little child to be used where necessary; but it remains always God's treasure. Finally, it means not to become discouraged over one's faults, for children fall often, but they are too little to hurt themselves very much."(From the Little Way Association)

Did you read between the lines of St. Therese's response? She is describing humility in her unique way, in light of a child of God. St. Teresa of Jesus teaches us that humility is truth, and St. Therese has spelled out for us this truth. We are God's children, and all the graces and virtue we receive are His through the Holy Spirit who gifts us with grace.

Pride is one of the greatest death sentences to the spiritual life. When we try to do our own will with our "own power" we run into obstacles and lose the precious gift of humility in which we see ourselves as mere creatures before the All Mighty God who created us. St. Therese's Little Way is a fast-track, if you will, to holiness. It is simple and uncomplicated. You don't need to have the stigmata, perform healing, or read hearts, you simply choose to love in every circumstance of life.

Here are some qualities of spiritual childhood exhibited by St. Therese (Again, courtesy of the Little Way Association):

*Total Confidence in the heavenly Father
*Abandonment and self-surrender to the Father
*Simplicity
*Love
*Joy
*Humility
*Value of little things
*Docility
*Weakness
*Simple prayer
*Openness
*Living in the moment

Novena Prayer
O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love. O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God today to grant the favors I now place with confidence in your hands...(mention your request)St. Therese, help me to always believe as you did, in god's great love for me, so that I might imitate your "Little Way" each day. Amen.

Sixth Day
Suffering
"For Love's sake I wish to suffer and to rejoice: so shall I strew my flowers. Not one that I see but, singing all the while, I will scatter its petals before thee. Should my roses be gathered from amid thorns,
I will sing notwithstanding, and the longer and sharper the thorns, the sweeter will grow my song."

A common expression is used today when describing a person one looks up to with admiration, people say,"He's my hero." "She's my hero." The Catholic Church is full of saintly "heroes." The Church does not canonize people because of extra-ordinary mystical graces, or because they suffered, or because they had the gift of healing or prophecy. No, the Church canonizes members of the faithful who have lived a life of heroic virtue. Saint Therese is a perfect example of doing what St. Paul exhorts us to do: "do everything with love."

We know that St. Therese wanted to be love in the heart of the Church. And God gave her the grace to live, suffer and die with great love. The Church has proclaimed her, "Doctor of Love." A fitting title indeed for one who abandoned herself completely to the merciful love of God.

As lay Carmelites, let us pray to our sister and Saint, Therese, to obtain for us the grace to live, to suffer, and to die with God's holy love firmly rooted in our heart.

Novena Prayer
St Therese Flower of fervor and love, please intercede for me. Fill my heart with your pure love of God. Make me more aware of the goodness of God and how well He tends His garden. Instill in me your "little way" or doing ordinary things with extra-ordinary love. Give me the heart of a child who wonders at life and embraces everything with loving enthusiasm. Teach me your delight in God's ways so that divine charity may blossom in my heart.

Little Flower of Jesus, bring my petitions (mention here) before God our Father. With your confidence, I come before Jesus as God's child, because you are my heavenly friend.

Seventh Day
Love of the Gospels

The Kingdom of God is within you. It is especially the Gospels which sustain me during my hours of prayer, for in them I find what is necessary for me. I am constantly discovering in them, new lights, hidden and mysterious meanings. St. Therese

It is well-known that St. Therese loved holy scripture and also the Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis.

The saints heard the Word of God and like Mary treasured it in their hearts. The lives of the saints become an open book of the gospels in which we can read chapter after chapter their call to love God and neighbor and their heroic response.

Let us pray that as Lay Carmelites we strive to imitate the saints and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel who pondered the Word in her heart. May our light shine, the word of God, residing in our hearts, so that others may see it and give glory to God the Father.

Novena Prayer
Loving God, open our eyes to the light of faith and truth. May your light and love sustain us at all times. May St. Therese guide us on her Little Way and teach us to receive everything as a grace. We want to say with her: Each moment brings an opportunity to choose your will in love. In joy, in sorrow, in every circumstance of life, may our hearts rest in Yours.


Eighth Day
Prayer

When St. Therese was a little girl she used to go fishing with her father. She states in her writings that she would go off on her own during these trips to sit alone amid the flowers in the field, and that she became absorbed in deep prayer. We can see that at this early age she is exhibiting the heart of a contemplative.

Many times people get caught up in studying St. Teresa's mansions, or St. John of the Cross's transforming union (spiritual marriage), wondering what level they are at and so forth. This can be a great obstacle to simple prayer. We must keep in mind, too, that simple (contemplative) prayer is a total gift from God.

In the writings of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross they teach us that in deep prayer there is usually no mystical phenomena that is sometimes associated in the prayer life of beginners. God uses these experiences sometimes to attract the soul.

The Great Command of Our Lord was for us to love God and our neighbor. St. Teresa of Jesus also teaches this. She said, "You know you are loving God if you are loving your neighbor."

St. Therese is a good example of a Saint who has reached the heights in prayer. It is not a life of obvious mystical phenomena but a condition of the heart: a pure heart that can see and adore God as his child.

Novena Prayer
Saint Therese, through your example you taught us how to love God. Help us to grow in faith that our charity may be made perfect. Trusting that he will always hear our prayers, we renew our spiritual commitment and ask to be strengthened by God's love.

St. Therese, you showed us a way pleasing to God the "Little Way" of spiritual childhood. Lead us along this way to the light of God and the beauty of his Kingdom. Help us to see the good in everyone we meet as well as the beauty in ourselves.

Help us to keep our eternal goal in mind, knowing that Our Lord is waiting for us at the end of this life where we hope to meet you along with our dear departed loved ones in heaven. Amen.

Ninth Day
LOVE OF ALL
I understand now that charity consists in bearing with the faults of others, in not being surprised at their weakness, in being edified by the smallest acts of virtue we see them practice.  My Vocation is Love. St. Paul explains how the most perfect gifts are nothing without love. Charity gave me the key to my vocation.

The Church has a heart and this Heart was burning with love. I understood that LOVE comprised all vocations, that love was everything, that it embraced all times and places...In a word, that it was eternal! My vocation is Love! Yes, I have found my place in the Church, my Mother, I shall be love.       St. Therese

Novena Prayer
God our Father, you have promised your kingdom to those who are willing to become like little children. Help us to follow the way of St. Therese with confidence so that by her prayers we may come to know your eternal glory. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

I hope you have experienced the intercession of the Little Flower.

Thank you for participating in this novena with me.

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