O Thou who can'st to smile on me at dawn of life's beginning!
Come once again to smile on me.... Mother! the night is nigh.
I fear no more thy majesty, so far, so far above me,
For, I have suffered sore with thee; now hear my heart's deep cry!
Oh! let me tell thee face to face, dear Virgin! how I love thee;
And say to thee forevermore:
thy little child am I.
(The Last poem written by St. Therese)
“Sometimes I find my self saying to the Holy Virgin: “Do you know, O cherished Mother, that I think myself more fortunate than you? I have you for Mother and you have not, like me, the blessed Virgin to love … You are, it is true, the Mother of Jesus but you have given Him to me, and He, from the Cross gave you to us as our Mother, so we are richer than you. Of old it was your desire that you might be the little handmaiden of the Mother of God; and I, poor little creature, I am, not your servant, but your child: you are the Mother of Jesus and you are my Mother.” (Thoughts of Saint Therese, 154-5)
For a sermon about Mary to bear fruit, I believe that we need to talk about her real life, such as we can discover in the Gospel and not just what we merely imagine her life was like. It is easy to imagine that her real life, in Nazareth and later, was very ordinary… 'He lived under their authority...' (Lk 2:51). How simple that sounds! We often depict Mary as inaccessible, but wouldn’t it be better to show her as imitable, practising hidden virtue, living from her faith, just like we do? We could give examples of her behavior taken from the Gospel, 'They did not understand what he meant' (Lk 2:50), or, 'The child’s father and mother were wondering at the things that were being said about Him' (Lk 2:33). Their wondering could perhaps imply a certain amount of astonishment, don’t you agree, my Mother? (St Therese, Last Talks)
"A priest, clad in his sacred vestments, is Christ's viceregent to pray to God for himself and for all the people, in a suppliant and humble manner. He has before him and behind him the sign of the Cross of the Lord, that he may always remember the Passion of Christ. He bears the cross before him in his vestment, that he may diligently behold the footsteps of Christ, and fervently endeavor to follow them. He is marked with a cross behind, that he may mildly suffer, for God's sake, whatsoever adversities shall befall him from others. he wears the cross before him, that he may bewail his own sins; and behind him, that through compassion he may lament the sins of others, and know that he placed, as it were, a mediator betwixt God and the sinner. Neither ought he to cease from prayer and the holy oblation, till he be favoured with the grace and mercy which he implores. (Imitation, Bk 4;5)
"Temptations are often very profitable to a man, although they be troublesome and grievous; for in them a man is humbled, purified, and instructed. All the saints have passed through many tribulations and have profited by them: and they who could not support temptations have become reprobate, and fell off. There is not any Order so holy, nor place so retired, where there are not temptations and adversities." (Imitation, 1:13)
"It is true I am not always faithful, but I do not give way to discouragement; I just place myself in Our Lord's arms, and He teaches me to draw profit from both the good and the bad in me. He shows me how to gamble on the bank of love, or rather, He makes all the investments without consulting me. It is not my concern to know how much I am winning; what I have to do is to give myself entirely to Him. After all, I am no prodigal, there is no need for Him to prepare a feast for me, because I am always with Him (Luke 15:31). (Letters)