How the Little Flower Has Taught Me to Love More — and Live in the Present
Cultivating habits of stillness, surrender and gratitude with St. Thérèse.
There is an overwhelming number of books and devotionals by and about St. Thérèse of Lisieux, whose feast day is Oct. 1. Though I love much of what I’ve read, I am particularly fond of her morning offering:
O my God! I offer You all my actions this day for the intentions and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by uniting them to His infinite merits; and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of His merciful love. O my God! I ask You for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the grace to fulfill perfectly Your holy will, to accept for love of You the joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may one day be united together in heaven for all eternity. Amen.
In making this offering, I find greater peace in my day as I allow the grace of the Lord to settle in both my tension and my rest.
St. Thérèse has taught me a great deal through the years, but I am most grateful for the lessons she has taught me about stillness, surrender and gratitude. I have uncovered these themes over and over again through prayer and study, and I also find them woven into this offering.
Too often, my mind races into the future or dwells on the past. Both of these tendencies leave me feeling tense at best, utterly discouraged and overwhelmed at worst. Days are filled with long to-do lists and tasks I feel I’ll never complete. Not to mention the larger-scale qualms of my heart that can feel hard to face. From my rising till my resting, it often feels like there is no time to spare. St. Thérèse’s words gently draw me back to the present moment, reminding me of how simple it can be to unite ourselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. When I feel like I have nothing more to give, or am overwhelmed by what lies ahead, I am reminded that even my heartbeat, when offered with love, is enough. Here, with St. Thérèse, I rest, even for a moment.
An offering is an act of surrender, and this prayer is a beautiful example of that. St. Thérèse reveals how even a small gift can have eternal merit. If there was one thing to take away from the Little Flower’s spirituality, it’s that absolutely everything we do, when done in love, is a stunning gift to place at the feet of Jesus. As I pray with St. Thérèse, she teaches me to turn everything I do into a prayer. Suddenly, a day filled with to-dos becomes a series of small offerings that I thread together like a strand of pearls. I bring this, too, to Christ’s throne.
As St. Thérèse teaches me to shift my focus on turning my whole life into an act of love, she illuminates for me how to soften my heart. As a student of St. Thérèse and her spiritually, I find that my gratitude has grown exponentially — in both the joys and the sorrows. As my heart becomes more tender, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all the places the Lord reveals himself to me throughout my day. In my work, my rest and my prayer, I find him and I praise him.
I, like many, have found the friendship of St. Thérèse to be both edifying and enjoyable. The more I get to know her, the more I am moved by how she, through Jesus, invites me to transform the mundane into the mystical.