St. Therese the little flower, such a beautiful saint and one so pertinent for our times. She said her heaven would be spent doing good on earth.
When we think of St. Therese, we often think of her ‘little way’ or of her life as a Carmelite nun. But what about the lessons she gives to Catholic singles?
St. Therese: A Soul We Can Relate To
She was born in 1873 and died in 1897. Therese was born into an upper-class French family. Her parents, Louis and Zelie, are also saints.
Therese was a particularly sensitive soul, which some of us singles might relate to. She had some psychological issues resulting from the early death of her mother, but was healed by Our Lady.
Overcoming several obstacles, she pursued her vocation at age 15 when she entered a cloistered Carmelite convent. At the end of her life, Therese endured a dark night of the soul, and died of tuberculosis at the tender age of 24 years of age.
She became a doctor of the Church in 1997.
The Spirituality of St. Therese
St. Therese had some similarities with St. Josemaria Escriva, in that she valued the holiness of the ordinary. She saw an opportunity for holiness in everyday occurrences and happenings. She believed small actions could be done with great love for God. This was her “little way.”
Therese also valued simplicity and trusted in God’s love for her. Often, she fell asleep in prayer, but she knew God still loved her. Her spirituality was very childlike.
Therese is the patron saint of missionaries. She was also a warrior, much like Joan of Arc, another saint she portrayed in a play at Carmel.
She became even more well-known after her death and is a doctor of the church.
St. Therese had a great love for roses and she said that after her death, she would let fall a “shower of roses” from heaven. Sometimes petitions to Therese are answered with roses.
I had a single friend who very much wanted to get married. She travelled to a shrine and venerated the relics of St. Therese which were traveling the country. She prayed, “St. Therese, I would like to meet my husband. Please intercede for me.” She met her husband the next week and he asked her out for dinner. On their first date, he brought her a bouquet of roses. St. Therese does answer!
3 Ways Singles Can Imitate St. Therese
What are the ways singles can imitate St. Therese the Little Flower?
1. Practice the little way.
St. Therese was well-known for her little way. This new way of sanctity consisted in doing little things with great love for God. As singles, we are all called to be saints, regardless of whether we are married or not. The little way can speed us along the path of holiness.
This is a beautiful practice for singles who are lay as well. For example, we can offer to God an hour of our work, or making five phone calls to five friends, or visiting a friend who is sick. We can offer up to God any suffering we may go through on a given day.
As singles, we can offer up the joy we had when we went out on a date with someone we really liked. We can offer to God our disappointment when a gentleman we thought would contact us never did. This is very pleasing to God. In essence, Therese’s little way teaches us that small acts of love can make us holy. The morning offering prayer first thing in the morning is a great way for singles to offer to God their day.
2. Cultivate your relationship with God the Father.
St. Therese had a great love for God the Father. She saw herself as His little child and she believed that God would make her a saint.
In our lives we all desire relationships with others. But our first relationship needs to be with God the Father.
Jesus assures us that our Father wants to give us good things: “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?” (Matthew 7:9-11)
Cultivate a personal relationship with God the Father. He loves you so much!
3. Develop a Great Love of Scripture
Some of her writings attest to the fact that Therese had a great love for Scripture, even though Bibles were not widely available at the time she lived. She would collect verses she loved and write them down. She found great joy in reading Scripture.
Scripture is God speaking to us. It is easy to think of scripture as God’s word to other people that they wrote down, but scripture is, in reality, God speaking directly to us.
Singles should imitate this habit of St. Therese and learn to love scripture. If we learn to love scripture, we can learn to hear and listen to the word of God.
Quotes from St. Therese the Little Flower
“My heaven will be spent on earth.” St. Therese
“I will seek out a means of getting to Heaven by a little way—very short and very straight, a little way that is wholly new. We live in an age of inventions; nowadays the rich need not trouble to climb the stairs, they have lifts instead. Well, I mean to try and find a lift by which I may be raised unto God, for I am too tiny to climb the steep stairway of perfection. … Thine Arms, then, O Jesus, are the lift which must raise me up even unto Heaven. To get there I need not grow; on the contrary, I must remain little, I must become still less.”
Novena Rose Prayer
O Little Therese of the Child Jesus
Please pick for me a rose
from the heavenly garden
and send it to me
as a message of love.
O Little Flower of Jesus,
ask God to grant the favors
I now place with confidence
in you hands
( mention your special prayer request here )
St. Therese, help me to always believe
as you did, in God’s great love for me,
so that I may imitate your “Little Way” each day.
Little St. Therese the Little Flower, powerful before God, pray for us singles!