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بين شجوٍ وحنين
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المشاركات : 14,132
الإنتساب : Jun 2002
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I have always heard of her and didn't know what to make of her. I read quotes here and there and didn't catch my attention much. Since I have begun reading her autobiography, I have been completely absorbed and taken by every words she writes and I feel like she is sitting in front of me like a bosom friend telling me her story in all purity, in all simplicity, in an extremely natural manner. Sometimes you read the Saints and you end up feeling they are way up there but not so with our beloved Thérèse who is every bit as human as she can be. I read a part of the book and I feel like I really miss her and I want to go back to her to hear her talking some more to me. Reading just excerpts of her quotes will not do her justice or help you know and meet the real Thérèse. You HAVE to read the Autobiography first and then you would hear her heartbeat in what she is saying in every word she is writing. Reading her I feel like I am getting a letter from a pen-pal living in France and sharing in full transparency how she really feels and what she longs for.

Since the Lord has called me to missionary work reaching out to Muslims, it delighted me to know that my little friend Thérèse also had real longing for proclaiming the Gospel in foreign lands, to the infidels, i.e. those who are still living in darkness and Christ has yet to open their eyes. I adore her missionary, evangelistic zeal. On p. 216 she talks about how since her entrance into the blessed ark, she has always thought that if Jesus did not bring her swiftly to heaven, her lot would be the same as that of Noah's little dove: the Lord would open window of the ark one day, telling Thérèse to fly very far, very far, towards infidel shores, carrying with her the little olive branch. Now, this is true evangelist at heart, and can she preach!

She often talks about realizing her vocation for the foreign missions. As a convert from Islam into Christianity, I had to leave my family and was exiled from my homeland, Egypt. I feel Thérèse can relate to my situation as she says in a child-like manner that He, i.e. Jesus, has given her the attraction for a complete exile (p.218). In her heart, she knew that she is not to make lodging here but her real home is, indeed, heaven. We leave our homelands, where we have had roots all along, and then for the sake of the cross we have to be pulled out of all this be called to a different kind of citizenship, to be a citizen of Heaven, my real home where my ultimate loyalty rests.


I loved her honesty as she, like some of us, struggled with concepts of faith and how she wondered if heaven was real. She was evidently intelligent and she struggled with the realness of some Christian concepts while she herself was full of heaven and her focus was heaven-ward all along. That is one thing I love about the saints: they are not ashamed to express struggles and doubts, and this helps us in many ways to relate to them and take them for close friends. Her littleness was the secret of her spiritual uniqueness and I believe she got her inspiration from the mouth of Eternal Wisdom speaking in the Holy Bible: "Whoever is a LITTLE ONE let him come to me" (Proverbs 9: 4).

What about people who aggravate us and keep giving us a hard time? Does Thérèse have something to say to us from her own experience? Well, she share that in her Community there was a Sister who had the faculty of displeasing her in everything, in her ways, in her words, her character, everything seemed disagreeable to her. Yet, despite all that, Thérèse insists, she must be very pleasing to God, and this should count for a lot. Everytime Thérèse met her she prayed to God for her, offering Him all her virtues and merits. Thérèse says: I felt this was pleasing to Jesus, for there is no artist who doesn't love to receive praise for his works, and Jesus the Artist of souls is happy when we don't stop at the exterior, but, penetrating into the inner sanctuary where He chooses to dwell, we admire its beauty. Whenever Thérèse was tempted to answer her back in a disagreeable manner, I was content with giving her the most friendly smile, and with changing the subject of the conversation as it says in the Imitation: It is better to love each one in his own opinion than to enter into arguments (The Imitation of Christ III, 44: 1). Finally this Sister got curious and one day at recreation she asked Thérèse in almost these words: "Would you tell me Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, what attracts you so much toward me; every time you look at me, I see you smile?" Thérèse explains that what attracted her was Jesus hidden in the depths of her soul; Jesus who makes sweet what is most bitter. Then she answered her that she was smiling because she was so happy to see her.



Many a friend of mine who have told me how she has impacted them greatly in the beginning of their monastic vocation and she is so indispensable to their spiritual growth. What sheer joy and sheer delight!!

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09-01-2012 05:44 PM
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