The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux With Additional Writings and Sayings of St. Thérèse
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Selected Poems of Soeur Thérèse, the Little Flower of Jesus
My Song of To-Day
Oh! how I love Thee, Jesus! my soul aspires to Thee-- And yet for one day only my simple prayer I pray! Come reign within my heart, smile tenderly on me, To-day, dear Lord, to-day!
But if I dare take thought of what the morrow brings, It fills my fickle heart with dreary, dull dismay; I crave, indeed, my God, the Cross and sufferings, But only for to-day!
O sweetest Star of Heaven! O Virgin, spotless, blest, Shining with Jesus' light, guiding to Him my way! Mother! beneath thy veil let my tired spirit rest, For this brief passing day!
Soon shall I fly afar among the holy choirs, Then shall be mine the joy that knoweth no decay; And then my lips shall sing, to Heaven's angelic lyres, The eternal, glad To-day!
"I find in my Beloved the mountains, the lonely and wooded vales, the distant isles, the murmur of the waters, the soft whisper of the zephyrs . . . the quiet night with its sister the dawn, the perfect solitude--all that delights and all that fires our love."--St. John of the Cross.
I hold full sweet your memory, My childhood days, so glad, so free. To keep my innocence, dear Lord, for Thee, Thy Love came to me night and day, Alway. . . . . . . .
I loved the swallows' graceful flight, The turtle doves' low chant at night, The pleasant sound of insects gay and bright, The grassy vale where doth belong Their song. . . . . . . .
I loved the glow-worm on the sod; The countless stars, so near to God, But most I loved, in all the sky abroad, The shining moon of silver bright, At night. . . . . . . .
The grass is withered in its bed; The flowers within my hands are dead. Would that my weary feet, Jesu! might tread Thy Heavenly Fields, and I might be With Thee! . . . . . . .
My rainbow in the rain-washed skies-- Horizon where my suns arise-- My isle in far-off seas--pearl I most prize-- Sweet spring and butterflies--I see In Thee! . . . . . . .
In Thee I have the springs, the rills, The mignonette, the daffodils, The Eglantine, the harebell on the hills, The trembling poplar, sighing low And slow. . . . . . . .
The lovely lake, the valley fair And lonely in the lambent air, The ocean touched with silver everywhere-- In Thee their treasures, all combined, I find. . . . . . . .
I go to chant, with Angel-throngs, The homage that to Thee belongs. Soon let me fly away, to join their songs! Oh, let me die of love, I pray, One day! . . . . . . .
I hear, e'en I, Thy last and least, The music from Thy Heavenly Feast; There, deign receive me as Thy loving guest And, to my harp, let me but sing, My King! . . . . . . .
Unto the Saints I shall be near, To Mary, and those once treasured here. Life is all past, and dried is every tear; To me my home again is given-- In Heaven.
April 28, 1895.
I Thirst for Love
In wondrous Love, Thou didst come down from Heaven To immolate Thyself, O Christ, for me; So, in my turn, my love to Thee is given-- I wish to suffer and to die for Thee.
Thou, Lord, didst speak this truth benign: "To die for one loved tenderly, Of greatest love on earth is sign"; And now, such love is mine-- Such love for Thee!
Do Thou abide with me, O Pilgrim blest! Behind the hill fast sinks the dying day. Helped by Thy Cross, I mount the rocky crest; Oh, come, to guide me on my Heavenward Way.
To be like Thee is my desire; Thy Voice finds echo in my soul. Suffering I crave! Thy words of fire Lift me above earth's mire, And sin's control.
Chanting Thy victories, gloriously sublime, The Seraphim--all Heaven--cry to me, That even Thou, to conquer sin and crime, Upon this earth a sufferer needs must be.
For me upon life's dreary way What scorn, what anguish, Thou didst bear! Let me but hide me day by day, Be least of all, alway, Thy lot to share.
Ah, Christ! Thy great example teaches me Myself to humble, honours to despise. A little one--as Thou--I choose to be, Forgetting self, so I may charm Thine Eyes.
My peace I find in solitude, Nor ask I more, dear Lord, than this: Be Thou my sole beatitude, And ever--in Thee--renewed My joy, my bliss!
Thou, the great God Whom earth and Heaven adore, Thou dwell'st a prisoner for me night and day; And every hour I hear Thy Voice implore: "I thirst--I thirst--I thirst--for love alway!"
I, too, Thy prisoner am I; I, too, cry ever unto Thee Thine own divine and tender cry: "I thirst!" Oh, let me die Of love for Thee.
For love of Thee I thirst! fulfil my hope; Augment in me Thine own celestial flame! For love of Thee I thirst! too scant earth's scope: The glorious Vision of Thy Face I claim!
My long, slow martyrdom of fire Still more and more consumeth me. Thou art my joy, my one desire, Jesu! may I expire Of love for Thee.
April 30, 1896.
To Scatter Flowers
O Jesus! O my Love! each eve I come to fling My springtide roses sweet before Thy Cross divine; By their plucked petals fair, my hands so gladly bring, I long to dry Thine every tear!
To scatter flowers!--that means each sacrifice: My lightest sighs and pains, my heaviest, saddest hours, My hopes, my joys, my prayers--I will not count the price-- Behold my flowers!
With deep untold delight Thy beauty fills my soul, Would I might light this love in hearts of all who live! For this, my fairest flowers, all things in my control, How fondly, gladly would I give!
To scatter flowers!--behold my chosen sword For saving sinners' souls and filling Heaven's bowers: The victory is mine--yea, I disarm Thee, Lord, With these my flowers!
The petals in their flight caress Thy Holy Face; They tell Thee that my heart is Thine, and Thine alone. Thou knowest what these leaves are saying in my place: On me Thou smilest from Thy Throne.
To scatter flowers!--that means, to speak of Thee-- My only pleasure here, where tears fill all the hours; But soon, with Angel Hosts, my spirit shall be free To scatter flowers.
June 28, 1896.
Why I Love Thee, Mary!
Last Poem written by Soeur Thérèse
Henceforth thy shelter in thy woe was John's most humble dwelling; The son of Zebedee replaced the Son Whom Heaven adored. Naught else the Gospels tell us of thy life, in grace excelling; It is the last they say of thee, sweet Mother of my Lord!
But oh! I think that silence means that, high in Heaven's Glory, When time is past, and to their House thy children safe are come, The Eternal Word, my Mother dear, Himself will tell thy story, To charm our souls--thy children's souls--in our Eternal Home.
Soon I shall hear that harmony, that blissful, wondrous singing; Soon, unto Heaven that waits for us, my soul shall swiftly fly. O thou who cam'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 removed above me, For I have suffered sore with thee: now hear me, Mother mild! Oh, let me tell thee face to face, dear Mary! how I love thee; And say to thee for evermore: I am Thy little child.
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