Monday, April 27, 2009

“My Vocation, Love: 1896”: Chapter 9 of “The Story of a Soul”*

I have been reading “The Story of a Soul”, by St. Therese of Lisieux. (See below for links to my previous posts on this book.) This chapter is comprised of what had been known as “Manuscript B”, and is written in the form of a letter to her older sister, Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart.

Therese narrates a dream she had in which the Venerable Mother Anne of Jesus told her that she did not have long on this earth, and that God was very happy with her.

She speaks of the great vocations she wishes she could fill. Her greatest dream is that of martyrdom. She writes: “When I think about all the torments that will be the lot of Christians at the time of the Antichrist, I feel my heart leap, and I would like for those torments to be reserved for me.”

How many times have I feared having to raise my children in the end times? Yet we are not to be afraid. That she would welcome suffering for Christ is so mysterious to me. Yet aren’t we told, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for My sake?”

Then she describes how she came to the slow realization that she could fill all these vocations by embracing the vocation of Love.

“…I understood that Love contains all the Vocations, that Love is all, that it embraces all times and all places…in a word, that it is Everlasting! Yes, I have found my place in the Church, and that place, my God, You have given me…In the Heart of the Church, my Mother, I will be Love…That way I will be everything…that way my dream will become a reality!!!”

How many times have I heard other educated stay-at-home moms say things like, “I got a Masters’ Degree for THIS?” Our parents gave us a good education and encouraged us to pursue our dreams. Then we decided not to use it in the work force. Sometimes we wonder what we could have done if we had stayed on the career path. I know I still have lofty dreams of vocations I would like to fill in the future, while also continuing my writing: missionary tops the list. I once thought I might want to be a nun; I guess it’s too late for that. But Love is the Vocation of all mothers. In that we can accomplish all things.

Yes, I have found my place in the World, and that place, my God, You have given me…In the Heart of my Home, I will be Love…That way I will be everything…that way my dream will become a reality!!!

*The chapter divisions differ from translation to translation. The one I am reading is translated and edited by Robert J. Edmonson, Paraclete Press, 2006. The writings that have come down as “Manuscript B” comprise the ninth chapter of this book.

For my reflections on the first eight chapters, please see my previous posts:
Chapters 1-4
Chapters 5-8


Loren Christie said...

This is a very nice reflection. It's fun to see what you pull from the book.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

I'm trying not to comment on the sections you highlighted!