|Prayer Card: The Little Flower of the Divine Prisoner|
The night which transformed St.Therese’s life as a teenager was also resulting from this “fusion” of His Eucharistic Love with her love. At mid-night Mass on Christmas of 1886 “‘the strong and powerful God’ of the creche whom she had just received in communion clothed her with strength forever.” (Descouvemont and Loose.) Moreover it was a prayer card of Jesus, the Divine Prisoner in the tabernacle, that inspired Therese to be His Little flower of love. Painted on the card, which was given to Therese by her sister Pauline, was a little flower growing towards Jesus in the tabernacle. It was on its stem that Pauline wrote her name. Wishing to emulate this, St. Therese wrote,
“The little flower of the Divine Prisoner told me so many things that I was immersed in them. Seeing Pauline’s name written at the bottom of the little flower, I wished Therese’s name could be there too and so I offered myself to Jesus to be His little flower.”
From the Story of a Soul, by St Therese herself:
"The Little Flower of the Divine Prisoner" suggested so many thoughts that I would remain gazing at it in a kind of ecstasy. I offered myself to Our Lord to be His Little Flower, I longed to console Him, to draw as near as possible to the Tabernacle, to be looked on, cared for, and gathered by Him.
As Descouvemont and Loose explain, “Jesus remains alone behind the door, like a prisoner in his cell: no one comes to visit him. The bars in the picture irresistibly brought to the minds of the child the grill of the Carmel behind which Pauline would make herself prisoner and hide herself definitively. On May 8th, in fact, in the chapter room of the monastery or rue de Livarot, Sister Agnes would make her religious profession. Therese hoped to join her there as soon as possible so that she too might offer the flower of her love to the ‘Divine Prisoner of the Tabernacle.’
Full text of "The Little Flower of the Divine Prisoner":
St. Thérèse of Lisieux’s Favorite Childhood Poem
Between two cold prison bars, there grew a humble plant
That charmed away the weariness of a poor prisoner;
It was the only happiness of his suffering soul,
The only pastime of his sorrowful home!...
Beneath the gloomy walls of his dismal dwelling place,
His hand had planted it ... he watered it with tears!...
And as a reward for his care, he saw the poor little thing
Give him unceasingly its perfumes and its flowers....
Oh! My divine Master, in the depths of the tabernacle,
For 1800 years a prisoner out of love,
Despite our coldness, through a constant miracle,
Near us You have fixed Your dwelling place;
And there, more abandoned, even more alone
Than the poor prisoner whose neglected state I pity,
Your tenderness implores, yea, begs for the hearts
Of Your perverse children, those ingrates who refuse You this gift....
Alas! Since they never cease to flee obstinately from You,
Since they leave You all alone, O God of my heart!
Out of pity, lower Your eyes to look on my lowliness—
I will be, my JESUS, Your little flower....
Hear the unceasing prayer of my soul:
It is You who are inspiring it, Lord; grant my request.
Oh! Tell me how, humble flower that I am, in order to please You,
My soul, placed in Your hands, will forget itself, expecting nothing in return.
So! It is into FAITH ... it is into UNDISGUISED FAITH ...
That My hand would plant that little flower,
Who, living for ME ALONE ... unknown and unrecognized by mortals,
Would have no other Sun than a glance from My heart.
For this tender flower, I would like as Root,
That hope in Me that never weakens;
Infinite hope in My divine Goodness ...
Abandonment of a child who knows that it is cherished....
For its Stem, it would need, without desire and without fear,
A tranquil, a joyful, a prompt acquiescence
To the slightest call of My holy will ...
Without hesitation, without any reasoning.
It would delight me if, taking for its Leaves
Complete disregard for the esteem and consideration of others,
It knew how to veil, to the eye that beholds it,
The gifts that it has received from My divine hands.
I would want it to have as its Flower a constant joy,
That could be troubled neither by setbacks ... nor sorrow ...
That even racked by suffering and bitterness,
Would still know how to delight in my joy.
Finally, its Fruit would be that virtue that is so pure
That it sees GOD ALONE ... here below, as in heaven ...
That no longer has regard for any created thing,
That seeks in ME alone the end and goal of its desires....
In this way, achieving the expectation of my plans,
It will have been made worthy of the sweetest favor;
And into My sacred heart, grafting my humble plant
By uniting it to MYSELF, I will make its true joy.
Translation copyright © 2006 by Robert J. Edmonson, CJ.
All rights reserved.
|Fresco painted by St. Therese around the tabernacle of the Carmel in Lisieux|
O! saint autel qu’environment les Anges!
Qu’avec transport aujourd’hui je te vois!
Ici, mon Dieu, l’objet de mes louanges
M’offre son Corps pour la premier fois…
[O holy altar where the angels are hovering!
With what transport I see you today!
Here, my God, the object of my praises
Offers himself to me for the first time].
Il est à moi, Celui que le ciel même
Que l’universe ne saurait contenir;
Il est à moi, je l’embrasse, je l’aime.
Rien ici-bas ne peut nous désunir…
[He is in me, the One whom even heaven,
Even the universe cannot contain;
He is in me; I embrace Him; I love Him;
Nothing here below can separate us].*
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese, I love You; Save Souls!
Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)
Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori.
Sancte Filumena (Philomena), ora pro nobis
Labels: Autobiography of St Therese, Lent, St Therese of Lisieux, St Therese of the Child Jesus and Holy Face, Story of a Soul by St Therese, The Little Flower of the Divine Prisoner