One of the most famous pictures of St. Therese is when she was in a play she wrote about St. Joan of Arc. This French saint impacted her spirituality as she wrote was the: ‘grace which I have always looked upon as one of the greatest in my life’.
She identified with St. Joan of Arc because of her rejection, betrayal and suffering for the Catholic Church. In this poem that St. Therese composed, you can see into her innermost thoughts about her hero.
To Joan of Arc
When the Lord God of hosts gave you the victory,
You drove out the foreigner and had the king crowned.
Joan, your name became renowned in history.
Our greatest conquerors paled before you.
But that was only a fleeting glory.
Your name needed a Saint’s halo.
So the Beloved offered you His bitter cup,
And, like Him, you were spurned by men.
At the bottom of a black dungeon, laden with heavy chains,
The cruel foreigner filled you with grief.
Not one of your friends took part in your pain.
Not one came forward to wipe your tears.
Joan, in your dark prison you seem to me
More radiant, more beautiful than at your King’s coronation.
This heavenly reflection of eternal glory,
Who then brought it upon you? It was betrayal.
Ah! If the God of love in this valley of tears
Had not come to seek betrayal and death,
Suffering would hold no attraction for us.
Now we love it; it is our treasure.
“Console yourself, Joan, dry your tears.
Lift up your eyes and ears to heaven.
Thence you will learn that to suffer has charms
Of its own.
And you will rejoice with harmonious songs.
These melodies will fortify your soul
For the battle which is soon to come.
You’ll need a love made all of flame,
For you will have to suffer!…
“Since it has been given to me to understand the love of the Heart of Jesus, I own that it has chased all discouragement from mine. The remembrance of my faults humiliates me, and urges me never to depend on my own strength, which is nothing but weakness. Still more does this remembrance speak to me of mercy and of love. When, with all filial confidence we cast our faults into the devouring furnace of love, how should they not be totally consumed?”
“Far from being like to those great souls who from their childhood practice all sorts of mortifications, I made my mortification consist solely in the breaking of my will, restraining a hasty word, rendering little services to those around me without making anything of it, and a thousand other things of this kind.”
“When things that are irritable or disagreeable befall me, instead of assuming an air of sadness, I respond by a smile. At first I was not always successful, but now it is a habit which I am very happy to have acquired.”
We all have many tasks we do not like to do. She teaches us to do it all for Love of Jesus and gain infinite merit. It transforms tedious tasks into joyful loving events.
“Where would your merit be if you fought only when you felt courage? What does it matter if you have none, provided that you act as if you had! If you feel too lazy to pick up a bit of thread, and you nonetheless do it for the love of Jesus, you have more merit than some great accomplishment made in a moment of fervor.”
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.