“My Vocation is Love”

*Preface to this post: yes, I am a hopeless romantic. And am feeling very nostalgic.

Today I opened my copy of Theology of the Body to begin preparing for a talk that I am about to give in a few weeks. . . and a piece of paper fell out. It was titled “ITI Novena to St. Therese” ITI is the school I studied at while in Austria. St. Therese is their patron. One of the many memories I have of the Kartause was walking down the windy stone stairs, always pausing to check my mailbox on the way down. A plaque was placed next to the mailboxes, and it simply said “My vocation is Love.” – St. Therese.

I love St. Therese. When I was about ten my favorite “Vision Book” was “St. Therese and the Roses,” and I’m pretty sure that I must have read that book at least 45 times by the time that I turned fourteen. I never got tired of it . . . it’s a beautiful story. However, once when I was about eighteen or so I remember telling my spiritual director that I had grown tired of reading about the lives of the saints. I was never someone who was attached to watching saint movies like “The Song of Bernadette,” and for some reason I felt that the little synopsis story of saints was really about all there was to it. Somehow I never bridged the gap between the simple fairy tale-like stories of the saints and who they really are.

I don’t think I ever it a second thought until I visited France a few years ago when I was studying in Austria. Story of God’s grace. How I love Him. I can’t even begin to describe the lessons that I learned during that semester, and during that trip, but I doubt I’ll ever forget them either. 

“You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions,
nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.” – St. Therese

France is magical. I don’t know why. Lisieux is beautiful in a very peaceful way. One of the things that I loved about all of the trips that I went on during that semester was the fact that the young women that I was with knew the value of peace, and lived it. Every pilgrimage, whether it be four days or four hours, we’d stop. And rest. And pray. Alone. “Christ speaks in the silence of your heart.”

To Call God my Father and to Know myself His Child, that is Heaven to me...” – St. Therese.

One of my most joyful and dear memories of Lisieux came when I walked around to the back of her house and saw this scene. This was the scene I remember playing back in my mind when I was ten years old. I couldn’t stop smiling.

“Holiness consists simply in doing God’s will, and being just what God wants us to be.”  – St. Therese

Lesson learned: Christ delights in our joyful trust in Him and in our awe of the wonder of His gifts. We weren’t supposed to go in this house. It was supposed to to be closed. What can I say, sometimes God wants to give you a gift.

There are few things better than having French sisters escort you to a quaint french bakery for lunch. And there are few things better than Pain au Chocolat. And there is nothing better than spending the afternoon praying and growing in God’s love with two of the most beautiful friends I have ever met. Lord, how lucky am I?

And how many girls get to spend their 21st birthday under the Eiffel Tower? Ha. I feel old all of a sudden.

Let us see life as it really is…
It is a moment between two eternities…” – St. Therese.

It is a beautiful thing to rest in Him.

Happy Feast Day!


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