Wednesday, September 21, 2011
A Top for the Child Jesus
In the early morning hours when sleep is elusive and prayer is dry, I take great comfort in reading the words of wisdom that I find here in the world of Catholic blogs. I am always amazed at the vast wealth of holiness that is revealed through the words of so many faithful people and one look at my blogroll will reveal many (though not all) of the blogs that uplift my soul day after day.
One blog in particular, has been wielding an influence on my faith quite distinctly these days. Patricia at I Want to See God has a deep devotion to St. Therese and her posts are filled with words of wisdom and love from this very special saint. It was through the inspiration of Patricia that I was led to check out a stack of books written by or about St. Therese from the Salzmann Library at St. Francis de Sales Seminary, and although those books are long past overdue, I just can't seem to part with them and am finding little gems in each of the books that move my heart towards a deeper love of God.
I am particularly fond of reading books that are compilations of letters written by the saints. In personal letters, I feel that the real day to day lives and emotions of the saints are reflected most clearly, so I am especially enjoying The Collected Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux and have been deeply moved by the letters that she wrote in the last year of her life while she was in intense pain. Although her faith was mature beyond her years, St. Therese had a child-like love for the Lord and would often refer to herself as a toy for the Child Jesus.
The following letter of St. Therese was written to Sister Marie of the Trinity, and in the whole book of letters, I found this one to be the most charming and the most meaningful. Sister Marie liked to play a game called "Skittles" and had recently taught the novices how to play with a top. That night, St. Therese left the top and the following letter in Sister Marie's cell:
"My dearest little Bride, Oh! how pleased I am with you...All through the year you have entertained me vastly with your skittles. I enjoyed it so much that the angelic court was surprised and delighted, more than one of the smaller Cherubim asked me why I had not made him a child...more than one went on to ask me if I didn't like the melody of his harp better than your joyous laugh when you knocked down a skittle with the ball you called love? I answered my little Cherubim that they must not worry about not being children, because one day they would be able to play with you in the fields of heaven, and I told them that certainly your smile was lovelier to me than their melodies, because you could not play and smile except by suffering, by forgetting yourself.
Beloved little Bride, I have a request to make, you will not refuse me?...Oh, no! you love me too well. So-I confess I should like a change of game; skittles are great fun, but now I want to play at tops, and you shall be my top. I give you one for a model, it isn't beautiful, anyone who didn't know what to do with it would kick it out of his way, but a child would leap for joy to see it; he would say: "Ah! isn't it fun, it can keep on going all day and never stop."
I, the Child Jesus, love you, though you have no charm, and I beg you to keep on going to entertain me...But to keep the top going, it must be whipped...So, let the sisters do you this favor, and be grateful to those who are the most assiduous in keeping you from slowing down. When I have had enough pleasure from you, I shall bring you up there, and we can play with no suffering. Your little Brother Jesus.
May we all become a "top" for Jesus. May we endure and keep going without slowing down; to allow ourselves to be whipped by suffering knowing that it pleases the Child Jesus, with the understanding that one day we will be with him in a place of eternal play without suffering.
You may also enjoy these words of wisdom written by another child, my son, John, at his blog, Writings of a Boy Discerning God's Call.