From the Lectures of Titus Brandsma ii

The Little Flower dreamt of conquering the world for
God and to realise this dream she entered a convent
where she was quite shut off from the world and then
cried out, transported with joy, that her dream had
come true. Only he can grasp this who has penetrated
into the secrets of God’s grace; who understands that
in praying for grace and in sacrificing our life in
union with the Sacrifice of Calvary, God’s Grace is
obtained. In this the chief part of pastoral care and
of missionary work consists. This is the most splendid
and intimate joining of the active and contemplative
life, not in one person but in the mystical Body of
which we are all members. We must be glad that the
unity of the mystical Body of Christ recreates even the
most secluded life, spent quite shut off from the world
and in the service of God, making it a fit soil for
missionary work, from which the latter can ever draw
new sap of God’s grace. This thought has led to the
foundations of Carmels in the missionary countries
also. Over and above the other sacrifices, these
Sisters give up their country and climate and take a
lifelong farewell of parents, relations and friends of
their own. This idea drew little Therese in desire to
Indo-China. “Here,” she writes, “here I am loved and
this affection is very sweet to me. But that is just
why I dream of a convent in which I should be unknown,
in which I should have to bear the exile of the heart
as well. I should like to go to Hanoi, to suffer much
for the good Lord. I should like to go there to be
lonely, to have no single consolation, no single joy on
earth.”

Besides, the sight of these convents in the missions
keeps alive the idea of the value of the Apostolate of
prayer, both for those who practice it and for those
who remain outside. It is edifying to see how
missionaries themselves vie with each other in founding
Carmelite convents: how Popes and Bishops insist on the
building of these houses; how the Pope, to further this
thought, has made little St. Therese to be the patron
saint of all mission work as well as the work of the
reunion of Churches.

We Should Imitate the Little Flower.

This should indue all who are called to the spiritual
life of Carmel but especially those who cannot now, or
who can no longer, take an active part in the
Apostolate of the Church — to regard contemplation as
the better part of the Order and should urge them to
follow as strictly as possible the contemplative life,
calling down the indispensable blessing of God on the
activity of the others.

From the small convent of Lisieux St. Therese has
preached her “Little Way” by sweeping the corridors and
washing dishes, cleaning the oratory and working in the
garden, by nursing the sick and helping the needy, by
studying at the proper time and reading what the mind
requires for its development. She has so conquered the
world. It is no wonder that this conception of inner
life of the school of Carmel, laid down in her Story of
a Soul, has drawn thousands to Carmel, that in our
busy, hurrying time she stands high, like a lighthouse
in a churning sea.

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