Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
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“Jesus set before me the book of nature.”
Writings on Nature from the Autobiography of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, “Story of a Soul”
AH! HOW QUICKLY those sunny years passed by, those years of my childhood, but what a sweet
imprint they have left on my soul! I recall the days Papa used to bring us to the pavilion; the
smallest details are impressed in my heart. I recall especially the Sunday walks when Mamma
used to accompany us. I still feel the profound and poetic impressions which were born in my
soul at the sight of fields enameled with corn-flowers and all types of wild flowers. Already I was
in love with the wide-open spaces. Space and the gigantic fir trees, the branches sweeping down
to the ground, left in my heart an impression similar to the one I experience still today at the
sight of nature.
JESUS DEIGNED TO TEACH ME this mystery. He set before me the book of nature; I understood how all the flowers
He has created are beautiful, how the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the Lily do not take away the
perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all flowers wanted to be
roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wild
flowers. And so it is in the world of souls, Jesus' garden. He willed to create great souls comparable to lilies and
roses, but He has created smaller ones and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to
God's glances when He looks down at His feet. Perfection consists in doing
His will, in being what He wills us to be.
JUST AS THE sun shines simultaneously on the tall cedars and on each little
flower as though it were alone on the earth, so Our Lord is occupied
particularly with each soul as though there were no others like it. And just
as in nature all the seasons are arranged in such a way as to make the
humblest daisy bloom on a set day, in the same way, everything works out
for the good of each soul.
I WAS HAPPY to see Papa coming to fetch us. When we were on the way
home, I would gaze upon the stars which were twinkling ever so peacefully
in the skies and the sight carried me away. There was especially one cluster
of golden pearls which attracted my attention and gave me great joy
because they were in the form of a -T-. I pointed them out to Papa and told
him my name was written in heaven. Then desiring to look no longer at this dull earth, I asked him to guide my
steps; and not looking where I placed my feet I threw back my head, giving myself over completely to the
contemplation of the star-studded firmament!
GOD REJOICES MORE in what He can do in a soul humbly resigned to its poverty than in the creation of millions of
suns and the vast stretch of the heavens.
AH! IF GOD had not showered His beneficent rays upon His little flower, she could never have accustomed herself to
earth, for she was too weak to stand up against the rains and the storms. She needed warmth, a gentle dew, and
the springtime breezes. Never were these lacking. Jesus had her find them beneath the snow of trial!
NEVER WILL I FORGET the impression the sea made upon me;
I couldn't take my eyes off it since its majesty, the roaring of
its waves, everything spoke to my soul of God's grandeur and
WITH ENRAPTURED GAZE we beheld the white moon rising
quietly behind the tall trees, the silvery rays it was casting
upon sleeping nature, the bright stars twinkling in the deep
skies, the light breath of the evening breeze making the snowy
clouds float easily along; all this raised our souls to heaven.
I HAVE NOTICED in all the serious circumstances of my life that
nature always reflected the image of my soul. On days filled
with tears the heavens cried along with me; on days of joy the
sun sent forth its joyful rays in profusion and the blue skies
were not obscured by a single cloud.
BEFORE REACHING...the goal of our pilgrimage, we were given
the opportunity of contemplating many marvels. First there was
Switzerland with its mountains whose summits were lost in the
clouds, its graceful waterfalls gushing forth in a thousand
different ways, its deep valleys literally covered with gigantic
ferns and scarlet heather. Ah! Mother, how much good these
beauties of nature, poured out in such profusion, did my
soul. They raised it to heaven... There was, farther on, a huge
lake gilded by the sun's rays, its calm waters blending their
azure tints with the fires of the setting sun. All this presented to our enraptured gaze the most poetic and
enchanting spectacle one could possibly imagine. And at the end of the vast horizon, we perceived mountains
whose indistinct contours would have escaped us had not their snowy summits made visible by the sun not come to
add one more charm to the beautiful lake which thrilled us so. When I saw all these beauties very profound
thoughts came to life in my soul. I seemed to understand already the grandeur of God and the marvels of heaven...
I shall remember what my eyes have seen today. This thought will encourage me and I shall easily forget my own
little interests, recalling the grandeur and power of God, this God whom I want to love alone. I shall not have the
misfortune of snatching after straws, now that "my HEART HAS AN IDEA of what Jesus has reserved for those who
love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).
YOU KNOW, DEAR MOTHER, how much I love flowers; when making myself a prisoner at the age of fifteen [when
Therese entered Carmel of Lisieux], I gave up forever the pleasure of running through the fields decked out in their
springtime treasures. Well, never in my life did I possess so many flowers as after my entrance into Carmel. It is
the custom for fiancés to often give their fiancées bouquets and Jesus didn't forget it. He sent me in great
abundance sheaves of corn flowers, huge daisies, poppies, etc., all the flowers that delighted me the most. There
was even a little flower called corn-cockle which I had never found since our stay at Lisieux; I wanted very much to
see it again, that flower of my childhood which I had picked in the fields of Alencon. And at Carmel it came to smile
at me again and show me that in the smallest things as well as the greatest, God gives the hundredfold in his life to
those souls who leave everything for love of Him.
I LOOK UPON MYSELF as a weak little bird, with only a light down as covering. I am not an eagle, but I have only
an eagle's EYES AND HEART. In spite of my extreme littleness I still dare to gaze upon the Divine Sun, the Sun of
Love, and my heart feels within it all the aspirations of an Eagle... O Divine Word! You are the Adored Eagle whom I
love and who alone attracts me!... Eternal Eagle, You desire to nourish me with Your divine substance and yet I am
but a poor little thing who would return to nothingness if Your divine glance did not give me life from one moment
to the next.
I will let fall from heaven...a shower of roses.
Translation Copyright © by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc. 1975, 1976. Photographs of St.
Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, O.C.D., are copyright (c) Office Central, Lisieux France.
Letter from St. Therese to Leonie, November 5, 1893
Consider the oaks of our countryside, how crooked they are; they thrust their branches to right and
left, nothing checks them so they never reach a great height. On the other hand, consider the oaks
of the forest, which are hemmed in on all sides, they see light only up above, so their trunk is free
of all those shapeless branches which rob it of the sap needed to lift it aloft. It sees only heaven, so
all its strength is turned in that direction, and soon it attains a prodigious height. In the religious life
the soul like the young oak is hemmed in on all sides by its rule. All its movements are hampered,
interfered with by the other trees... But it has light when it looks toward heaven, there alone it can rest its gaze,
never upon anything below, it need not be afraid of rising too high.
Read this marvelous homily from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on the Little Flower.
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