St. Therese had little patience with legendary stories of Our Lady, or grandiose depictions of her life. The Mary whom Therese knew and loved was the simple maiden of the gospels, who had to live her life with faith and trust in God and with simplicity and love, enduring hardships and trials as she followed the path God marked out for her, even to the foot of the Cross.
Below are some of my favorite observations of Therese about Our Holy Mother.
“It is all very well to speak of her love and prerogatives, but we must not stop there. We must make her loved. If a sermon on Our Lady forces us from beginning to end to gasp with amazement, we soon have enough of it, and it will lead neither to love or imitation. The Blessed Virgin prefers imitation to admiration, as her life was so simple.”
“To ask something of the Blessed Virgin is not the same as to ask something of God. She knows well what to do with all my little desires and it is for her to decide whether to ask for them or not.”
Therese, taking issue with those who claim that the glory of Mary will eclipse that of all the Saints, as the sun eclipses the moon exclaimed:
How strange that would be, a mother extinguishing the glory of her children! I believe quite the opposite, that she increases many times the glory of the elect. We all know that the Blessed Virgin is Queen of Heaven and earth, but she is more Mother than Queen.”
Therese was simply delighted by Mary’s very existence.
“Who could have invented her, if God had not created her just as she is?”
“We are much happier than she is, for she has no Blessed Virgin to love! How much more is that a joy for us, and how much less it is one for her.”
“I like to hide my suffering from God; but I hide nothing from the Blessed Virgin. I tell her everything.”
And…the last words she ever wrote on earth, on the back of a picture of Our Lady of Victories:
“Oh, Mary, if I were the Queen of Heaven and you were Therese, I would like to be Therese in order to see you Queen of Heaven.”
Quotations by Therese taken from Heart of Love Eugene McCaffrey, OCD Veritas publications, 1998
(re-post from the archives, September 2011)