Monday, November 24, 2014

Book review: The Complete Thérèse of Lisieux

Have you ever wondered what childlike faith looks like in an adult? Sometimes I wonder how a middle-aged adult like myself can “go back” to such simple trust. The Complete Thérèse of Lisieux, translated and edited by Robert J. Edmonson, helped me see a beautiful example grounded in a beautiful, biblical understanding of God—fear of the Lord based on tender, intimate love. I recommend reading this book in quiet surroundings at a pace that allows pondering.

I’m not even sure why I bought this book. I am not Catholic. I pray to Jesus, God the Father, the Holy Spirit and find no biblical basis for praying to saints. But in fifth grade I chose Therese as my Catholic confirmation name after Sainte Thérèse of Lisieux. I have no recollection why. Perhaps it was that curiosity that led to the purchase in Paraclete Press’ bookstore on Cape Cod. After reading the book, I still do not remember what possessed my fifth-grade mind to choose Therese, but my adult faith was enriched by reading about this humble saint.

The Complete Thérèse of Lisieux consists not only of Thérèse Martin’s autobiography “The Story of a Soul,” but also of her prayers, letters, and poems, as well as “Remembrances of Thérèse by the Sisters of the Lisieux Carmel,” her convent. Appendices include French and English versions of the childhood poem that inspired Thérèse’s being known as “the little flower,” a list of important dates in her life, and photographs. The book is a lovely collection. Thérèse’s pure devotion to Jesus is palpable on these pages.

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