How will you spend your youth?

Saints like Thérèse of Lisieux present something of a problem to the modern cultural mindset. This is a mindset that says:

  • Make yourself
  • Life for yourself
  • Make up your own rules
  • Avoid suffering
  • Seek pleasure
  • Establish security
  • Rise on the corporate ladder
  • Reach your personal goals = success

And then do some service hours to make yourself feel like you actually care about other people.

These attitudes breed the systemic problems that we see today – the extension of adolescence until the mid-twenties (now officially age 25), sexual promiscuity, addiction, delay and demise of marriage, bitterness toward even the possibility of children, etc.

How will you spend your youth?

St. Thérèse challenges the modern (and we can certainly call her life modern – 1873-1897) cultural selfishness and distraction flowing from our ennui, by presenting a youth that was not wasted on frivolous or selfish things.

Thérèse entered the convent at age 15, and only after petitioning the Pope. She was a soul determined to love the Lord. Seeking to love the Lord above all and to exercise charity in every situation, Thérèse grew in holiness. She faced persecution within the Carmel and suffered through a very dark night of the spirit. She desired to die young in order to be with her Lord, and this indeed happened when she was just 24.

She presents a radical paradigm shift – loving God, living entirely for others, embracing suffering, holding to the little way, desiring sanctity, living with joy and understanding the gravity of life, and remaining unafraid of death. God always provides the saints needed to buck the trend – following in the footsteps of Thérèse is just that. Her life challenges almost every aspect that we subscribe to.

So, how will you spend your youth? 10_3_therese

My Song for Today – by St. Thérèse of Lisieux

My life is but an instant, a passing hour.
My life is but a day that escapes and flies away.
O my God ! You know that to love you on earth
I only have today !…

Oh, I love you, Jesus ! My soul yearns for you.
For just one day remain my sweet support.
Come reign in my heart, give me your smile
Just for today !

Lord, what does it matter if the future is gloomy ?
To pray for tomorrow, oh no, I cannot !…
Keep my heart pure, cover me with your shadow
Just for today.

If I think about tomorrow, I fear my fickleness.
I feel sadness and worry rising up in my heart.
But I’m willing, my God, to accept trial and suffering
Just for today.

O Divine Pilot ! whose hand guides me,
I’m soon to see you on the eternal shore.
Guide my little boat over the stormy waves in peace
Just for today.

Ah ! Lord, let me hide in your Face.
There I’ll no longer hear the word’s vain noise.
Give me your love, keep me in your grace
Just for today.

Near your divine Heart, I forget all passing things.
I no longer dread the fears of the night.
Ah ! Jesus, give me a place in your Heart
Just for today.

Living Bread, Bread of Heaven, divine Eucharist,
O sacred Mystery ! that Love has brought forth…
Come live in my heart, Jesus, my white Host,
Just for today.

Deign to unite me to you, Holy and sacred Vine,
And my weak branch will give you its fruit,
And I’ll be able to offer you a cluster of golden grapes
Lord, from today on.

I’ve just this fleeting day to form
This cluster of love, whose seeds are souls.
Ah ! give me, Jesus, the fire of an Apostle
Just for today.

O Immaculate Virgin ! You are my Sweet Star
Giving Jesus to me and uniting me to Him.
O Mother ! Let me rest under your veil
Just for today.

My Holy Guardian Angel, cover me with your wing.
With your fire light the road that I’m taking.
Come direct my steps… help me, I call upon you
Just for today.

Lord, I want to see you without veils, without clouds,
But still exiled, far from you, I languish ?
May your lovable face not be hidden from me
Just for today.

Soon I’ll fly away to speak your praises
When the day without sunset will dawn on my soul.
Then I’ll sing on the Angels’lyre
The Eternal Today !