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Poems of SR. TERESA, Carmelite of Lisieux

known as
The "Little Flower of Jesus,"



TO SCATTER FLOWERS.

O Jesu! O my Love! Each eve I come to fling
Before Thy sacred Cross sweet flowers of all the year.
By these plucked petals bright, my hands how gladly bring,
I long to dry Thine every tear!

To scatter flowers! - that means each sacrifice,
My lightest sighs and pains, my heaviest, saddest hours,
My hopes, my joys, my prayers, I will not count the price.
Behold my flowers!

With deep, untold delight Thy beauty fills my soul.
Would I might light this love in hearts of all who live!
For this, my fairest flowers, all things in my control,
How fondly, gladly I would give!
To scatter flowers! - behold my chosen sword
For saving sinners' souls and filling heaven's bowers.
The victory is mine: yes, I disarm Thee, Lord,
With these my flowers!

The petals in their flight caress Thy Holy Face;
They tell Thee that my heart is Thine, and Thine alone.
Thou knowest what these leaves are saying in my place;
On me Thou smilest from Thy throne.

To scatter flowers! - that means, to speak of Thee,--
My only pleasure here, where tears fill all the hours;
But soon, with angel hosts, my spirit shall be free,
To scatter flowers!

               June 28, 1896





A WORK OF LOVE.

A CANTICLE FOR THE SACRISTANS OF CARMEL,
AND FOR THOSE SISTERS WHOSE OFFICE IT IS TO MAKE
THE ALTAR BREADS.

What from our lot could us entice!
'Tis ours the altar breads to make
For that tremendous sacrifice
Where Christ is offered for our sake.

Heaven will be here, on sinful earth,
When hid beneath these veils of snow:
And God be here, in a new birth,
Come down to dwell with us below!

No queens are reigning anywhere
In joy as great as ours today
Our very work is love and prayer,
And binds our Spouse to us alway.

Earth's highest honors seem as naught,
Beside this service of Heaven's King;
Beside this peace, with blessings fraught
That Jesus sends on dove like wing.

A holy envy fills our hearts
For this fair work of our delight:
For these small snow white hosts, whose arts
Shall hide the Lamb of God from sight.
Yet we His brides, His chosen, are;
Our Friend is He, our Spouse is He!
And hosts are we, that He, our Star,
Transforms to light and ecstasy.

The priest's high lot is like our own,
In this our daily work for God.
Transformed by Him, we tread alone
The very path that He once trod.

By prayers, by acts of love divine,
His brave apostles we must aid;
With them our grace we must combine,
And fight their battles unafraid.

God, hid beneath these snowy veils,
Will hide Him, too, our hearts within.
O miracle! our prayer prevails,
With Him, for mercy upon sin.

Our joy, our glory, our delight,
O Jesus! is this work for Thee.
Thy Heaven is these ciboriums bright
Our prayers shall fill with souls for Thee.

               November, 1896.





MY ARMOR.

TO A NOVICE FOR HER PROFESSION DAY.

"The spouse of the King is terrible as an army set in array; She is like to a
choir of music on a field of battle." Can­ticles vi. 3; vii.
"Put you on the armor of God that you may be able to stand against the deceits 4
the devil." Ephesians vi. II.

With heavenly armor am I clad today;
The hand of God has thus invested me.
What now from Him could tear my heart away;
What henceforth come between my God and me?
With Him for Guide, the fight I face serene;
Nor furious fire, nor foe, nor death, I fear.
My enemies shall know I am a queen,
The spouse of God, most high, most dear.

This armor I shall keep while life shall last;
Thou, Thou, hast given it Me, my King, my Spouse!
My fairest, brightest gems, bv naught on earth surpast,
Shall be my sacred vows.

My first dear sacrifice, O Poverty,
Thou shalt go with me till my dying hour.
Detached from all things must the athlete be,
If he the race would run, and prove his power

Taste, worldly men! regret, remorse and pain,
The bitter fruits of earthly, vain desire;
The glorious palms of Poverty I gain,
I who to God alone aspire.

"Who would My heavenly Kingdom have from Me,
He must use violence," so Jesus said.
Ah well then! Poverty my mighty lance shall be,
The helmet for my head.

The pure white Angels' sister now am I;
My vow of Chastity has made me so.
Ah, how I hope one day with them to fly!
Meanwhile to daily combat must I go.
For my great Spouse, of every lord the Lord,
Struggle must I, with neither truce nor rest;
And Chastity shall be my heavenly sword.
To win men's souls to Jesus' breast.

0 Chastity, my sword invincible!
To overcome mv foes thou hast sufficed;
By thee am I --O jov ineffable!
The Spouse of Jesus Christ.

The proud, proud angel, in the realms of light,
Cried out, rebellious: "I will not obey!"
But I shall cry, throughout earth's dreary night,
"With all my heart, I will obey alway!"
With holy boldness all my soul is steeled,
Against hell's wild attacks I bravely dart;
Obedience is my firm and mighty shield,
The buckler on my valiant heart.
0 conquering God! no other prize I seek,
Than to submit with all my heart to Thee;
Of victories th' obedient man shall speak
Through all eternity.
If now a soldier's weapon I can wield,
If valiantly like him the foe I face,
I also long to sing upon the field,
As sang the glorious Virgin of all grace.
Thou mak'st the chords to vibrate of Thy lyre.
That lyre, O Jesus! is my loving heart;
To sing Thy mercies is that heart's desire.
How sweet, how strong, how dear, Thou art.

With radiant smile, Thou Spouse, my heart's Delight,
I go to meet all foes from hell's dark land;
And singing I shall die, upon the field of fight,
My weapons in my hand.

               March 25, 1897.





MY PEACE AND MY JOY.

How many souls on earth there are,
Who vainly seek for peace and rest!
With me, 'tis otherwise by far;
Joy dwells forever in my breast.
No fading blossom is this flower,
Of its decay no fear have I;
Like fragrant rose in springtime's bower
So fair it is, yet shall not die.

Wellnigh too great my gladness is,
All things I wish are mine today.
How can I help but show my bliss,
Who am so light at heart, so gay?
My joy I find in pain and loss,
I love the thorns that guard the rose;
With joy I kiss each heavy cross,
And smile with every tear that flows.

When clouds the sunny skies o'ercast,
And weary grows my heart the while,
My joy it is that joy is past,
And gone my Lord's consoling smile.
My peace is hid in Jesus' breast, -
May His sweet will alone be done!
What fear can mar my perfect rest,
Who love the shadow as the sun?

My peace, 'tis like a child to be,
That doth not plan, nor understand;
So, when I fall, Christ raiseth me,
And leads me gently by the hand.
My childish love I manifest,
And for His grace alone implore;
Then, if He hide, my love to test,
I only love Him all the more.

My peace, it is to hide my tears,
Nor ever show my bitter pain.
What joy to suffer through the years;
To veil with flowers each galling chain!
To suffer, yet make no complaint,
Since this, my Jesus, pleases Thee!
Could any trial make me faint?
'Tis Thy sweet cross is laid on me.

My peace, - it is with God to plead,
In prayers and tears, by day and night;
For manv souls to intercede,
And say to Him, my heart's Delight:
"O Little Brother, Heavenly King!
For Thee the cross I gladly bear.
My only joy is suffering,
Since thus Thy earthly lot I share."

I long would live an exile here,
If that be Thy dear will for me;
Or soon would flee from exile drear,
If thou shouldst call me unto Thee.
Since Love's divine, celestial breath
Is all I need, my heart to bless,
What matters life, what matters death?
Love is my peace, my happiness!

               January 21, 1897






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