Sunday, May 25, 2014

Catholic Review: Three Gifts of Thérèse of Lisieux

Three Gifts of Thérèse de Lisieux: A Saint for Our Times by Patrick Ahearn, January 1, 2014. 128 pages. Published by Image. Source: Blogging for Books/publisher.
Transformation in our lives happens when we live with the confidence that "God is nothing but mercy and love.” In this inspiring book, beloved author Patrick Ahern looks at the teachings of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower, through the lens of his own personal experiences in which this  "saint for our times" played such an important role for more than seventy years.  With honesty and humility, he delves into the transformational love that infused her faith, led her to be named one of only four female Doctors of the Catholic Church, and gave Ahern’s own journey direction and meaning.

Ahern focuses on what he calls the three gifts of Thérèse:  her universal appeal, her conviction, and her little way. Echoing Therese’s recognition that bureaucracy, penances, rules and commandments miss the message of love that she knew to be true, he says, "She convinced me that someone as ordinary as I could aspire to the love of God, which filled her heart to overflowing." He hopes the same for his readers.

After reading Patrick Ahearn's Three Gifts of Thérèse of Lisieux, I feel like I have found my saintly soul sister because she speaks right to my heart. While I have known about St. Thérèse for many years, it wasn't until I read this book that I really knew about her and what her "Little Way" really entailed.

I am definitely glad to have had the opportunity to read Patrick Ahearn's book about St. Thérèse of Lisieux for many reasons. I really enjoyed the way he wrote and how well he was able to relate to what we all feel on our struggle for holiness, as well, as seeing how Thérèse helped to lead him down the path to being a priest. But, what really makes this such an incredible read is his ability to make her seem more accessible then she already is.
   I don't know about you, but sometimes the saints that are declared Doctors of the Church, as Thérèse is, can make them feel a little remote and hard to connect with, so, you can easily understand why I enjoyed reading what he had to say about her and her spirituality.

So, while I don't usually include quotes from books within my reviews, there is one that pretty much sums up why I think St. Thérèse of Lisieux is pretty amazing; also, because I feel that we could all learn so much for her.
The point Thérèse makes is that holy feelings do not make us holy. What makes us holy is clinging to God's Will even when the light's are off, persevering in prayer even when prayer is dry and distracted. pg. 70 of Three Gifts of Thérèse of Lisieux: A Saint for Our Times by Patrick Ahearn
What really makes this such a powerful statement about Thérèse is that she suffered, for the last few years of her short life, with feeling the dryness of prayer and yet she persevered in her faith and trust in our Lord. The other thing that makes this so powerful is her utter trust even at her darkness point in life. To me, I believe that Patrick Ahearn was correct in labeling her A Saint for Our Times because she went through the same, and yet different, struggles that we face every day.

Okay, so, Patrick Ahearn's writing, after my new found love the Little Flower, is one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much. I thought he did a great job bringing the importance of St. Thérèse's story to the modern reader. In fact, I enjoyed his writing on her so much that I have gone ahead and borrowed my mom's copy of Story of a Soul, the writings of St. Thérèse.
   I would definitely recommend  this one to everyone who needs a little light for the path they are treading, as, her story, faith and "Little Way" would be illuminating for all.

For me, the only thing I disliked about Three Gifts of Thérèse of Lisieux would be that I wanted to know more about her than what was covered in it. Basically, my curiosity was piqued and I was left wanting more than what could possibly be fit in this one small book.

Final Verdict:  Three Gifts of Thérèse of Lisieux- Patrick Ahearn does such a great job of making this saint, Thérèse of Lisieux, accessible to modern readers no matter where they are on their spiritual journey.

Three Gifts of Thérèse of Lisieux earns-

Three Gifts of Thérèse of Lisieux was received from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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