"Thérèse of Lisieux is the patron saint of people with AIDS, aviators, florists, illness(es) and missions." (An odd mix indeed!) According to one of her biographers, Guy Gaucher, after her death, "Thérèse fell victim to an excess of sentimental devotion which betrayed her. She was victim also to her language, which was that of the late nineteenth century and flowed from the religiosity of her age." Thérèse herself said on her death-bed, "I only love simplicity. I have a horror of pretence", and she spoke out against some of the Lives of saints written in her day," We should not say improbable things, or things we do not know. We must see their real, and not their imagined lives."
I always regarded devotion to "the Little Flower" as a sign of soppy piety, but can accept Gaucher's analysis as a reason to look beyond my gut reaction and take her insights more seriously. These are some of her thoughts I agree with.
"Sometimes, when I read spiritual treatises in which perfection is shown with a thousand obstacles, surrounded by a crowd of illusions, my poor little mind quickly tires. I close the learned book which is breaking my head and drying up my heart, and I take up Holy Scripture. Then all seems luminous to me; a single word uncovers for my soul infinite horizons; perfection seems simple; I see that it is enough to recognize one's nothingness and to abandon oneself, like a child, into God's arms. Leaving to great souls, to great minds, the beautiful books I cannot understand, I rejoice to be little because 'only children, and those who are like them, will be admitted to the heavenly banquet.' "
"O Father in Heaven, Who through St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face, dost desire to remind the world of the Merciful Love that fills Thy Heart, and the childlike trust we should have in Thee, humbly we thank Thee for having crowned with so great glory Thine ever faithful child, and for giving her wondrous power to bring unto Thee, day by day, innumerable souls who will praise Thee eternally.
St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face, remember thy promise to do good upon earth, shower down thy roses on those who invoke thee and obtain for us from God the graces we hope for from His infinite goodness. Amen"