Making Big Life Decisions with the Intercession of St. Therese
A reflection in honor of St. Therese's Feast Day by Ana Redington
How do you know if your vocation is religious life or marriage? A consecrated single? Should you major in business or chemical engineering? Should you move back home or to the big city? Should you ask Mary on a date? Or should you intentionally not date for a little while?
We all have big decisions to make in life, and sometimes our judgment can be clouded by what we feel we want and what we think we need. While it’s true God wants to grant the desires of our heart, not every desire we have is rightly ordered to line up with God’s will because of original sin. Whatever He has in store for you is better than what you can imagine, it’s true, and yet, how do we choose it if we can’t figure out what His will is?
Thankfully, we have the powerful intercession of many great saints on our side. My personal favorite and one of the best saints to ask for help with discernment is St. Therese of Lisieux.
St. Therese, also known as “The Little Flower,” was born in 1873 in France to St. Louis and St. Zelle Martin. From a young age, she had a beautiful relationship with Jesus which blossomed and led her to implore the pope to allow her to enter the convent at age 15. Soon after, God fulfilled this desire, and she entered the convent. As a carmelite nun, she prayed fervently for missionaries and sinners, and she carried her small crosses. She died in 1897 of tuberculosis at 24 years old. She is most famous for her “Little Way” in which she loved Jesus: by doing small actions with great love. This is a way to sainthood that anyone can achieve, no matter how small or unimportant you feel.
"I will let fall a shower of roses. I will spend my heaven, doing good on earth." This is a beautiful quote St. Therese writes in her autobiography, The Story of a Soul. Since then, she has kept her promise, showering us with roses so much so that there are many novenas which ask for just this– a rose to be sent to them to answer a prayer. Often, people will choose a different color rose to represent a choice. For example, pink roses could represent the vocation of marriage and yellow could be for religious life. This is exactly what my friend Aisling and I did during a year of missionary work together. After we prayed a novena to her, the whole year we kept receiving pink roses, and sure enough, here we are two years later both engaged to be married. There are other types of novenas to her as well that don’t involve roses, but don’t be surprised if she sends you roses anyway!
So if you have a big life decision coming up and you feel like you need a little extra heavenly help, I encourage you to invoke her powerful intercession. Whether by praying a novena or simply adding “St. Therese, pray for us” at the end of a bedtime prayer, I promise she would love to bless you with her little prayers. I would also encourage you to read her beautiful autobiography, The Story of a Soul, for an easy read and profound encouragement in your faith. She writes very simply and with a great love for God as she tells numerous relatable stories from her life: stories about bolting out of a room so she wouldn’t snap back at a sister, putting on Christmas plays, being a “cry baby” as a child, visiting Rome and Venice, befriending a sister who she could hardly stand at first, and so many others. It’s a little book, just like she was a “little soul” but simultaneously one of the greatest books by one of the greatest saints. I pray God reveals His will to us and gives us the grace to respond with joy and love just like His “Little Flower.”
St. Therese, pray for us.