10 Beautiful St. Therese of Lisieux Quotes on Love
Known as “The Little Flower,” St. Therese of Lisieux is an icon of simplicity. Her faith, truly heroic, wasn’t expressed in grand ways. Everything she did in her cloister was done with magnanimity of heart rather than grandiosity. That’s quite possibly why she is one of the most beloved saints of all time – because she lived a very ordinary life, yet her soul exuded incredible fortitude, perseverance, patience, and – indeed, charity. Her love, her heart, has won over the coldest and most calloused of souls. Let us embrace her wisdom on loving with greater fervor and ardor. Here are 10 beautidul St. Therese of Lisieux quotes on love to instruct and inspire you.
1. “Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”
St. Therese was a deeply hidden treasure in her time. Everything she did was intentional and always with love. What if we stopped in our busyness of each day and made eye contact with a stranger? It’s true that a simple, but genuine smile can uplift someone’s drooping spirits. Kindness, of course, costs us nothing and often sends on its wings the spiritual charism of encouragement. Take time today to encourage someone through simple gestures – a note, a ‘thank you,’ a wave or ‘hello.’
2. “Our Lord does not so much look at the greatness of our actions, or even at their difficulty, as at the love with which we do them.”
I think of the Pharisees and scribes, whom Jesus often rebuked for their ostentatious flair, because they wanted to be noticed. Their pride is much like ours, isn’t it? We tend to view ourselves as bigger than we are, and we want others to acknowledge the good that we do each day, especially if it involves suffering and struggle on our part. But St. Therese reminds us that the struggle and size of our actions are entirely irrelevant if we do not do them out of love.
3. “I understood that love comprises all vocations – that love is everything, and because it is eternal, embraces all times and places.”
God is love. We all know this, but we seldom live this way on a daily basis – as if love should be our goal, our focal point, our reason for breathing and being. But if God truly is at the center of our lives, then we will honestly strive to imitate and honor Him by choosing to love. We do not have to be consecrated religious in order to become saints. St. Therese tells us that love is the crux of every vocation and should be our motivation for all that we think, say, and do each day.
4. “To live in love is to sail forever, spreading seeds of joy and peace in hearts.”
It seems that St. Therese, because she likely achieved perfect union with God on earth, understood that love was a sort of spiritual inebriation that crossed time and space. What if we sought to dwell in the heart of God, for our hearts to beat in unison with His, as St. Therese’s did? We would realize the limitlessness of love and thereby reflect God to everyone we encounter. If we did this, especially in simple ways each day, the people in our lives would carry the fruits of this love – joy and peace – within their hearts, thus spreading like wildflowers across an open meadow. Perhaps we should seek to attain to be that wildflower, that “little flower” that spreads seeds of joy and peace in everyone’s heart we know and meet along our life’s journey.
5. “Kindness is my only guiding star. In its light, I sail a straight route, I have my motto written on my sail: 'To live in love.'”
I often wonder how so many of us stray from that selfless and sacrificial way that St. Therese exhibited her entire, short life on earth. It seems that distractions abound in this post-modern, Pinterest-pretty world. But St. Therese knew well how to remain grounded in what matters most, and her faith was her beacon. This image of a sailboat on the sea with a lone star in the distant sky reminds us that we must find our beacon of hope through love – in, through, and for God – so that we can sail through life’s storms without worry or anxiety, always centered on confident trust in God’s loving providence.
6. “Let us love, since that is what our hearts were made for.”
We forget, in our modern age, that love isn’t based on emotion. It’s not the secular notion of fantasy, romance, and chemistry. It’s not lust. Love is, indeed, what we were born to do and become, because we are reflections of the Triune God, who is Love incarnate. As a decision, rather than a feeling, love requires us to step outside of our egocentric behavior and always seek to serve the other. When we do this, our hearts expand beyond imagination, and we are then capable of loving even more than we knew possible.
7. “Love can accomplish all things. Things that are most impossible become easy where love is at work.”
Life as a full time caregiver is anything but glamorous for me. I spend most of my time wiping noses, dressing and undressing, teaching a preschooler how to feed herself, and even strange things, like finger strengthening exercises so that she can hone her fine motor skills. My daughter requires above-and-beyond care, the kind that must have love at its core. And I don’t always do these tasks as if I am doing them for Jesus Himself. Sometimes I am in a hurry or flustered or impatient, but St. Therese helps me recall that the mundane daily tasks – even the most difficult and impossible ones – will become effortless with a change of my heart.
8. “Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing.”
I wonder if my daughters will grow up and become academic scholars. They certainly aren’t typical. In the past, I considered the world of intelligentsia to be the epitome of success. Achievement and accolades somehow became my gold stars that proudly adorned my resume and my conversations. But life has a way of humbling us all, doesn’t it? Through raising my beautiful daughters, I no longer view brilliance as the highest order of accomplishments or even inherent value. My girls know how to love with their whole hearts, a love I never knew before they came into my life. Now I seek to teach, guide, and assist them each day with the love they have reflected back to me through their laughter and innocence.
9. “I am the smallest of creatures and I recognize my worthlessness, but I also know how hearts that are generous and noble love to do good.”
Love cannot dwell in a miserly heart. We all struggle with selfishness and wanting to hoard our time, money, or possessions. St. Therese, through the lens of humility, learned that a heart that loves well is one where virtue lives. Generosity, then, seems to be the antidote to hoarding, hiding, and holing away our treasures. It is in giving away what we have and who we are that our hearts gain the space to love ever more graciously and gratuitously.
10. “When one loves, one does not calculate.”
We all know that true love is unconditional, but we still tend to keep tabs on who owes us what. Husbands and wives may informally create a mental tally of how often they have done some sacrifice for the other person, to his or her supposed detriment. Somehow we live as if the world owes us, or even as if God owes us something, anything. How often do we rebuke God for His silence when we have persisted in prayer? When we love, and especially when we love God, we do not expect anything in return. We are content with the fact that we have given of ourselves, perhaps more than we needed or what was expected. Love is always a free gift, without price or measure.
If we lived more like St. Therese did, perhaps we’d notice profound changes in our lives. I imagine we’d even be recipients of minor miracles. Why is something so simple – love – so often misunderstood and rarely lived? I wonder how many of us, if we offered every aspect of our time spent mowing the lawn, making dinner, cleaning the dishes, doing the laundry, wiping handprints off of the front door, working that desk job, or running errands with generosity, would become the change we long to see in the world? Love is that change, that interior change. It truly does begin with you and me, today.