The life of Sister Theresa of Lisieux, better known now perhaps as the" Little Flower of Jesus," has a special interest of its own. These are days of a general disbelief in, or disregard of the supernatural, and we, who have to move about the world, can hardly fail if we do not take care, to be more or less infected by the poisonous atmosphere which we have to breathe. Against this peril we have to guard our souls and hearts by every means in our power. To be reminded, as we are so vividly in this life that Our Lord and His Blessed Mother, with the Angels and Saints are ever at hand and that a simple soul devoted to God, can be in constant and easy communication with them, is a great and useful grace. The main difference between the prosaic days in which we live and the "Ages of Faith," before the spirit of scientific scepticism had seized upon the world, lies, I think, principally in the fact, that to the people of those days-even to those indeed. who did not live up to their own ideals-heaven and the supernatural world was not even, so to speak, next door; it was an ever present reality to the Christian mind and was as certain and as true, as was the natural world of the senses. There was nothing strained in this mental attitude in days when God reigned in the hearts of men generally and when the notion that man could do without religion was rare if not wholly unknown. Of course there were men and women then as always, who led lives inconsistent with their professions; but they, living as they were in the supernatural atmosphere of those times-an atmosphere which, if I may so express it, gave a singular beauty to faith, as the sun's rays give the bloom to the peach or the plum-were out of joint with their surroundings. There can be no doubt that the vast majority of Christians in those arcadian days brought God into their lives. He was an ever present reality to them and they lived with the Angels and the Saints and looked to our Blessed Mother for help and protection, and turned to her as naturally as they would to their earthly fathers and mothers. What may astonish many readers of this life of "The Little Flower of Jesus" is that she existed at all in this materialistic; age, even though she grew up and shed the perfume of her virtues in the sheltered cloister of a strict and observant religious Community. Still a little reflection will show us that after all there was again but manifested in her a return to the Church's traditional type of sanctity, albeit the type was adapted somewhat to our modern conditions. God is always " wonderful in His Saints," and the marvels of His grace are displayed in their lives. Most certainly as we read the pages of the short life of Sister Theresa we shall be far from the atmosphere befitting a Catholic, if we are not drawn to realise that even to-day God is not far from our own world and that it is a sober truth and no poetic expression to say and believe that" in Him we live and move and have our being." There is another consideration, which the perusal of this life of " The Little Flower" suggests. In the modern world of to-day besides the evident yearning after the supernatural which exists so widely, there is a certain wistful desire for some form of perpetual youth. The cult of " Peter Pan," the boy that never grew up, shows here in England the extraordinary prevalence of the desire. To most people it may appear ridiculous to say that this is realised more in the stricter forms of religious life than elsewhere in the world. But it has again and again been noticed that the most cheerful dispositions and overflowing good spirits are to be found among those nuns who have been called to lead the strictest and most mortified lives.
William M Cunningham, Brother Hermenegild TOSF, Paperback, ISBN 10: 1482684713, ISBN 13: 9781482684711