A NOVENA IN HONOUR OF THE LITTLE FLOWER
By Daniel A. Lord, S.J.
Nine Chapters on the Virtues
of the Saint, with a Special
Prayer for Each Day
Originally published by The Australian Catholic Truth Society Record
September 20, 1946. (No 366.)
Lord Jesus, Who hast given us the saints as our models and
patrons, we offer this novena to Thee in honour of Thy chosen
Little Flower St. Therese.
As we study her beautiful life grant we beseech Thee, that the
virtues which made her so loved by Thee may spring up in our
Grant us through her intercession the graces we so badly need
for soul and body. Grant too, we pray, abundant favours to those
whom we love or for whom we are making this novena. May the
example of this Little Flower inspire us all with a deeper
appreciation of holiness and bring us closer to Thy Sacred
Heart. Especially during this novena we pray for the following
graces. (Here silently mention these graces.)
Grant them, we beseech Thee, merciful Saviour, through the
merits of the Little Flower, who loved Thee so tenderly and who
promised to send down upon Thy needy people a shower of roses.
THE FIRST DAY (Chapter 1)
The Little Flower and the Modern World
"God, give us saints!"
Thus the saints themselves have cried and thus the Church and
all the wisest men have prayed. For more important to the world
than its scholars and scientists, its soldiers, explorers, and
statesmen are its saints.
They alone teach us the splendid possibilities of our human
nature. As we look at them we know that man can rise to almost
divine heights. And God has heard the prayer of His people whenever
they have been at some perilous period of their history, and given the
world saints to save it.
When the proud pagans of Roman day needed a saint who was
fearless, humble, a common workman and not a haughty noble, to
teach them the value of faith, devotion to God, labour and the
common virtues, Christ sent them the fisherman, St. Peter. A
sword of learning was needed to cut into the cultured
sophistries of pagan philosophy and the foul mass of pagan
theology, and St. Paul flashed like a Damascus blade into the
market places of Ephesus and the scholarly groves of Athens.
Civilisation with its literature, art and culture was threatened
with extinction under the resistless rush of invaders, until
St. Benedict opened refuges for it on the mountain tops of
Europe. Love of wealth menaced the safety even of the Church
itself, when St. Francis wedded Lady Poverty.
The whole religious world seemed to be turning from Christ to
Luther but Christ sent His new captain into the battle and
Ignatius turned back the foe. For every country lost to the
Church in Europe, St. Francis won a new land for her in the
Indies. And when the rising tide of paganism threatened modern
times, our saint Pius X gave the world safety and the future its
hope of security in his decree on frequent communion. The
saints, always, the saints have saved the world.
So, when in our times the faithful prayed, "God, give us
saints," He answered the prayer. Our times of which we are so
justly proud, our age of astounding achievements and advance,
when our buildings elbow the clouds and our big businesses cover
the earth, when, we outfly the eagle and outswim the shark, when
he harness waterfalls to light our cities, fling our messages
through the air from continent to continent, and face the future
with the conviction that nothing is impossible to us; our times,
cocky, swaggering, absolutely self-confident, indignant at
restrictions, angry with restraints, taking the power of kings
and putting it into the hands of the people, and looking
questioningly on the power of God Himself-what sort of saint did
God give us for our times?
A canonised statesmen who made a brotherhood of nations?
A captain of industry who drove his railroad into a wilderness
and made it bloom overnight?
An inventor who added comfort and happiness and luxury to our
A physician with an astonishing cure?" Some restless, eager,
irresistible missionary winning whole pagan nations?"
How badly we guess! God gave us for our saint a little girl who
did all the things which the typical modern world considers most
foolish. She was not in the least interested in mankind's
achievements in air, on land or sea.
While the modern girl envied those women whose faces smiled at
them from stage or public prints, this girl covered her face
with a concealing veil. She turned from our intense activity to join
what was called, often enough, "an obsolete order," and
devoted herself, not to the charitable service of humanity,
which even the pagans can understand, but to silence, prayer,
sacrifice, and the love of God.
The saint for our times relinquished without regret the very things
which our times hold most precious.
For she knew that our achievements must always in God's sight be
pitiful things. God made the world with one act. What is the
greatest human structure compared to His smallest planet?
We rush through life at breakneck speed; the quiet Saviour
walked when He might have ridden, preached on hillsides when He
might have filed a temple or the forum, cried out to a world
that reserved its triumphs for conquering generals and eloquent
"Unless you become as little children, you cannot enter the
kingdom of heaven."
This little girl knew all this, and she has led the Catholic
world back to the things which it might so easily have
forgotten. Skyscrapers are unimportant; universities will
disappear; cities will crumble into dust; souls alone endure
Important as it is to love mankind, Christ called that
obligation the second of the commandments. The first and the
greatest is to love the Lord our God with our whole strength.
Significant as may be the modern movement for the emancipation
of woman, the woman most beloved by Jesus Christ in our times,
as in all times, is the one who approaches closest to the
purity, modesty, humility, and prayerfulness of a little Maid of
For a few short year, unknown to the world, her deep sanctity
hardly recognised by her nearest associates, this saint was
prepared by God for the needs of our times. While man built
huge, belching factories, God planted His little garden and
tended His Little Flower.
Great executives were developing businesses that would carry the
phonograph or the telephone into the heart of African jungles
and Asiatic cities; God was developing the exquisite virtues of
this maiden's soul as an inspiration for His missionaries.
Soldiers and statesmen were planting the seeds of national
hatred and jealousy that would flower in the bayonets of the
Marne and the guns of Verdun; God, the Heavenly Gardener, was
cultivating humility, purity, unselfishness, and love in the
heart of Sister Therese.
Then, when the nations stood astonished beside the wreckages
they had made with war, and men found that hunger could not be
satisfied with the Midas cups of gold held to their lips or the
empty wind of praise and honour blowing so freely one day and
falling so completely the next, Christ lifted before the world
the exquisite loveliness and beautiful life of His Little
Men and women knelt as they caught the breath of her perfume.
Love went out to her from hearts eager for someone worthy of
love. The great recurrent miracle that made the humble Maid of
Nazareth the world's greatest woman, and made the son of a
carpenter our Master and Saviour, also made this little
Carmelite nun, who would have thought valueless things dearest
to modern boasting, the Saint of Our Times.
Back to simplicity, back to purity, back to love of God, back to
prayer, back to penance and sacrifice, she is leading us. We
Catholics have taken the Little Flower and held her to our
grateful hearts as we place her sweet face on our walls. in our
shrines, on the wings of our aeroplanes.
The Novena Prayers for Day 1
Three Hail Marys in honour of the Little Flower for the
intention of the novena.
Let us pray:
St. Therese, Blessed Little Flower of Jesus, grant us the favour
of thy protection and intercession. Because of thee we
understand that holiness is better than any honour than the
world can bestow, that virtue is far more precious that wealth,
and that the greatest good we can do for the world in which we
live is to give it the example of a holy life. In the midst of a
world in love with wealth and honour we need a love of
simplicity, purity, prayer, and the spirit of sacrifice.
Help us to obtain these and to know and love God with all our
heart. Bless, too, we beseech thee, those whom we love or for
whom we are making this novena. Obtain for us the special
favours we are asking during this novena.
(Here pause and silently mention the special graces or blessings
you are seeking during the novena.)
V. We fly to thy protection and intercession, O Little Flower
R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray;
O Lord, Who hast said, "Unless you become as little children
you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven," grant us, we beseech
Thee so to follow the footsteps of the virgin St. Therese in
humility and simplicity of heart that we may obtain the rewards
of eternity. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
End of Chapter 1.