THE EIGHTH DAY (Chapter 8)
The Little Flower and Heaven
Is there an eternity or shall we try to make earth our heaven?
Do we live beyond the grave or do we drop into unrelieved
darkness when our bodies fall into rottenness?
If there is life beyond the grave, shall we know those whom we
know and love in life? When, since the triumphant first Easter,
has mankind ever been so agitated by these fundamental questions
as it has been for the past fifty years?
A wild chorus of denials are met by insistent assertions; some
scientists laugh at souls as others claim to have talked with
spirits from an other world; some philosophers argue that the
only realities are fragile and perishable bodies, while others
cry that with death we shall be absorbed into a great impersonal
world soul; spiritists promise us converse with our beloved
dead, while unbelievers scorn the idea of any immortality.
And in the midst of the confusion the calm and certain promise
of this little saint rings out,
"I shall spend my heaven doing good on earth."
No doubt about it; no questioning whether or not this will be
possible; just the plain and triumphant statement of a fact that
will certainly be realised. "I shall do this; wait for me." She
died; her beautiful body decayed into the common dust of the
grace; and then the world suddenly awoke to know that she kept
her promise. She lived. She moved among us. Nuns in distant
Carmels who had never heard of her or her promise saw this
beautiful saint, felt the radiance of her marvellous smile, and
knew that she came from another world.
Unbelievers of the most deeply reasoned skepticism, soldiers on
the battlefield, men kneeling in church, looked up and saw her
before them. She lived and smiled upon them.
Almost in a day the whole world became filled with the good she
had promised to do. Even those who did not see her felt her
influence. As the sweet physician she cured their ills; as the smiling
consoler she calmed their troubled and agonised minds. Men and
women lifted their arms toward her with the certain conviction
that she heard them, knew their needs, was interested keenly in
their welfare, and had the power to aid them effectively. Who
could any longer doubt the fact of immortality or the existence
of heaven, when this little saint came back from the grave and
filled the world with the reality of her presence and the
multitude of her miracles
Faith has always affirmed, in the face of continued denial, that
after death comes life, that the grave is the antechamber to
another world, and that in the life beyond we retain our
personalities so clearly that we shall know one another and
recognise those whom we have loved on earth. Faith has told us,
too that our dead can be helped by us while they are in
purgatory, and that once they have reached heaven, they can be
our protectors, advocates, and powerful friends.
Now the Little Flower comes to add new proofs to our faith. She
has pushed open the gates of heaven and given us brief glimpses
of eternity. As she slips in and out on her errands of mercy, we
catch rays that fall upon our earth and show us something of the
beauty of heaven.
She has taught us much about the dead. For, what she is, we know
that all the dead who die in grace in some degree shall be. She
has the power and additional glory and beauty that come of sainthood;
but all the dead, once they have entered heaven, are God's saints,
and what is true of her is true in measure of them.
Look up, then, at the Little Flower as she comes speeding down
to earth from heaven, and learn from her the state of those
souls who are safe with God. For all her more than earthly
beauty, she is still the same sweet person known and loved on
earth. She is not a faint image of herself as the silly ghosts of the
spiritists are; she is far more beautiful and powerful than she
Yet her personality remains so unchanged that when she appears
to us on earth we know that she is the same person, with the
same smile and the same recognisable characteristics. And as we
recognise her, we are sure we shall know, when we meet in Heaven,
those we have loved on earth. They will be more beautiful, but
Her great concern on earth was to love God and save souls. Her
interest went out spontaneously to the needy, and her interest
is unchanged. She still serves needy humanity; she is still
quick to answer the cry sent up from weary or suffering lips.
The very love which bound her to Carmel is unchanged, and her
first miracles were performed in response to the unspoken
necessities of her sisters in religion.
"Do the saints hear us?" we sometimes ask. "Do our departed
loved ones know what we need and can they watch over us as we go
about our daily tasks" Our answer comes in the vision of this
nun kneeling before the Infant Saviour and dropping on earth the
roses which she takes from His hands.
They fall not indiscriminately or without sure aim; they fall
into the hands that have reached out beseechingly.
The saints can hear us, and they have far more power than they
had on earth, for we have seen this saint, with the intimate
thoughtfulness of friendship dropping her miracles down upon
those who have called to her by name.
"I shall spend my Heaven doing good on earth."
Let those who have thought of Heaven as a dreary place of
enforced leisure and unvaried monotony look up at the intense
activity of the Little Flower.
The God she once saw so dimly through the shadows and darkness
of earth she now sees face to face; and eternity will be all too
short to know and love Him as He can be known and loved. And
with tireless energy she moves between Heaven with its
inexhaustible treasure of graces and earth with its unending
needs. So this saint has given us a vision of what lies beyond
the grave. She has linked Heaven and earth, brought Heaven down
to earth, and carried the needs of earth straight to Heaven.
Because of her our faith in the fact of eternity is deepened,
and our joy grows exultantly as we know that our dear dead are
saints or shall be saints, safe with God watching over us, and
sharing in measure the power and beauty of the Little Flower.
The Novena Prayers for Day 8
Three Hail Marys in honour of the Little Flower for the intention of
Let us pray:
St. Therese, blessed saint of Heaven, show us the clear and
bright road to God's throne. Often the world about us seems so
attractive and beautiful that we forget that it is not our real
home and that our real home lies beyond the grave.
Often, as those we love are taken from us by death, we forget in
our grief that they have entered God's courts, where they will
be happy, powerful, and eternally blessed.
So when the allurement of sins pulls us down to earth, do thou
lift our eyes to Heaven and we shall know that the greatest joy
of time is worthless compared to the least happiness of
Be our lovely guide upon the road to Heaven; and lead safely to
the throne of God those whom we love or for whom we are making
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 through 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 8