The Shelter of Your Arms: Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux


“The world is thy ship and not thy home,” St. Therese of Lisieux reminds, lest we forget that we are, naturally, always longing for “a country we have never yet visited,” to borrow a phrase from C.S.Lewis, on this earthly journey. In St. Therese’s words, we hear an echo of Augustine: “You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Today I presented the first of Desert Bread’s ongoing series of workshops on faith and the arts. It was a joy to share time with all the Desert Bread participants and exchange the food of faith and the arts. We fed our minds, souls, and broke bread together, so we may continue on our voyages while foreshadowing, through the rich treasure trove of the Catholic arts, the beauty of the home that awaits. We also collected donations to provide food for the poor. It was a beautiful day.

On this feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, I give you a poem written by the Little Flower herself, art by the great saint (an oyster shell painted by St. Therese depicting a scene that reminds of her famous quote, “The world is thy ship and not thy home,”), and music inspired by her quote:

Without leaving the shelter of your arms or even turning my head, I will distribute your treasures to the souls who come to me asking for food.
—St Therese of Lisieux

The inaugural Desert Bread workshop and meal – October 1, 2017 – the menu included croissants, crudite, and the Little Flower’s favorite – eclairs!

May Desert Bread humbly endeavor to do the same. Saint Therese of Lisieux, pray for us!

Sammy Davis Jr. – The Shelter Of Your Arms

Oyster Shell painted by St Therese of Lisieux
Oyster Shell painted by St Therese of Lisieux
St Therese of Lisieux
St Therese of Lisieux

To the Sacred Heart of Jesus

At the holy sepulchre, Mary Magdalene,
Searching for her Jesus, stooped down in tears.
The angels wanted to console her sorrow,
But nothing could calm her grief.
Bright angels, it was not you
Whom this fervent soul came searching for.
She wanted to see the Lord of the Angels,
To take him in her arms, to carry him far away.

Close by the tomb, the last one to stay,
She had come well before dawn.
Her God also came, veiling his light.
Mary could not vanquish him in love!
Showing her at first his Blessed Face,
Soon just one word sprang from his Heart,
Whispering the sweet name of: Mary,
Jesus gave her back her peace, her happinesss.

O my God, one day, like Mary Magdalene,
I wanted to see you and come close to you.
I looked down over the immense plain
Where I sought the Master and King,
And I cried, seeing the pure wave,
The starry azure, the flower, and the bird.
“Bright nature, if I do not see God,
You are nothing to me but a vast tomb.”

I need a heart burning with tenderness
Who will be my support forever,
Who loves everything in me, even my weakness…
And who never leaves me day or night.”
I could find no creature
Who could always love me and never die.
I must have a God who takes on my nature
And becomes my brother and is able to suffer!

You heard me, only Friend whom I love.
To ravish my heart, you became man.
You shed your blood, what a supreme mystery!…
And you still live for me on the Altar.
If I cannot see the brilliance of your Face
Or hear your sweet voice,
O my God, I can live by your grace,
I can rest on your Sacred Heart!

O Heart of Jesus, treasure of tenderness,
You Yourself are my happiness, my only hope.
You who knew how to charm my tender youth,
Stay near me till the last night.
Lord, to you alone I’ve given my life,
And all my desires are well known to you.
It’s in your ever-infinite goodness
That I want to lose myself, O Heart of Jesus!

Ah! I know well all our righteousness
Is worthless in your sight.
To give value to my sacrifices,
I want to cast them into your Divine Heart.
You did not find your angels without blemish.
In the midst of lightning you gave your law!…
I hide myself in your Sacred Heart, Jesus.
I do not fear, my virtue is You!…

To be able to gaze on your glory,
I know we have to pass through fire.
So I, for my purgatory,
Choose your burning love, O heart of my God!
On leaving this life, my exiled soul
Would like to make an act of pure love,
And then, flying away to Heaven, its Homeland,
Enter straightaway into your Heart.

— St Therese of Lisieux

10 thoughts on “The Shelter of Your Arms: Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux

  1. Great food for the mind, soul, and body. Thank you for all the work and love that went into this beautiful afternoon!

  2. I am still overwhelmed. The presentation touched me on so many levels. Sad that I cannot make the other October presentations. Thank you

  3. What a delightful workshop addressing the sacramental nature of art, music, prayer & food! We look forward to October 22nd. The feast for St. John Paul II’s feast day might include Polish sausage, stuffed cabbage, pierogi (dumplings), kapusta (sauerkraut), rye bread, pączki (doughnuts) or St. John Paul’s favorite, kremówka papieska, a cream cake similar to a Napoleon pastry. There are sources in Commack & Copiague. Email us if you want help. Marianne & Tom

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