The following is from the opening chapter of Therese's autobiography. She attempts to explain to her sister, Pauline, who is her Mother Superior in the convent, the ways of God with souls. She makes her famous analogy of the soul to a flower: there are many flowers that beautify the garden—some little and some grand—and each one depends utterly on the mercy and grace of God for its life and particular beauty.
"I am now at a time of life when I can look back on the past, for my soul has been refined in the crucible of interior and exterior trials. Now, like a flower after the storm, I can raise my head and see that the words of the Psalm are realized in me: "The Lord is my Shepherd and I shall want nothing. He hath set me in a place of pasture. He hath brought me up on the water of refreshment. He hath converted my soul. He hath led me on the paths of justice for His own Name's sake. For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils for Thou are with me."
Yes, to me Our Lord has always been "compassionate and merciful, long-suffering and plenteous in mercy."
And so it gives me great joy, dear Mother, to come to you and sing His unspeakable mercies… If a little flower could speak, it seems to me that it would tell us quite simply all that God has done for it, without hiding any of its gifts. It would not, under the pretext of humility, say that it was not pretty, or that it had not a sweet scent, that the sun had withered its petals, or the storm bruised its stem, if it knew that such were not the case.
The little flower that now tells her tale rejoiced in having to publish the wholly undeserved favors bestowed upon her by Our Lord. She knows that she had nothing in herself worthy of attracting Him: His Mercy alone showered blessings on her. He allowed her to grow in holy soil enriched with the odor of purity, and preceded by eight lilies of shining whiteness. In His Love He willed to preserve her from the poisoned breath of the world--hardly had her petals unfolded when this good Master transplanted her to the mountain of Carmel, Our Lady's chosen garden."
~ Chapter I, Story of a Soul
O Lord, You have said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.