This is a poem written by St. Thérèse. I first found it in a book I am reading, Maurice and Thérèse that chronicles a relationship in letters between the saint in her last years with a young seminarian who had written to Carmel asking for a sister to be devoted to praying for him. I highly recommend the book.
I want to also point out that to some, Thérèse gets a bad rap. If you think her Little Way is sappy or saccharin, you can be assured that what you have encountered is not Thérèse, but some oversimplification or warping that ruins the depth of who she was.
TO LIVE OF LOVE
Poem of St. Therese of Lisieux
“If any man love Me, he will keep My word and My Father will love him
and We will come to him and make Our abode with him…
My peace I give unto you … Abide in My love.”
(St. John 14, 23,27,-15:9)
The eve His life of love drew near its end,
Thus Jesus spoke: “Whoever loveth Me,
And keeps My word as Mine own faithful friend,
My Father, then and I his guests will be;
Within his heart will make Our dwelling above.
Our palace home, true type of heaven above.
There, filled with peace, We will that he shall rest,
With us, in love.
Incarnate Word! Thou Word of God alone!
To live of love, ’tis to abide with Thee.
Thou knowest I love Thee, Jesus Christ, my Own!
Thy Spirit’s fire of love enkindleth me.
By loving Thee, I draw the Father here
Down to my heart, to stay with me always.
Blest Trinity! Thou art my prisoner dear,
Of love, to-day.
To live of love, ’tis by Thy life to live,
O glorious King, my chosen, sole Delight!
Hid in the Host, how often Thou dost give
Thyself to those who seek Thy radiant light.
Then hid shall be my life, unmarked, unknown,
That I may have Thee heart to heart with me;
For loving souls desire to be alone,
With love, and Thee!
To live of love, ’tis not to fix one’s tent
On Tabor’s height and there with Thee remain.
‘Tis to climb Calvary with strength nigh spent,
And count Thy heavy cross our truest gain.
In heaven, my life a life of joy shall be,
The heavy cross shall then be gone for aye.
Here upon earth, in suffering with Thee,
Love! let me stay.
To live of love, ’tis without stint to give,
An never count the cost, nor ask reward;
So, counting not the cost, I long to live
And show my dauntless love for Thee, dear Lord!
O Heart Divine, o’erflowing with tenderness,
How swift I run, who all to Thee has given!
Naught but Thy love I need, my life to bless.
That love is heaven!
To live of love, it is to know no fear;
No memory of past faults can I recall;
No imprint of my sins remaineth here;
The fire of Love divine effaces all.
O sacred flames! O furnace of delight!
I sing my safe sweet happiness to prove.
In these mild fires I dwell by day, by night.
I live of love!
To live of love, ’tis in my heart to guard
A mighty treasure in a fragile vase.
Weak, weak, am I, O well beloved Lord!
Nor have I yet an angel’s perfect grace.
But, if I fall each hour that hurries by,
Thou com’st to me from Thy bright home above,
And, raising me, dost give me strength to cry:
I live of love!
To live of love it is to sail afar
And bring both peace and joy where’er I be.
0 Pilot blest! love is my guiding star;
In every soul I meet, Thyself I see.
Safe sail I on, through wind or rain or ice;
Love urges me, love conquers every gale.
High on my mast behold is my device:
“By love I sail!”
To live of love, it is when Jesus sleeps
To sleep near Him, though stormy waves beat nigh.
Deem not I shall awake Him! On these deeps
Peace reigns, like that the Blessed know on high.
To Hope, the voyage seems one little day;
Faith’s hand shall soon the veil between remove;
‘Tis Charity that swells my sail always.
I live of love!
To live of love, 0 Master dearest, best!
It is to beg Thee light Thy holiest fires
Within the soul of each anointed priest,
Till he shall feel the Seraphim’s desires;
It is to beg Thee guard Thy Church, 0 Christ!
For this I plead with Thee by night, by day;
And give myself, in sacrifice unpriced,
With love always!
To live of love, it is to dry Thy tears,
To seek for pardon for each sinful soul,
To strive to save all men from doubts and fears,
And bring them home to Thy benign control.
Comes to my ear sin’s wild and blasphemous roar;
So, to efface each day, that burning shame,
I cry: ” 0 Jesus Christ! I Thee adore.
I love Thy Name!”
To live of love, ’tis Mary’s part to share,
To bathe with tears and odorous perfume
Thy holy feet, to wipe them with my hair,
To kiss them; then still loftier lot assume,
To rise, and by Thy side to take my place,
And pour my ointments on Thy holy head.
But with no balsams I embalm Thy Face!
‘Tis love, instead!
“To live of love, what foolishness she sings!”
So cries the world. “Renounce such idle joy!
Waste not thy perfumes on such trivial things.
In useful arts thy talents now employ!”
To love Thee, Jesus! Ah, this loss is gain;
For all my perfumes no reward seek I.
Quitting the world, I sing in death’s sweet pain:
Of love I die!
To die of love, O martyrdom most blest!
For this I long, this is my heart’s desire;
My exile ends; I soon will be at rest.
Ye Cherubim, lend, lend to me your lyre!
O dart of Seraphim, O flame of love,
Consume me wholly; hear my ardent cry!
Jesu, make real my dream! Come Holy Dove!
Of love I die!
To die of love, behold my life’s long hope!
God is my one exceeding great reward.
He of my wishes forms the end and scope;
Him only do I seek; my dearest Lord.
With passionate love for Him my heart is riven.
O may He quickly come! He draweth nigh!
Behold my destiny, behold my heaven,
OF LOVE TO DIE.
February 25, 1895