The Language of Therese


A reader named Therese comments on St. Therese:

Also, St T de L wrote in Victorian times, with Victorian piety and it sounds a little (well, a lot) icky to our ears today. But read her and the truth wells up through all the "Jesus' toy" parts (which I find difficult, forgive me).

This is often then reaction when one encounters some of the older translations of the great "Story of a Soul." I noted first time through it that it was fairly overwrought. However, reading the ICS translation by John Clarke, I did not have that reaction. Also, perhaps because French is not my first language, these elements did not seem so out of place in the French. Further, in previous translations much of this was exacerbated by her sister Pauline's edits that cut away some of the more acerbic humor. I share this without knowing the expertise of the commentators. Also, it is far easier to overlook these sorts of things when you are reading in a group searching for signs of the "Little Way."

Therese did not spell out her doctrine in any clear way as did John of the Cross or Teresa of Avila (unless you count Manuscript B of Story of a Soul, published as chapter 9 of the ICS edition.) So finding the little way can be greatly deceptive if you do not have a good guide. Many are pulled off into the "small things with great fidelity" side road. While that is certainly PART of the Little Way, it in no way constitutes the core of it. Misinterpreted it leads people into strange pathways and convolutions. Our Lay Carmelite Group just finished a year-long study of Story of a Soul and I feel as though we might have cracked open the door a bit. Perhaps in the practice of some of the things Therese suggests, the door will open further.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 2, 2002 6:08 PM.

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