"Reading this book was one of the
greatest graces of my life!"
St. Thérèse of Lisieux
In the late nineteenth century, Father Charles Arminjon, a priest from the mountains of southeastern France, assembled his flock in the town cathedral to preach a series of conferences to help them turn their thoughts away from this life’s mean material affairs—and toward the next life’s glorious spiritual reward. His wise and uncompromising words deepened in them the spirit of recollection that all Christians must have: the abiding conviction that heavenly aims, not temporal enthusiasms, must guide everything we think, say, and do.
When Father Arminjon’s conferences were later published in a book, many others were able to reap the same benefit—including fourteen-year-old Thérèse Martin, then on the cusp of entering the Carmelite convent in Lisieux. Reading it, she says, “plunged my soul into a happiness not of this earth.” Young Thérèse, filled with a sense of “what God reserves for those who love him, and seeing that the eternal rewards had no proportion to the light sacrifices of life,” copied out numerous passages and memorized them, “repeating unceasingly the words of love burning in my heart.