The saint who lived and taught a ‘little way’ of loving and serving God
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus (October 1, 2020): JB 19:21-27; PS 27:7-9,13-14; LK 10:1-12
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Although Thérèse’s life was brief, quiet and hidden, her dedication to God and His people still attracts those who also want to do simple everyday things to serve our Lord for the sake of love alone.
The Church venerates today one of its best-known and loved saints – St. Thérèse of Lisieux (of the Child Jesus). Born to a very religious family in Alençon, France, in 1873, Thérèse Martin grew up determined to serve God. She particularly wanted to be a cloistered nun and entered the Carmel of Lisieux at age 15. She spent the next nine years in prayer and penance, growing ever closer to Christ and developing her Little Way of holiness. When her autobiography, written under obedience to her superiors, was published as The Story of a Soul after her death, it became internationally popular. Although Thérèse’s life was brief, quiet and hidden, her dedication to God and His people still attracts those who also want to do simple everyday things to serve our Lord for the sake of love alone. She rejoiced in the holiness of doing much by being little.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux was long interested in going to the missions herself, but, instead, because of health problems, she fulfilled God’s design without leaving her convent. She wrote, “Here are Jesus’ words: Lift up your eyes and see. See how in heaven there are empty places, He asks you to fill them.… Request workers of Me, and I will send them. I only wait for a prayer or a sigh of your heart! The apostolate of prayer, is it not so to say, higher than that of preaching? Our mission, as Carmelite, is one of forming evangelical workers that will save millions of souls whose mothers we will be.” She died in 1897 after intense suffering from tuberculosis, and was canonized in 1925. Just two years later, at the direction of Pope Pius XI, she joined St. Francis Xavier, the great 16th century Jesuit missionary of Asia, in becoming co-patrons of the missions. St. Thérèse of Lisieux was also honored in 1997 as a Doctor of the Church because of the immense spiritual influence of her writings.
As we begin this month of October, this Mission Month, let us each day, like St. Thérèse of Lisieux, offer our own “little way” in support of the continuing mission of the Church.
For resources for the celebration of World Mission Sunday / Mission Month, visit this website.