Simply doing God's will, being what God wants us to be
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus [Lisieux] (October 1, 2019): IS 66:10-14; PS 131: 1,2,3; MT 18:1-4
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Today we celebrate the memorial of the Little Flower. That is the name given to St. Thérèse of Lisieux, one of the world’s most beloved saints.
Born in 1873 to a comfortable middle class French family, Thérèse was drawn to a deeply spiritual life from an early age. She devoted herself completely to God her Father and Mary her Mother. At age 15, she followed two older sisters into a Carmelite convent. The words of Jesus in today’s Gospel reading remind us of a vital truth that St. Thérèse clearly knew. “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children. You will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4).
Thérèse realized that her she would not achieve great things in her life, at least not as the world understands greatness. Instead, she concentrated on doing everything, however insignificant it might seem – every thought, word, and deed – for the love and glory of God. The hardships and sufferings of her nine years as a nun, she offered to Him for the well being of others, especially priests and missionaries. As she was dying from tuberculosis, Therese was asked by her superiors to write about her life. The resulting work, known as The Story of a Soul, was widely shared and became hugely popular after her death in 1897. The simplicity of her way of life and the ardor of her love for God captured the attention and influenced the spirituality of many readers. St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus was canonized in 1925. She was later declared both a Doctor of the Church and a patroness of the missions and missionaries.