The Little Way of the Little Flower has helped people around the world walk in the steps of Christ
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of St. Thérèse of Lisieux (of the Child Jesus), Virgin and Doctor of the Church (October 1, 2018): JB 1:6-22; PS 17:1,2-3,6-7; LK 9:46-50
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
For all who lead simple, quiet lives, St. Thérèse of Lisieux is a beautiful model of how much can be accomplished by a person open to the will and grace of God.
Yet to outward appearances, she had done nothing of great note. Born to deeply devout French parents in 1873, she had a middle-class upbringing and experienced the death of her beloved mother at the age of four. She entered the nearby Carmelite convent when she was 15 and died there when she was just 24. Yet the life of St. Thérèse was one of intense closeness to the Lord from an early age. She was determined to spend every moment serving God through prayer, work, and, in a special way, by consecrating every single thing she did as an act of love. She said, “To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul.”
The Story of a Soul, Thérèse's autobiography, has touched readers for more than a hundred years. It shows how she combined humility and perseverance with a clear vision of how to live the Good News with her whole heart, especially while enduring suffering of body and soul. “You have tested my heart, searched it in the night. You have tried me by fire, but find no malice in me.... I call upon You, answer me, O God. Turn Your ear to me; hear my speech. Show Your wonderful mercy” (Psalm 17:3, 6-7). We honor her as a patroness of missionaries and missions because of her prayer and dedication to their work and welfare. In 2015, Pope Francis proclaimed her father and mother, Louis and Zelie Martin, saints. This is the first time the Church has canonized a husband and wife as a couple. And one of Thérèse's older sisters, Leonie, has now been declared a Servant of God, the first phase on the path to sainthood. Every follower of Christ needs to realize what good God can do in us and through us, if we only let Him.
Suggested missionary action: Let us offer a World Mission Rosary on this feast of the Little Flower, patroness of missions. And let us ask God to send more missionaries to spread the Good News of salvation, just as St. Thérèse had longed to do.