St. Thérèse’s love for our Lord touched all nations
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus (October 1, 2021): BAR 1:15-22; PS 79:1-2,3-5, 8,9; LK 10:13-16
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
The nun who would one day be known around the world as the Little Flower lived only to be 24.
On this memorial of St. Thérèse of Lisieux (of the Child Jesus), we recall a popular saint great in her humility and holy in her desire to do only and always what would please God. She was born to an extremely devout French couple, the Martins, who, in 2015, became the only husband and wife ever canonized at the same time. Thérèse, along with her sisters, was drawn to a religious vocation. She entered the Carmelite convent at Lisieux at age and would also experience much spiritual and physical struggle and suffering. The nun who would one day be known around the world as the Little Flower lived only to be 24. Yet during that time she lived to love and serve God. That loving service was expressed through simple and practical acts of charity, the embrace of the Sacraments, and a rich prayer life. She was fervent in praying for priests and all missionaries, as well as for those who did not yet know Christ, or who had rejected Him. St. Therese died in 1897. Within a few years, her autobiographical writings which included her “little way” of holiness drew the attention and appreciation of people around the world. She was canonized in 1925.
On World Mission Sunday in 1997, Pope St. John Paul II declared St. Thérèse a Doctor of the Church. In his homily that day, he said that she had “ardently desired to be a missionary. She was one, to the point that she could be proclaimed patroness of the missions. Jesus Himself showed her how she could live this vocation: by fully practicing the commandment of love, she would be immersed in the very heart of the Church’s mission, supporting those who proclaim the Gospel with the mysterious power of prayer and communion.… The Church is missionary by nature. Not only those who choose the missionary life but all the baptized are in some way sent ad gentes (to the nations).” That is as true for us as it was for a young woman in a cloistered convent whose love for our Lord touched all nations.
As we begin World Mission Month, let us pray for the intercession of St. Thérèse to guide and protect all missionaries, as we ourselves pledge daily prayer and generous help on World Mission Sunday for the priests, religious Sisters and Brothers, and lay pastoral leaders who proclaim the Gospel and serve the poor.
For resources for the celebration of World Mission Sunday, visit this website.