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Memorial of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Scripture Readings: Job 19: 21-27; Psalms 27: 7-8a, 8b-9abc, 13-14; Luke 10: 1-12

My dear encountered couples:

To show us that it doesn’t take as long to become a saint as it seems to be taking most of us, God brought Marie Francoise Therese Martin into the world. Known as Theresa of the Child Jesus, the Little Flower, she entered the Carmelite Order at Lisieux in France when she was 15 years old. She progressed so well in holiness that when she was 22, she was appointed novice-mistress. Two years later at the age of 24 in 1897 she died. And not so long afterwards in 1925 she was canonized a saint, and together with St. Francis Xavier was named by Pope Pius XI patron saint of foreign missions.

I’d say she did quite well for only having twenty-four years on this planet, fifteen of them at home with her parents and nine years in the convent. Though St. Theresa was not very strong physically, she had an inner strength that nothing was able to break. She wanted to work in the missions, but since she was not considered strong enough, she was told to offer her life and prayers for the welfare and success of the missionaries, which she did.

Theresa’s way of life was simple – she prayed and was obedient to what she considered to be God’s will, ordinarily looked for in the orders of her superiors. She didn’t do what she was told because she feared them or God, but out of love. That makes a big difference. To live a life of obedience from love and concern is much different from obedience as a result of fear of punishment.

Theresa did not become a saint from being a frightened little mouse, but by growing spiritually stronger everyday as a result of facing with God’s help whatever came her way.

Like St. Theresa, Jesus tells us today, “Go on your way.” He sends us into our everyday life, carrying an awareness that he is beside us, as we practice our own “self-forgetfulness” by putting the needs of another ahead of our own.

Some might ask, “Where are all these Little Flowers today? Where have they gone?” Well, I think many still do exist. They don’t get headlines; they don’t blow trumpets and alert everyone to notice them. They live quietly, doing what they believe is God’s will, not from fear of him, but from love. May we all learn from St. Theresa just how to do that!

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