|From the Pastor...
She was born on the second day of January in 1873, to a
middle-class French family, her father being a watchmaker and
mother a maker of lace. At the age of 4, she was to lose her
mother to cancer and she and her sisters were to be raised solely
by her father. At the age of 8, she received a miraculous healing
herself when the statue of the Blessed Mother smiled upon her,
and at the age of 15, she became a Carmelite nun, dedicating
her life to that of simplicity and complete trust in the Lord.
She, of course, is Saint Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower,
our parish patroness and a great model for all who seek to serve
the Lord more completely.
In “Story of a Soul”, the story of her life dictated by Saint Theresa herself at the prompting of her spiritual director and against her own wishes, she outlines the call of the Lord in her life, through the twisted journey that led her to find her true identity in Jesus. She describes her life and the path to holiness as “the Little Way”, consisting only of love and trust in God. Even at a very young age, Therese had come to realize that whether life was easy or filled with adversity, the one constant that always remained was God's presence through it all. The joy of life, then, is to face even the most difficult of times with one thought: to find God and allow him to lead you through. Such trust and love begins when we embark on the kind of life that God wants for us, not what we conjure up for ourselves: To find our true place in the world and embrace who we are in the eyes of the Lord. “You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.”
Therese died at the tender young age of 24 from tuberculosis and was canonized a saint just 27 years later, in May of 1925 by Pope Pius XI. Among her last words were the promise that when she came to the heavenly reward that she prayed for constantly, she would be able to still help those left behind. She would come to all who called upon her “like a shower of roses”, and in ways both small and large, one would know the power and presence of God. There was no sadness in the prospect of her own death, since Therese saw her life as being always with God, both here in the world that we know, as well as the world to come.
Simplicity of life, then characterizes what Therese both lived herself and challenged all those around her to adopt. Life without pretense or haughtiness, and certainly life that was marked by an acceptance of things both light and dark. Only Christ himself can make us perfect and only in calling upon him each and every day will we ever be able embrace what lay ahead of us. Everyone of us has gifts and talents that have been given by God himself, to be shared and to give Him glory. There is no gift too small or insignificant, nor is one gift to be valued above the rest. All contribute who open their hearts.
As we celebrate this weekend of our parish feast, my thoughts and prayers are for each of us, that we will take these encouraging words to heart like never before. So much has been given over to these few days, and every gift is cherished and valued. In gratitude to God for all who make these events possible, and to Saint Theresa who gives us great example, may the Lord bless our efforts to love and trust him more completely in our lives. May we never want for anything, but rather embrace all that we already have.