"You Have Revealed Them to the Childlike"
October 1st Readings Reflection: Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Today, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, whom Pope St. Pius X called “the greatest saint of modern times.” She is known as the Little Flower, because she spent her life loving and trusting God as a child does, a path to holiness that Jesus spoke about in today’s Gospel reading:
I give [Y]ou praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned [Y]ou have revealed them to the childlike.
In St. Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus said that “unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 18:3 DRB). These two passages summarize St. Thérèse’s entire life. She greatly desired to be a saint, but in her humility, she saw herself as being too small to imitate the great saints. Rather than despairing or becoming discouraged by this, St. Thérèse revealed a remarkable trust in God:
God would never inspire me with desires which cannot be realized; so, in spite of my littleness, I can hope to be a Saint… Your arms, My Jesus, are the elevator which will take me up to Heaven. There is no need for me to grow up; on the contrary, I must stay little, and become more and more so (Story of a Soul).
Through her “Little Way,” St. Thérèse found the path to holiness that everyone can follow. No matter what our state in life is, no matter what job we have, we all possess the ability to “do small things with great love,” as St. Thérèse said, and to grow ever closer to God through the ordinary occurrences of everyday life.
At the beginning of today’s Gospel, the disciples were marveling that “even the demons are subject to [them] because of [Jesus’] name.” Jesus in turn told them to “rejoice because [their] names are written in heaven.” As those who have prayed to St. Thérèse can attest, these same words are true of Jesus’ Little Flower. Her intercession is very powerful in Heaven, and even popes have received roses in answer to prayers offered to her. While this devotion must never be held as superstition, St. Thérèse’s “shower of roses from Heaven” continues to guide and bring hope to the hearts of all those who trust in her intercession before God.
On this feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, may we seek her powerful intercession for those intentions we hold dear at heart, and strive to imitate her Little Way in finding God amidst the ordinary things of daily life.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux, ora pro nobis!