I have lots of spiritual books in the drawer next to my bed but one that I return to time and time again is the autobiography of St. Theresa of Lisieux – better known as “the Little Flower.” Today, October 1st, is her feast day! One of the reasons this book strikes so deep a chord with me is because Therese never does anything so great to be recognized or rewarded during her lifetime. In fact, her life is one of obscurity cloistered away in the Carmelite House of Nuns. But yet her day to day life is riveting in the sense that she takes every opportunity from the minute she wakes up till the time she goes to sleep to bend her will to Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is amazing how conscious she is minute by minute in her day of serving Christ. Whether she is praying next to a nun who is making weird sounds, to being assigned a job she despises, to being forced to be with someone who despises her, Therese lives in that moment, suppresses her own will, seeks out the Lord’s will and executes with his grace. By doing so, she turns those annoyances, problems, and anxieties into gifts of love that bring her a peace she would have never had otherwise as well as gives her Lord the love He so needs and desires from all of us.
It doesn’t matter how many times I read her story, I always put that book down inspired with love for my God and my fellow man and, of course, St. Therese. It amazes me time and again the power of this powerless young girl. To me, her inner devotion and love for Christ stands so tall and speaks so loud it draws me in and gives me courage to know that the more I rely on Christ and offer Him my whole self not only every day, but every minute of every day, the more He space He will take up inside my heart and emanate through me as He did and does through Therese.
Interestingly enough, often Therese’s sisters would not understand her. Just as Christ was and is so misunderstood, Therese’s actions were often interpreted as weakness, her illness seen as fraudulent and her thoughts sometimes seen as idiocy. Through it all, she kept her focus on her gifts of love to Christ. She sought only to give Christ what she considered morsels of love, the tiniest of offerings. Christ returned so many graces to Therese in exchange for her whole hearted offerings that we must know and understand that every time we turn to Christ in even the smallest of life’s problems, He will reward us. In so doing, He shows us that it is in the routine of life that we can spiritually grow. If we can come to understand that those we walk with daily, those given to us by our Lord, can be the source of our salvation, we will start to live a new found love in the daily monotony of our lives and so show Christ the love and worship and place in our lives that He deserves.
Father Steve Grunow from the Word on Fire Blog offers his insight below:
What spiritual lesson does the witness of St. Therese offer us?
Perhaps we might consider whether too much of your prayer is dedicated
to pleading for exemptions from the hard facts and difficult circumstances
of life. We tell the Lord what we do not want to face, what we just couldn’t
accept, rather than coming to terms with the truth that God delivers and
redeems us nor from the reality of human existence, but through it. God
will not take us anywhere that he didn’t go himself, this much we know f from the revelation of Christ. St. Therese shows us that it is within an embrace of the reality of our existence that the Lord reveals himself and teaches us his truth.
May St. Therese intercede for you and help you to have the courage to love in Christ in all the people you walk with in your life today, tomorrow and always.