Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus
Job 9:1-12, 14-16
Much has been written about St.Therese of the Child Jesus, but I suggest that the best source to come to know this young woman is her own autobiography written in her own words at the direction of her religious superior, who was also her older sister.
The ninth child in her family, she lost her beloved mother in death when she was only four and a half years old; she entered the Carmelite Cloister at 15, and died at the age of 24. Canonized in 1925, she was named Doctor of the Church in 1997.
Quite a ‘Vitae’!
The first reading today from the Book of Job calls us to reflect on the sufferings of a good man whose friends were trying to convince him that his sufferings are the result of his sinfulness. Job is confident that he has not sinned, yet he is unwilling to say that God is unjust, or causing, or allowing the innocent to suffer.
Therese too knew suffering, yet she teaches us that God’s love is infinite. Throughout her story we see a young woman who loved and trusted deeply in God’s love for her and for all those with whom she came in contact throughout her "Little Way of Love". Her complete surrender and fidelity to God in the small and ordinary daily tasks and her faithful offering of all her sufferings and illness was ‘… to save souls… those who did not know or love God as she knew and loved God’.
Today’s Gospel from Luke calls us to trust and say with the disciples of Jesus and with St. Therese, who’s life and spirituality we reflect on today, "I will follow you wherever you go," and mean it!
"Instead of becoming discouraged, I said to myself: God cannot inspire unrealized desires. I can then, in spite of my littleness, aspire to holiness. It is impossible for me to grow up and so I must bear with myself such as I am with all my imperfections. But I want to seek out means of going to heaven by a little way, a way that is very straight, very short and totally new." St. Therese of Lisieux. "A Story of a Soul," 207
If Therese’s religious superior and blood sister had not asked her to reflect and write her life and spiritual experiences, we would never have come to know this great saint of extraordinary grace in ordinary times. To those of you who read and reflect on the life of this great woman today, may I suggest that you reflect on your life and write your own spiritual autobiography as did Therese! Then share your story with your loved ones.
Sr. Marcella Fabing, CSJ, is on the staff of Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center, Citrus Heights, California.