Oct 1 – Feast of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor, Patroness of Missions
Born to a pious middle-class French family of tradesmen, Francoise-Marie Thérèse Martin (1873–1897) was the daughter of Blessed Louis Martin and Blessed Marie-Azelie Guerin Martin, and all four of her sisters became nuns. Her mother died when Francoise-Marie was only four, and the family moved to Lisieux, Normandy, France to be closer to family.
She was cured from an illness at the age of 8, when a statue of the Blessed Virgin smiled at her. She was educated by the Benedictine nuns of Notre-Dame-du-Pre, and confirmed there at the age of 11. Just before her 14th birthday, she received a vision of the Child Jesus. She immediately understood the great sacrifice that had been made for her, and developed an unshakeable faith.
She tried to join the Carmelites, but was turned down due to her age. She was a pilgrim to Rome for the Jubilee of Pope Leo XIII whom she met, and who knew of her desire to become a nun. She joined the Carmelites at Lisieux on 9 April 1888 at the age of 15, taking her final vow on 8 September 1890 at the age of 17.
She is known by all for her complete devotion to spiritual development and to the austerities of the Carmelite Rule. Due to health problems resulting from her ongoing fight with tuberculosis, her superiors ordered her not to fast. She became novice mistress at the age of 20 and, at age 22, was ordered by her prioress to begin writing her memories and ideas. The material would turn into the book History of a Soul.
She defined her path to God and holiness at The Little Way, which consisted of child-like love and trust in God. She had an ongoing correspondence with the Carmelite missionaries in China, often stating how much she wanted to come work with them. Many miracles are attributed to her, and she was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1997 by Pope John Paul II.
“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.” – Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
– Patron Saint Index
…but, each following the dictates of his evil heart, we have taken to serving alien gods, and doing what is displeasing to the Lord our God.
Human nature is full of uncertainty and human inclinations, the hearts of human beings are unpredictable and immensely unstable; they are difficult to confine to any true and complete understanding. Transgressions, sins and their occasions are human surge tones. What we have in any human heart is only known to God because it is a baggage of feelings, thoughts and innate reservations and resolutions. And what we have bonded in human heart could trigger and erupt the most volcanic content in action. The heart is the mind’s resource base, and anchors the best and the most bizarre imagination.
The greatest danger comes when people, who claim to be men and women of God in evil clothing, position God as an instrument of action. They claim and imbibe heinous opinions and decisions as reflections of the messages from God. In doing that, their followers are bedevilled and yet these people continue to believe them, thereby sinking further into a hellish pit of condemnation.
In July 1996, in a remote village in the southern part of Nigeria, a woman felt her daughter was not acting normal and took her to a pastor of a church housed in a makeshift building that could accommodate no more than twenty people, for counselling, deliverance and prayer. The pastor took time to pray for the girl and thereafter pronounced what he called “revelations from God”. He said the girl was a witch who should not be allowed to live so as not to pollute other members of her family. He instructed the woman to take her daughter away, eliminate her or her witch-daughter would kill her and other members of her family. Worried and confused, the woman was poised to act as revealed by the ‘man of God’. When the Catholic priest in the parish covering the area was informed of the issue, he moved in to see the family. After weeks of counselling and ministrations, the family came together to accept that the young girl’s behaviour and actions were things that required counselling, patience, medical care and prayers to resolve.
Today, the young girl is 25 and doing well. In our world today, there are human inclinations toward evil and on a daily basis, many indulge in evil revelations and visions in the sight and in the name of the Lord our God. As Christians, it is very important for us to understand that God is not an agent of death — let us be very careful.
(Today’s Oxygen by Julius Otusorochukwu Dike, KSJI, JP)
Prayer: Lord, our father in heaven, help us to remove evil thoughts from our hearts and minds; remove thoughts of deceit and evil manipulations and reposition us in doing things pleasing to you. We trust you will help us to get out of evil deeds, Amen.
Thanksgiving: Dear Lord, we thank you for helping us to get rid of evil thoughts and deceits that lead people into sins; we are grateful to you for granting us this desire. Amen.