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
“…rejoice rather that your names are written in heaven.”
In the Gospel reading today, the seventy-two disciples came back and were amazed with the fact that simply by saying Jesus’ name, the power they were given prevailed over evil spirits. Truth be told, if that happened to me, I would be amazed, but perhaps a little scared as well.
Make no mistake brothers and sisters — we are at war, fighting for our survival, not in the physical realm, but in the spiritual sense. We are fighting with principalities and powers. On our own, we are helpless. Fortunately, we are not alone. We have Jesus on our side. There are two points that are worthwhile to reflect on.
When we look around us and see all that is wrong in this world, we may feel defeated and hopeless, like we are fighting a losing battle. That is precisely the despair that the devil wants — he wants to undermine our trust in God, to make us feel abandoned and disheartened. But don’t let him fool you! We know the ending of this story — we know that God is triumphant ultimately! Our life on this earth, akin to a battlefield, is much like reading a book while knowing the ending. So don’t fall for the illusions that the devil created nor fall into the trap of despair.
In this life, we can become distracted, disheartened, and focus on all the wrong things. For example, the disciples were awestruck over the power of the name of Jesus and celebrated the fact that they were granted this power over evil; and so they should. But in doing so, let us not lose sight of the most important part – Jesus called us to be His own. He gave us the grace needed to survive in this world and ultimately make our way to Heaven – our eternal home. Let us celebrate that we are called to be His and to become part of His Family. That is the ultimate goal and the purpose of this life. That is the end game. That is indeed worth rejoicing.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)
Prayer: Our Heavenly Father, please adorn us with your armour of Salvation, Righteousness, Truth, Peace, Faith and the Holy Spirit; as we fight in the spiritual warfare against evil.
Thanksgiving: Dearest Lord, thank you for being on our side, always coming to our aid when we are in need. Thank You.
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