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Friday, October 1, 2010

It's the little things that count

So much can be learned from St. Therese of Lisieux and her way of simple, child-like faith as we celebrate her feast day today. Her way is sublime yet her way of life was profoundly simple, and as she reminded us...accessible to all. Her Little Way is the way of Love. But it's not a fleeting, emotional, sappy love-like feeling. It's the real deal; the crowning virtue of all virtues is Love. It is what drove Therese to Christ at a remarkably young age and what helped her to endure illness, pain and suffering in an untimely death.

Beyond her earthly existence, it is what continues to expand her zealous mission: to win souls for Christ so that we may know God's love and be his children in this life and in the next. So she is our friend.  She, like so many of our beloved Saints can be our "go to" model of prudence, wisdom and sanctity. How timely she is for me today. As I buzz around in all of my busy-ness, imprudently filling my day with tasks and commitments that sit like gravy and mashed potatoes on a full stomach, I am nudged to put a few things back - to leave room for the spouse of my soul. "But I'm too busy to attend daily Mass," I protest. Too busy? Too busy to take 30 minutes out of 24 hours to spend in the Divine Presence? I waste more time in traffic or on the internet. I should never be too busy for the lover of my soul, lest I tempt the same folly of the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida from today's gospel. Woe to me! On the contrary, past history proves that once I do finally make time for God, I enjoy the rhythms of vocal prayer and the stillness of meditation. I find my way to God's heart and there I drink from the streams by the wayside...ask yourself the following question: Have you ever regretted spending time in prayer? (Me neither)

Somebody told me once that we cannot go to God with our hands full (or clenched for that matter). The hands must be empty and open to receive the vast treasures he has in store for us. In the same way, our hearts must not be filled with other lusts or closed to Him, for the great treasure of His Love longs to find its home in a place solely devoted to Him. This is childlike devotion. This is what the great doctor of the Church, Therese of Lisieux teaches us through the story of her own soul.

It is also of great comfort to me to know that in the church's motherly wisdom, she offers a humble daughter that never wandered from her homeland nor studied in great institutions, the title of Doctor. It proves to demonstrate that we can work out our salvation or sainthood in our own backyards. Some have said that what Therese inspired in her short 24 years is more than what most theologians have understood in their entire careers. Therese is my example of the beautifully possible and today I am renewing my commitment to the plausibility of holy simplicity...through her little way of love. The Little Flower earned her nickname by referring to herself "one of Jesus's little flowers" who gave glory to God by just being her beautiful little self among all the other flowers in God's garden. Her goal was to spend her heaven doing good works on earth, and from the looks of it, she's doing a beautiful job. I am grateful for this little Saint who through her powerful inspiration has helped wilting souls find their way back to the tender arms of our Divine Gardener.

"Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be - and becoming that person." (St. Therese of Lisieux)

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