Today is my girl Saint Therese’s feast day and I figured I’d talk about her a little bit today because her life and her story is such a gift to us. She’s an interesting saint because some people hate on her for, ‘not having done enough’ to be a saint, while other people say she is unrelatable because of how holy she was. When she was little she was miraculously cured from a terrible fever and from that point on she felt an extreme dedication to pray for the souls of others while forgetting about herself. She was one of those people who was uniquely holy and in love with Jesus essentially from the day she was born and even in time of intense desolation remained constant in her love.
This woman was radical in her love and her humility. Could you imagine knowing your vocation at 15 years and joining a cloistered convent? Nope! I thought about becoming a religious sister this summer as a 21 year old and had a panic attack. I guess you can say I struggle to relate to her sometimes.
And yet, we are called to look to her as one of the best examples of sainthood today… and this is the most freeing thing. Why? Because, Saint Therese didn’t live a radically holy life like some saints. She couldn’t read souls or have the stigmata like Padre Pio, she didn’t live a life of complete poverty serving the poor like Mother Teresa, and she wasn’t persecuted and tortured for rejecting a man’s advances like Agatha. She lived a simple life dedicated to loving Jesus.
It’s a reminder for all of us that we do not have to live these crazy lives of persecution or radical poverty to live a good Christian life. She lived out the little way of love, growing in holiness each day thinking of Christ, not herself. St. Therese evangelized the world and became a doctor of the church simply by preaching love. To Therese her little way, “is the way of spiritual childhood, the way of trust and absolute self-surrender.” Can you imagine that? The way to get to heaven is to have a child-like heart. A heart that longs to love God as Father and Beloved and to trust in His goodness.
For those of you who are freaking out about discovering your vocation (like me). For those of you who are in a state of waiting with no clue where God is leading you. For those of you feeling stuck in your faith with no clue how to move forward allow the words of Saint Therese to comfort you, “My vocation, at last I have found it: my vocation is love.” Love is our vocation. Love is the path to sainthood. Love is the little way to joy and union with Christ. St. Therese’s little way isn’t some unattainable far off thing nor is it not enough for God. Her little way made her one of the greatest saints of all time and reflects today’s gospel when Jesus says, “For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.”
St. Therese – pray for us.