Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of one of the greatest saints of the Church, a holy and devoted woman whose name still inspires many of the faithful even unto this very day. She is St. Therese of the Child Jesus, also known as St. Therese Lisieux, a great religious and a great saint, Doctor of the Church for her many writings and contributions to the Faith, and she was made the Patroness of Christian missions throughout the world.
Who was St. Therese Lisieux? She was born from a family of devout Catholics, and Blessed Louis Martin and Blessed Marie-Azelie Guerin were her parents, who themselves are now on the path to sainthood due to their own personal piety and great examples of faith. It was in such a pious environment that St. Therese Lisieux was raised up in faith, and she became a good daughter of the Lord, and naturally, she felt the call to serve God early in her life.
St. Therese Lisieux inherited the great piety and faith of her parents, both of whom wanted to serve the people of God and the Church in a greater way, by joining congregations and reaching out to the less fortunate, but they were barred and prevented from doing so by the numerous challenges and circumstances of that time. Instead, it was through St. Therese Lisieux that their wishes were fulfilled.
She was often sickly in her youth, and she had lost her mother at a young age because of cancer. But this did not dim her desire to serve the Lord in greater capacities, and after one of her older sisters decided to join religious life, she too wanted to do the same, but was prevented from doing so due to her very young age. Nevertheless, she continued to devote herself strongly to the Lord.
And she overcame her problems and challenges at one time in her life, when she became resolved to serve the Lord and join the religious life as one of the Carmelites. Eventually she managed to get her request to join the Carmelites early, and from then on, she devoted everything to the Lord and to His people. And throughout her life from then on, she became a great source of inspiration to many people, through her works and writings, through her prayers and devotions.
She discovered the ‘little way’ which would be famously attributed to her, as the way to reach out to the Lord. In this way, she focused on the frailty and how small human beings are as compared to the greatness of God, and therefore, rather than trying to reach up high and to stumble because we are unable to perform great things that we are unable to do, then she advocated us all to follow the way of simplicity and humility, of complete surrender to the will of God.
St. Therese Lisieux in her many contributions to the Church and to the faithful people of God had brought about much goodness and brought salvation closer to many countless people and souls. This example that she has showed all of us, we should take heed of, and then we should try our best to emulate her as best as we can, so that we too can take part in the effort to bring all people and all souls closer to God’s salvation.
And this is aptly recalled in the Gospel today, where the Lord Jesus spoke to His disciples, who argued about who should be considered as the greater or the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. Jesus made it very clear that the path of the Lord is not that of pride and of hubris and boasting, but instead, those who lowered himself and kept his humility before the Lord would receive greatness in the presence of God.
This is exactly just as what St. Therese Lisieux proposed in her ‘little way’, that is, if we want to be greater servant of our Lord and receive greater blessing and grace from the Lord, then we should lower and humble ourselves, and not to become attached to worldly things and desires. The greater is our humility, the more we are able to realise what God wants to do with our lives, and the more we can recognise what we can contribute and do for the sake of the salvation of souls.
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, by heeding the examples of St. Therese Lisieux, the Little Flower of Carmel, let us all devote ourselves ever more to the Lord our God, and let us all dedicate ourselves ever more to help all those around us who need our help, especially those who have lost their way and do not know the way to go to reach out to God and His salvation.
May Almighty God be with us always, and help us to be more like St. Therese Lisieux, in piety, devotion and deeds, so that in all the things we say and do, we may bring greater glory to God, and help mankind and more souls to attain the salvation of God. God bless us all. Amen.