St. Therese of Lisieux

Today we remember and celebrate the feast of one of the best loved Catholic saints of the 20th century – Therese of Lisieux, known as “The Little Flower.” In our sophisticated secular 21st century, saints are not as popular, but they still have much to teach us.

Therese was born in Alencon, France, in 1873, and died as a cloistered Carmelite nun in the convent of Lisieux in 1897 at the young age of twenty-four.  During her life time she was seen as “ordinary” but devotion to her spread like wild fire after her death. This is attributed to her autobiography which she wrote at the command of her superiors.   People all over the world came to recognize, accept and develop their potential for sanctity by adopting what Therese called her “little way.”  Her spirituality was driven by a powerful metaphor:  In our relationship with God we are very small children.  We always will be.  There is no need to be anything else.  Therese insisted that we accept this fact. Surrender, not achievement, is what our spiritual journey is all about.  Surrender to the Will of God.  This “little way” is not easy.  It is for maturing adult Christians.  The challenge is not to seek out extraordinary forms of sanctity but to do the ordinary, daily routine things of life – and do them as best as we can putting all our efforts into the Hands of God, our loving Father.  We are all called to holiness especially those of us who are wounded.  Therese writes:

I realized that our Lord does not call those who are worthy, but those whom He will. – that is you and me!

St. Therese of Lisieux pray for us and help us develop a right understanding of sanctity.


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St. Michael the Archangel, be our protector

From the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, pgs 54-55:

“It is a truth of faith that God, the ‘maker … of all that is seen and unseen,’ created a realm of spiritual beings who do not share the limitations of a physical body and yet exist as the result of his all-powerful, loving act of creation.  We call these spiritual beings, Angels. ‘As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will:  they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.’  Angels glorify God and work for our salvation.  The Church celebrates the memory of certain angels (St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael) who were God’s messengers. 

Some of the angels turned against God and were driven out of heaven and into hell.  Their leader is called Satan, and they are referred to as devils or demons in Scripture.  They tempt us to evil.  But their power is limited and is never greater than God’s.”

An Archangel named Michael appears in the Hebrew Scriptures in Daniel’s vision as “the great prince” who defends Israel against its enemies; in the Book of Revelation, he leads God’s armies to final victory over the forces of evil.  Devotion to St. Michael is the oldest angelic devotion having its source in the Eastern churches in the fourth century.  Shortly afterwards this devotion spread to the Western Church where it became very popular.

St. Paul of the Cross, Founder of the Passionists, had great devotion to St. Michael the Archangel and declared him protector of our Congregation.  According to our legend, St. Paul was in the process of building the first Passionist Monastery atop Monte Argentario, Italy.  Many local people were opposed to this project and one night a group of men started up the mountain to destroy the project.  Suddenly they beheld the Archangel Michael protectively hovering over the construction site.  Terrified, they fled, and the monastery was built.  Ever since then, St. Michael the Archangel has been invoked as our protector.

As we remember the gift of angels today, may we pray:

St. Michael the Archangel, guard us and protect us.  Defend us against Satan and all of his devils.

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don’t despair – God is merciful

I recently had a lengthy conversation with an older man who has been dealing with sexual addiction for years.  He finds it hard to deal with life and when it is especially unbearable for him, he loses himself in a world of internet pornography.  He is fundamentally a good man who has helped many people but is not good at helping himself.  I stressed to him the importance of trusting in God’s mercy, that God loves him and that God is with him.  The worse thing that he can do is despair.  Satan is not so much interested in getting him to watch porn as Satan is interested in getting him to despair of God’s mercy.  It’s when he despairs that he is truly in Satan’s grasp.

We can ultimately deal with any issues – with God’s grace- as long as we do not despair.  Despair puts us signed, sealed and delivered into Satan’s pocket.  Whatever the issues that torment us today, may we pray for continued trust in God’s mercy.  We can make the opening prayer of today’s Mass our own:

“O God, who manifest your almighty power above all by pardoning and showing mercy, bestow, we pray, your grace abundantly upon us and make those hastening to attain your promises heirs to the treasures of heaven…”

Posted in Addictive behavior, Aging, Bereavement, Christian Faith, General Interests, Human behavior, Prayer, Spirituality | Leave a comment

a simple thought for the day

“I must look for the good in others, if I want to find it in myself!”

Many of my personal issues – and many of the world’s issues – would be happily resolved if I (we) could look at the good in others.

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always there for us

Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 90) reminds us again that God is always there for us:

“In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.”

God is faithful.  Always.  In all times, Everywhere.  No matter what!

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