Today in the Extraordinary Form we celebrated the feast of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. In the Ordinary Form, her feast was on October 1st. One of the advantages of celebrating both forms is that we are able to celebrate her feast twice!
I must give a public thanksgiving and attribution to Saint Therese for my conversion to the Catholic Faith and for my vocation as a monastic and a priest.
From a very early age I was attracted to her. This may sound strange, but when I was first introduced to Catholicism at the age of ten, I found out about Saint Therese, read everything I could find about her, and over the years was influenced and formed by her "Little Way".
She has seemed to adopt me as her own child. Even in the years of difficulty and darkness, she has been with me.
Her "Story of a Soul" has been my spiritual "food and drink"; she has acted, in a sense, as my "Novice Mistress", teaching me to love God in every moment of every day, seeing that difficulties and obstacles are the means to union with God, that "external" religious practices must always be filled with the interior desire to love Jesus, and Jesus alone.
Her "dark night" that preceded her most excruciating death by tuberculosis, when even making an act of faith was a heroic effort, is a great consolation to me, and is a sign of her relevance in this world where so much unbelief, blasphemy, hatred of God and His Church are rife.
She wanted to "eat at the table of sinners"; she was in complete solidarity with those who our society considers "lost": the prostitute, the apostate, the forgotten ones.
This, in my opinion, is the true greatness of the soul of Therese Martin, the "Little Flower", who as one author has put it, is "as strong as steel".
May Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face pray for us; may she bring us to the Heart of Jesus, the Heart of the Church, where we find the peace, joy, and charity that so inflamed her heart!
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