Note: The following reflection was done for use on the Lisa Hendey podcast found at www.catholicmoments.com It is recorded there as a part of Lisa’s regular weekly program. For this month of October, I will do five ‘reflections’ on The Little Flower. You can listen on-line on your computer, on your IPOD – or read them here. Blessings. DT.
Dear Lisa Hendey has extended a special privilege to me – to take this month of October and to share each deacon moment about just one saint -- the one known as the Little Flower – or as St. Therese of Lisieux.
All children are precious – but I wonder do you have a beautiful daughter… a granddaughter or a neighbor child that seems to radiate God’s love when you look at her? I’ve experienced this from time to time… and if you look at the picture of Therese Martin as a young girl of perhaps six or seven – it isn’t hard to believe there was a special, holy love already burning inside the child.
Therese was born into a fairly well to do family on January 2 nd 1873, in Lisieux, France. Her family was quite Catholic – quite spiritual and this is evidenced in the later diaries of St. Therese. But I don’t want to jump too far ahead just yet… I’d like to spend this deacon moment on Therese as a child.
What was she like? Well – I have two brief childhood stories to share.
Therese wrote: “One time, I very nicely asked my sister to take down an inkstand that was on a shelf in the kitchen… I needed the help, as I was too little to reach it. She refused… and she often called me a ‘little brat’ when she was annoyed with me. Well – this time, I pushed a chair up, and standing quite tall and with dignity, I said to her, ‘YOU are a brat.’” Then I made my escape, leaving her to meditate on the profound statement I had just made.” Hmmm sounds like it could have been our kids… how about yours?
But then listen to another experience from the Little Flower’s diary: “During walks I took with Papa, he loved to have me bring alms to the poor we met on the way. On one occasion, we met a poor man who was dragging himself along painfully…. but he wouldn’t accept my offering since he felt he wasn’t poor enough to accept alms… But I remembered having heard that on your First Communion Day, we can obtain whatever we ask for… I said ‘I’ll pray for this poor man the day of my first Communion… and I kept my promise five years later… and I hope God answered the prayer.” Isn’t that tender? Beautiful?
So what you will find if you delve into the book, “Story of a Soul” is a girl who was impetuous, temperamental, sulky, sensitive and yet profoundly touched by her Catholic upbringing and her love of Jesus.
Therese’s mother and father are to be beatified on October 19 th 2008. I think they give us great example of what it means to raise children in a holy Catholic family. This is so evident in the young girl who would remember to pray for a poor person when she received her First Holy Communion.
We will see the unfolding of – the beginnings of the spirituality of imperfection. We have so much more to cover about this beautiful, October saint. Please join Catholic Moments again when next we talk about the teenage Therese and her determination and drive to become a nun. This is Deacon Tom… blessings.