Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Lectionary: 460

At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike."

I suppose most of us have pondered the example of heroes and thought that we emulated them in some ways; and most of us have finally realized we're not in the least heroic.

The "forever young" St Therese, dying at the age of 24, considered that irony as well. The narrowly and defined life of the convent with its over-represented group of elderly sisters -- like most religious communities of either sex today -- has ways to tamp down the heroic impulses of its young women. Washing dishes, scrubbing floors and folding laundry just don't cut it for Supergirl.

Few of my Baby Boomer generation suffered that kind of life. During my seminary years most of us felt we just should not have to bury the turnips upside down as our predecessors, the "Greatest Generation" and the "Silent Generation" had. We were Mouseketeers and "leaders of the twenty-first century." We couldn't believe we sinned mortally by eating meat on Friday or missing the occasional Sunday Mass. Surely God had more serious things in mind when he enacted the dreaded "mortal sin." We had places to go and people to see and things to do! 

Therese's heart was not driven by fear of mortal sin or dread of disobedience. From an early age she was given a grace, an insight, about the Love of God, and a keen desire to love God with all her heart. If that meant an unpretentious life in an  obscure monastery of nuns, so be it. She pioneered the inner life when most people adventure outward. She found imperfections where they might be addressed, within herself; rather than in those around her, where she might have joined us in idle complaints and useless carping. 

In the last few years we have watched a few heroes step forward to represent the Church. I think of Saint Theresa of Calcutta, Blessed Pope John Paul II, and our present Pope Francis. Thank God for them; they brilliantly reveal to the world the power of grace. The rest of us watch with awe the wonders God quietly works in our own hearts, as we forgive others, apologize for our sins intended and unintended, and atone with our daily prayers for the world in general. 

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.