Thursday, October 1, 2009


“Saint Therese of Lisieux”
artist and date are UNKNOWN


Biographical Information about Saint Thèrése Of The Child Jesus [1]

Readings for the Memorial of Saint Thèrése Of The Child Jesus

Readings and Commentary:

Isaiah 66:10-14c

Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her,
all you who love her;
Exult, exult with her,
all you who were mourning over her!
Oh, that you may suck fully
of the milk of her comfort,
That you may nurse with delight
at her abundant breasts!
For thus says the LORD:
Lo, I will spread prosperity over her like a river,
and the wealth of the nations like
an overflowing torrent.
As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms,
and fondled in her lap;
As a mother comforts her son,
so will I comfort you;
in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort.

When you see this, your heart shall rejoice,
and your bodies flourish like the grass;
The LORD'S power shall be known to his servants.

Commentary on
Is 66:10-14c

Isaiah speaks metaphorically to those returning from exile. They hear of the creation (birth without pain) of God’s children in a New Jerusalem. He uses the image of a mother nursing her child as an image of God's loving care for the people he has called home.  His oracle relates to a time of prosperity that comes about due to God’s love for those he has created. It is a calling home, a call to return to that place that gave them birth.

CCC: Is 66:13 239, 370

Psalm 131:1bcde, 2, 3

R. In you, Lord, I have found my peace.

O LORD, my heart is not proud,
nor are my eyes haughty;
I busy not myself with great things,
nor with things too sublime for me.

R. In you, Lord, I have found my peace.

Nay rather, I have stilled and quieted
my soul like a weaned child.
Like a weaned child on its mother's lap,
so is my soul within me.

R. In you, Lord, I have found my peace.

O Israel, hope in the LORD,
both now and forever.

R. In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
Commentary on
Ps 131:1bcde, 2, 3

Psalm 131 is an individual lament praying for harmony and humility among the members of the community. The singer proclaims trust in the Lord and peace, like children's contented peace, secure in the knowledge of the love and protection of their parents.

CCC: Ps 131:2 239; Ps 131:2-3 370

Matthew 18:1-4

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
"Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?"
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."

Commentary on
Mt 18:1-4

Jesus, in this selection from St. Matthew’s Gospel (also recorded in St. Luke’s Gospel at Luke 9:46-50.), summarizes what is known as “church order”. It is called this because, in response to the question “who will be greatest in the Kingdom of heaven”, Jesus refutes the rank and privilege of the secular world and indicates that those whose faith is like a small child will find greatness in heaven. The beginning allegory is thought to deal less with the innocence of a child and more with the child’s complete dependence upon its parents. The lesson then drives home the fact that the faithful disciple must be dependent upon God alone.

CCC: Mt 18:3-4 526; Mt 18:3 2785

In a complex world, filled with doubts and fears, how often do we long to have the simple faith of a little child? In her “Little Way”, Saint Thèrése of the Child Jesus describes her own journey toward that ideal and invites others to follow. Even her humility in bringing this spirituality to others demonstrates the virtue that makes her great and small at the same time.

As we think about her example we are reminded of a homily once given by Fr. Arockia Selvam. Speaking about a time in his native India when there was a tremendous drought, he related that a Christian congregation had decided they would gather and pray to God that the drought would end and that rains would come. They gathered 5,000 strong on a dusty plain and began to pray. Lo and behold, clouds darkened and it began to rain. In all that great throng, there was only a five year old girl who brought an umbrella.

The great message of Saint Thèrése of the Child Jesus is same as the Gospel, we must shed our adult cynicism, our fear and mistrust and offer ourselves to the Lord. Our faith must become simple and pure. Just as the Lord was vulnerable, not choosing to protect himself from those he loves, we also must shed the armor life has caused us to build and offer ourselves to Jesus.

We ask St. Thèrése to pray for us on this, her feast day; that we might find the strength of faith to become like the little girl who believed that if she prayed for rain, God would send it.


[1] The picture used today is “Saint Therese of Lisieux” artist and date are UNKNOWN 
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

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