Have you seen the October cover of Living with Christ yet? It is graced with a beautiful image of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus (St. Thérèse of Lisieux) whose feast day we celebrate on October 1.
Most Catholics are familiar with this “little” saint who made a big impact in the Christian world. Born in 1873, in Normandy, France, into a pious and loving Catholic family, she made it her goal at a very early age to become a saint. Her life on earth would span only 24 years, but in that short time she reached incredible spiritual depths through her “little way”: love and fidelity in small things, and trust and complete self-surrender to God.
Her short life was not spared from struggles of various kinds. Thérèse lost her mother at a tender age of 4, had difficulties fitting in at school due to her natural precociousness and piety, developed a painful and mysterious illness (from which she was miraculously healed), struggled to fulfill her strong inner calling to enter the convent at an unprecedented age of fifteen, and her eventual life in the convent which was marked by harsh treatment by some of the sisters and a superior. Tuberculosis was her final battle, which eventually claimed her life.
Therese’s philosophy was that if we maintain the right attitude, everything will eventually fall into place. She did not have grand, ambitious plans in life, only to live the “little way,” by responding to whatever life gave her each moment with acceptance and great love. For Thérèse, holiness means following God’s will. To be the best version of ourselves is to seek to be what God wishes us to be.
There is a beautiful quote from Thérèse, which speaks of the abundance and diversity of all of our vocations:
“I understood that every flower created by Him is beautiful, that the brilliance of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not lessen the perfume of the violet or the sweet simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all the lowly flowers wished to be roses, nature would no longer be enamelled with lovely hues. And so it is in the world of souls, Our Lord’s living garden.”
Her classic autobiography, The Story of a Soul, captures how deeply devoted she was to Jesus and how she longed to be with him forever. Her simple and pure heart inspired those who knew her, and touched countless lives after her death. Thérèse’s inspiring legacy shows that it does not matter who we are, young or old, healthy or sick, well-known or ordinary – our path to holiness is to follow Jesus, in the important points of our lives, but also in the most ordinary, mundane, and seemingly insignificant moments as well.
–Natalia Kononenko, Editor, Living with Christ