Today’s readings: Isaiah 66:10-14; Psalm 131; Matthew 18:1-4
St. Thérèse knew well the instruction of today’s Gospel reading: “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest of the kingdom of heaven.” St. Thérèse had a child-like faith, child-like, that is, in her trusting obedience to God’s will, even in the smallest of matters. She truly believed that small acts of faith and love would work wondrous miracles for the Kingdom of God.
Thérèse was a very sickly young lady. A childhood illness left her weak for the rest of her life, and her last year had her dying of tuberculosis. She entered the convent at the age of fifteen, and when she died she was just twenty-four years old. Yet in that short span of time she wrote much about her faith and encouraged others to embrace a simplicity of life and a dedicated obedience to God’s will. In 1997, Pope John Paul II named her a Doctor of the Church, one of just three women to have that special title.
Thérèse was not one who sought the limelight. She did not seek to make a name for herself or become anything other than what God wanted her to be. In Thérèse’s view, even the most menial tasks in the convent could be transformed into great acts of love. And her preference for hidden sacrifice did indeed convert souls. Few saints of God are more popular than this young nun. Her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, is read and loved throughout the world.
Today’s entrance antiphon says “The Lord alone was her leader.” The Psalmist reflects Thérèse’s rule of life by singing, “In you, Lord, I have found my peace.” Perhaps today we too can find the peace of God in doing small acts of love for the great glory of the Kingdom of God.