October 1, 2016

Therese

October 1, 2016:  St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor

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Pope Francis
Prayer for peace with Assyrian Chaldeans:  Lord Jesus, your cross and resurrection free us from sin and slavery; we await your coming in glory and your kingdom of justice, joy, and peace.  Conquer our hard hearts by the power of your resurrection; save victims of injustice from their suffering; confound the culture of death and make the triumph of life shine forth.

Unite to your cross the sufferings of the innocent:  children, the elderly, persecuted Christians; envelop the wounded in paschal light:  the abused, those deprived of freedom and dignity; let those in uncertainty experience your kingdom.
May peoples at war they learn the way of reconciliation, dialogue, and forgiveness; may they experience the joy of your resurrection.  Reunite your dispersed children under your gentle kingship.

Mary, Queen of Peace, who stood at the cross, obtain pardon for our sins, sustain our faith and hope, and teach us the road of service and love.
To Georgia authorities:  Georgia is a bridge between Europe and Asia facilitating communication and relations.  Georgia regained its liberty, strengthened its democratic institutions, and sought ways to guarantee authentic development, facing great sacrifice to ensure freedom.  I hope that the path of peace and development will advance with the consolidated commitment of all sectors of society, so as to create conditions for stability, justice, and respect for the rule of law, hence promoting growth and greater opportunities.  Peaceful coexistence is indispensable for enduring progress; this requires mutual esteem and consideration, respect for sovereign rights.

There seems to be a dominant way of thinking that hinders keeping legitimate differences in a climate of dialogue, reason, moderation, and responsibility.  We should give priority to human beings and prevent differences from giving rise to violence; distinctions must be a source of mutual enrichment in favor of the common good.  May civil authorities show concern, seek solutions, recognize the authentic good of peoples, and pursue it with determination and prudence, attentive to others' suffering; may we proceed along the path to peace.  The Catholic Church shares your joys and concerns and is resolved to cooperate with the authorities and civil society.  I want the Church to make an authentic contribution to the growth of Georgian society....
Tbilisi homily:  "Women love God in much larger numbers than men do" (St. Thérèse); remember all the grandmothers and mothers who defend and pass on the faith.  As a mother takes on the burdens of her children, so God takes on our sins and troubles in his love for us.
God is always ready to offer consolation amid the turmoil we experience, liberating us from evil, bringing peace, and increasing our joy.  We must leave the doors of consolation open to him through daily reading of the Gospel, prayer, confession, and receiving the Eucharist.  When our heart is closed, we get accustomed to pessimism and become absorbed in our sadness, anguish, isolation.  God best consoles us, when we're in communion; the Church is the house of consolation we should turn to.  Offer others the consolation you receive.  Even when afflicted or rejected, Christians are called to bring hope to those who have given up, encourage the downhearted, and bring the light and forgiveness of Jesus.
Countless people suffer trials, injustice, and anxiety.  God’s consolation can't take away our problems but gives us power to love, to peacefully bear pain.  Receiving and bringing God’s consolation is the Church’s mission.  To do so, we must become like a child.  God is known through a humble, trusting heart.  Prestige and earthly success mean little to God who wishes us to empty ourselves of them.  A child has nothing to give and everything to receive.  One who becomes like a child is poor in self but rich in God.  Children show us God accomplishes great things in those who put up no resistance to him, who are simple and sincere.  We're all the Father's children, not masters of our lives or self-sufficient adults but children who need love and forgiveness.
Christian communities who live the Gospel with simplicity may be poor in means but are rich in God.  And blessed are Shepherds who follow the law of love: welcoming, listening, serving.  Blessed is the Church who doesn't entrust herself to the criteria of functionalism and efficiency nor worry about her image.  “Bear with others' faults, and delight in the smallest acts of virtue we see them practice” (St. Thérèse).  Charity can't remain hidden in our hearts. 
Read
  • Jb 42:1-3, 5-6, 12-17  Job to the Lord:  "I know you can do all things.  Now that I've seen you, I repent in dust and ashes."  The Lord blessed Job with sheep, camels, oxen, sons, beautiful daughters, and long life.
  • Ps 119:66, 71, 75, 91, 125, 130  "Lord, let your face shine on me."  I trust your commands; teach me.  It's good I've been afflicted so I may learn your ways.  I'm your servant; give me discernment.  Your word sheds light.
  • Lk 10:17-24  Disciples / Jesus:  “Even demons are subject to us because of your name.” / “I've given you power to tread on the enemy unharmed. Don't rejoice because spirits are subject to you but because your names are written in heaven.  I give you praise, Father, Lord, for though you've hidden things from the wise, you've revealed them to the childlike.  You've handed all things over to me.  No one knows who I am except you, and you except me and anyone I reveal you to...”
St. Thérèse
    Thérèse, 13
  • Universalis:  St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus (Marie-Françoise-Thérèse Martin) became Carmelite nun at 15, patroness of missions, wrote memoirs under obedience, died of TB at 24; see acclaimed biography by Bishop Guy Gaucher.  Thérèse was weak and vulnerable but not discouraged, hearing from St John of the Cross that God won't inspire desires that can't be fulfilled.  Her “little way” means letting Jesus' love wash away our sins and imperfections.  Seize daily opportunities of grace and advance to heaven in tiny steps. Weakness is no excuse for mediocrity.
    Reflect
      • Creighton:  I think St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus is such a beloved saint because many of us experience a conversion that leads us to identify with her. She believes she doesn't have much to offer God, except love. She feels, and in ways is, lowly, small, and simple. St. John Paul II said that as he grew in faith, her simplicity became more profound to him.
      Job introduces us to individuals who think they know more than they really do:  Job’s friends think they know everything, including God and his ways, and explain it to Job.  Job knew they were wrong but still wondered why God had allowed his misery; he challenged God to explain.  In the end, Job admits he had been dealing “with great things I don't understand, things too wonderful for me, that I can't know.” God’s ways and thoughts are simply not ours.  Job came to the beginning of wisdom, realizing his knowledge is as nothing before the Lord.  The psalmist agrees.  If the Lord shines on us, if we trust his commands, then he sheds light and gives understanding to the simple.  You quit being simple when you think you know more than you do, when you have God figured out; then you can no longer receive understanding from God.  Be simple and humble and let light flood you.  Only the simple can receive God’s mysteries.  Lord, help us to humble ourselves, be simple, and receive a child's heart....
      • One Bread, One Body:  "The devil and intellectual pride":  Few Christians are aware of their authority over the devil or their need for that authority. Our authority is "hidden from the learned... but revealed to children." Expect scorn if you talk about the devil, but....
      • Passionist:  Thérèse died in 1897, at 24.  She never left her cloister or went to college, but her spirit reached the whole world.  She was rapidly canonized, named co-patron of the church’s missions, and declared doctor of the church.  She was no little flower though people call her that.  Thérèse spoke of her “little way”:  living each moment faithfully and humbly, striving to act out of love for God. In the 1st reading, battered Job, who seemed to lose everything, finds peace and bows before and trusts God, is met with God's love, and dies surrounded by his family and the flowering of his work.  Such trust in God’s love and striving to live in it daily formed Thérèse’s spirituality.  Despite her later “Little Flower” title, she was sturdy and realistic, enduring her Sisters' foibles and suffering chronic illness, but never yielding to indifference or self-pity.
      Though she spent her life inside a cloister, her love for Christ roamed the world.  She wanted to be the “apostle of the apostles” and “bring thousands to Christ.”  That spirit is heard in Jesus’ prayer in today’s gospel.  Jesus exults in God’s love:  “Blessed the eyes that see what you see,”   Because of her faith and love for Christ, she saw the world as a place of beauty, deserving to hear the liberating gospel message.
      • DailyScripture.net:  "Your names are written in heaven":  If "the joy of the Lord is our strength," why does Jesus tell his disciples to not take joy in their successes?  God alone is the true source of joy.  God assures us of victory in all circumstances.  Jesus has power over all evil; he came to overthrow the evil one.  We as his disciples have been given authority and power to overcome evil.
      Jesus thanks the Father for revealing God's wisdom and knowledge to his disciples.  His prayer tells us God is Father and Lord of earth and heaven, Creator, Origin of goodness and loving care for his children.  Jesus warns that pride can keep us knowing and loving God.  Pride, an exaggerated view of oneself, closes us to God's truth and wisdom.  Lucifer, once the prince of angels, fell into pride because he wanted to be God's equal. He led angels to rebel, but those angels (evil spirits, demons) were cast out and thrown to the earth. They seek to lead us away from God through pride.  Humility teaches us to trust in God.  God gives strength to those who trust him.  Humility leads us to recognize who we are in God's sight, dependent on God.
      Jesus contrasts pride with simplicity and humility.  The simple are like "little children," seeing purely and acknowledging their dependence and trust in God, seeking the greatest good, God himself.  Simplicity is wedded with humility, which inclines the heart towards grace and truth.  As pride is the root of sin, so humility is the only soil in which grace can take root.  It takes the right attitude before God and allows him to do all.  God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.  Humility inclines us towards God and disposes us to receive God's wisdom and help.  Lord, heal the wounds of pride in me, and fill me with the joy of the Spirit who transforms us into the likeness of Christ, meek and humble of heart.  Jesus claims to be the perfect revelation of God.  We can know God personally.  In Jesus we see God's perfect love,...
      Dress legend
      • 'Sheep' tie bar:  God gave Job 14,000 sheep (1st reading)
      • 'Clock' tie bar:  God gave Job 140 years (1st reading)
      • 'Owl' tie pin:  "Teach me wisdom" (psalm)
      • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  "My eye has seen you" (1st reading); “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see; many desired to see it but didn't" (gospel)
      • 'Lightning bolt' pin:  "I observed Satan falling like lightning" (gospel)
      • 'Serpent' tie pin:  "I've given you power to tread upon serpents" (gospel)
      • 'Pen and scroll' pin:  "Rejoice because your names are written in heaven" (gospel)
      • 'Children' pin:  "Father, you've revealed hidden things to the childlike" (gospel)
      • White shirt:  St. Thérèse, virgin...
      • 'Doctor's office' tie:  ...and 'doctor' of the Church