Daily Reflection
October 1st, 1999
Maureen McCann Waldron
The Collaborative Ministry Office
Memorial of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus

Baruch 1:15-22
Psalm 79
Luke 10:13-16 

Today's celebration of Therese of Lisieux takes a look at the life of a young woman extraordinary in her simplicity and humanness.  Her autobiography Story of a Soul takes us from her childhood as a pampered and adored young girl through her early death in 1897 at the age of 24.

There is something quite real about Theresa.  Maybe it's the photographs of her - how many saints have photos?  But there she is as a young girl dressed in velvet and lace, or again as a teen with lively eyes, hair piled on her head and wearing jewelry.

But deep beneath these trappings of everyday life was a woman who burned with love for Jesus.  She entered a convent at 15 filled with the startling desire to "be forgotten."  She prayed that she would never be a burden to her community.  "May Your will be done in me perfectly," she wrote to Jesus on the day she entered the Carmelite.  "May I never seek nor find anything but Yourself alone.  May creatures be nothing for me and may I be nothing for them, but may You, Jesus, be everything."

That kind of wisdom isn't often found in the hearts and minds of many of us but it's the kind of love Jesus calls for in today's gospel.  Sparing no words, Jesus tells his disciples that those who have heard the message of love from Jesus and have rejected it will be more harshly judged than those who have never heard it.  It is an invitation to move beyond a lukewarm and passive connection with God to a living, loving and deeply personal relationship.

Reading this gospel and looking at the life of Theresa is a challenge to me.  Theresa lived her life with a deeply passionate love for God.  Do I?  Arenít there parts of me that I hide from God, hold back in case God wonít love them?  Arenít I afraid to trust that vast embrace of endless love that God offers me so continuously?

Theresa wasnít afraid of Godís powerful love, nor was she hesitant about falling head over heels in love with God.  It was something that also captured Pedro Arrupe, S.J. the late Superior General of the Society of Jesus, who once wrote, ďNothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way....  It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.  Fall in love, stay and love and it will decide everything.Ē

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