October 1, 2021
by Beth Samson
Creighton University's Campus Ministry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 459

Baruch 1:15-22
Psalm 79:1b-2, 3-5, 8, 9
Luke 10:13-16

Praying Ordinary Time

The Gospel today is a part of a larger story of Jesus sending out 72 people in pairs to prepare the way for his arrival to the places he was soon to go in his ministry. As Jesus is sending them out, he emboldens them with his mission, saying that those who believe the people being sent out, believe ultimately in Jesus and God.

Today we celebrate the feast day St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, also known as St. Thérèse of Lisieux or St. Thérèse “the little flower.” We associate St. Thérèse with the spirituality of the little way – living out God’s call for us, practicing our love for God in the everyday, mundane, seemingly insignificant, parts of our lives. At the end of mass, we are told to “go in peace to love and serve the Lord”. When I think of this directive, what comes to mind immediately is loving my friends and family, using the resources of time, talent, and treasure I have to serve the needs of my community, and to advocate for justice. What St. Thérèse might invite us in response to this end of mass instruction might be more challenging.

How might I practice love when responding to an annoying email at work? Can dishwashing (my least favorite chore) be a task done in love? Can washing my face or brushing my teeth be a time to praise God?

The answer is yes, and up to me to make it so. Dishwashing is my least favorite chore, but if I use that time to offer gratitude for the food that nourished me and pray for all the people who had a hand in that food being a part of my meal then this mundane task becomes prayer and a response to God’s love. You too might be familiar with those annoying emails, but what difference would it make if I took a moment to breathe, to ask for the grace I need in the moment, and to respond to the email with more patience? I can tell you from experience it makes a noticeable difference!

Now imagine the people Jesus is sending out in the Gospel today. They are to make way for Jesus and to not only set the place but prepare the people for Jesus’ arrival. I imagine that they too considered the little ways, along with the big tasks, that they were called to do in a way of living out God’s love.

Let us pray.

Good and gracious God, today we celebrate the life and witness of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus. We ask for her intercession as we strive to love you in “the little ways.” We pray for the grace to slow down and to live into the mundane moments of our lives with gratitude. May our lives be a witness to your love and grace. Amen.

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