Readings & Reflections with Cardinal Tagle’s Video: Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time C & Guardian Angels, October 2,2016
Pope Benedict XVI wrote that “faith is a liberation of my I from its preoccupation with self… a breaking out of the isolation that is the malady of my I.” In order to comply with the Apostles’ request, “Increase our faith,” the Lord begins by correcting their conception of it. Faith increases in those who are truly humble – who acknowledge that, before the Lord, they ever remain “unprofitable servants.” Faith increases when we are willing to bear our “share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God.” An increase of faith is given to those who are resolute with the conviction that the vision of faith “presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint.” Faith of this intensity, even if only as small as a mustard seed, makes miracles happen.
“Lord, fill my heart with love, gratitude and generosity. Make me a faithful and zealous servant for you. May I generously pour out my life in loving service for you and for others, just as you have so generously poured yourself out for me.” Amen.
Hab 1:2-3; 2:2-4 – The just one, because of his faith, shall live.
How long, O LORD? I cry for help
but you do not listen!
I cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not intervene.
Why do you let me see ruin;
why must I look at misery?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and clamorous discord.
Then the LORD answered me and said:
Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets,
so that one can read it readily.
For the vision still has its time,
presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;
if it delays, wait for it,
it will surely come, it will not be late.
The rash one has no integrity;
but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.
The word of the Lord.
Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
2 Tm 1:6-8, 13-14 – Do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord.
I remind you, to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the gospel
with the strength that comes from God.
Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me,
in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit
that dwells within us.
The word of the Lord.
Lk 17:5-10 – I you have faith
Bishop Robert Barron’s Homily: What is means to live by faith? click below:
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
“Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection 1 – Life by faith
Dr. Scott Hahn’s reflection click below:
We are to live by faith in Christ who loved us and gave himself on the Cross for us (see Galatians 2:20).
The world, though, can seem to us as seventh-century Judah seemed to Habakkuk—in the control of God’s enemies. The strife and discord we face in our own lives can sometimes cause us to wonder, as the prophet does, why God doesn’t seem to hear or intervene when we cry for help.
We can’t let our hearts be hardened by the trials we undergo. As today’s Psalm reminds us: Israel forgot His mighty works, lost faith in the sound words of His promise. They tested God in the desert, demanding a sign.
But God didn’t redeem Israel from Egypt only to let them die in the desert. And He didn’t ransom us from futility only to abandon us in our trials. He is our God and we are the people He shepherds always—though at times His mercy and justice seem long delayed.
If we call on the Lord, as the Apostles do in today’s Gospel, He will increase our faith, will stir to a flame the Holy Spirit who has dwelt within us since Baptism.
As Paul tells us in today’s Epistle, the Lord will always give us the love and self-control we need to bear our share of hardship for the Gospel—with a strength that can come from God alone.
Our task is to continue doing what He has commanded—to love and to build up His kingdom—trusting that His vision still presses on to its fulfillment.
For His vision still has its time. One day, though we are but “unprofitable servants,” we will be invited to eat and drink at our Master’s table. It is that day we anticipate with each celebration of the Eucharist. – Read the source: https://stpaulcenter.com/reflections/life-by-faith-scott-hahn-reflects-on-the-27th-sunday-in-ordinary-time
Reflection 2 – To serve God as just servant
Objectivity is one approach I have always supported. Whether it is one’s personal affairs, family, corporate or given any relationship situation, objectivity is one item I believe we should all have. To be objective one has to be able to detach oneself and be able to keep a certain distance from a situation. One must not be influenced by it. Neither should one allow emotions to come into play and influence any decision. Otherwise, the final outcome and result of what is being resolved is a biased decision for or against an issue.
However in doing God’s work for Him, I often ask if objectivity would apply. Being objective is to be able to bring the best of a situation and get optimum results from the right mix of what is necessary to make something happen. In economics, they call it optimum efficiency. It is good but is not necessarily the highest return to any effort.
In our work for the Lord, if we are able to do only what is expected of us out of objectivity, then we can say that it has failed as God can tell us, “We are useless servants. We have done no more than our duty.” To serve God is to be able to go pass our comfort zones and be able to do it until it hurts. In our work for God, we should give Him what is best, the highest return and what will give most glory to His Name.
Although objectivity implies keeping distance from the issue on hand, being objective in our relationship with God is quite the opposite. Our objectivity should not keep us away from the Lord but draw us closer to Him. Objectivity should not prevent us from perpetually being with Him, knowing Him, loving Him and serving Him. Our straight forwardness and our objectivity in being with our Lord should make us trust Him and abide in Him.
Being objective in our relationship with the Lord means being with the Lord to the fullest, serving Him, loving Him and trusting Him for all our cares and concerns. It means being greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of Himself.
We should be found worthy of God. Abide and trust in Him. Serve Him to the fullest in one special endeavor for the Lord.
Heavenly Father, I know that I have been deficient in my service for You. Give me the strength and the humility to serve beyond what You have called to do. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.
Reflection 3 – Useless Servants
There was a great tightrope walker who dared to cross the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. This was before the 9-11 terrorist attack. Braving the strong winds and the dizzying height, the man, holding on to his balancing pole, successfully crossed from one tower to the other. On his way down the building, a TV news reporter interviewed him, “Sir, that was truly incredible! Are you going to do it again?” The man said, “Yes. And I will do something more next time.” “And what will you do?” the newsman was curious. The tightrope walker said, “I will cross the towers blindfolded. Do you believe I can do this?” The reporter answered, “Yes, I believe. I saw you do it just now. I know and believe that you can do it.” “Really?” said the man. “That would be great because I want to have the whole thing seen on TV! Bring your camera and I will have you on my back as I walk on the rope.” The reporter fainted!
In the Gospel, the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, increase our faith.” It was a humble admission on their part that their faith was weak. However, instead of answering their request, Jesus told them the parable of the unprofitable servant. In the end, after fulfilling his duties, a true servant does not expect any reward or praise from the Master. He would be pleased to say, “I am a mere servant. I only did what I was obliged to do.”
Jesus is giving us two lessons. First, mature faith is expressed in our willingness to always put God’s will as the first priority in our lives. Our true happiness consists not in any expected reward, but in simply knowing that we have accomplished our duties in fulfillment of God’s will. Hence, we readily forget ourselves and work tirelessly for God, knowing that He will come to our aid at the best opportune time. The youthful St. Dominic Savio said, “Nothing seems tiresome or painful when you are working for a Master who pays well; who rewards even a cup of cold water given for love of Him.” The Scriptures says, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be given you besides.”
Second, faith grows and increases in the hearts of humble people who live like little children. Humility and faith go together. After all, faith is the humble acceptance of the fact that we are nothing, and it is God alone who supplies us with everything. And so we turn to Him, knowing that He will not abandon or ignore us. This is very clear in the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary: “I am the maidservant of the Lord. Be it done unto me as you say.” The source of Mary’s greatness was in being an obedient and humble servant of the Lord all the days of her life. Humility is the fertile soil of the seed of faith.
God is our Master. We are His useless servants. We are “useless” or “unprofitable” because God does not need anything from us or from anyone else. He is absolutely complete and perfect. Yet because of His love for us, He allows us to serve Him, to be part of His saving mission. It is never our right to serve Him; it is only a privilege given to us. Hence, the mere opportunity to serve Him is already enough reward for us. And we do so in grateful recognition of His countless blessings and limitless mercy and love for us. St. Isaac Jogues puts it beautifully: “My confidence is placed in God who does not need our help for accomplishing his designs. Our single endeavor should be to give ourselves to the work and to be faithful to him, and not to spoil his work by our shortcomings.”
We always pray. But what do we ask from God? How many times have we prayed for an increase of faith? We may not realize this, but the lack of faith in God is one of the main reasons for the troubles in the world. People depend greatly on money and human power. But they are painfully aware of how fleeting and ephemeral these are. So they are in constant insecurity and fear. Fear of losing these things impels them to turn to other ways, mostly crooked and immoral ways. And that’s when troubles come. But the man of faith has no insecurities and fears whatsoever, for his life is rooted, not in those passing things, but in the Eternal God.
Lack of faith is also the source of man’s unhappiness. Many people worship and serve God. But at the back of their minds they think they are entitled to receive some reward, and they expect God to serve them in return. Failing to get what they expect, they are disappointed and frustrated, and they begin to search for another God. So we witness nowadays the proliferation of false religions, all zealously proclaiming the Prosperity Gospel. This is precisely the warning of St. Paul to the Philippians: “Many go about in the way that shows them to be enemies of the cross of Christ. Such as these will end in disaster. Their god is their belly and their glory is in their shame” (Phil. 3:18-19).
On one occasion, Jesus asked this question, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Lk 18:8).As we witness the massive exodus of people turning away from the true faith, let us examine ourselves: how strong is our faith? If we are still looking for miracles, if we are expecting for some reward, and if we are afraid of losing worldly conveniences, these are clear indications that our faith is still weak. The Gospel this Sunday shows us that mature faith mainly consists in our willingness to serve God unconditionally, without counting the cost. The St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “We are at Jesus’ disposal. If He wants you to be sick in bed, if He wants you to proclaim His work in the street, if He wants you to clean the toilets all day, that’s all right, everything is all right. We must say, ‘I belong to you. You can do whatever you like.’ And this is our strength, and this is the joy of the Lord.”
In the midst of life’s uncertainties and troubles, let us hold on to Jesus who assures us, “Do not be afraid. I am with you always until the end of time.” In the end, let the words of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, the patron saint of the youth, be our firm resolve and conviction: “It is better to be the child of God than king of the whole world.” – (Source: Fr. Mike Lagrimas, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Palmera Springs 3, Susano Road, Camarin, Novaliches, Caloocan City 1422).
Reflection 4 – Increase our faith
What is the greatest force in the world? Jesus tells us that with faith we can do far more than we could accomplish by our own strength; faith can even move mountains and trees (Mt 17:20; Mk 11:23). Here’s a story of Paganini, the great violinist. He came out before his audience one day and made a discovery just as the applause ended that there was something wrong with his violin. He looked at it a second and then saw that it was not his famous and valuable one. He felt paralyzed for a moment, then turned to his audience and told them there had been some mistake and he did not have his own violin. He stepped back behind the curtain thinking that it was still where he had left it, but discovered that someone had stolen his violin and left that old second hand one in its place. His companion said, “You cannot do it anymore Sir.” He just keep silent and remained back of the curtain a moment, then came out before his audience and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I will show you that the music is not in the instrument but in the soul.” And he played as he had never played before and out of that second hand instrument, the music poured forth until his audience was enraptured with enthusiasm and the applause almost lifted the roof off the building, because the man had revealed to them that the music was not in the machine but in his own soul. Is your faith deep in your heart and not only something external? The lesson we can get from this story is: “Never listen to other people’s tendencies to be negative or pessimistic because they take your most wonderful dreams and wishes away from you – the ones you have in your heart. Always think of the power which words have because everything you hear and read will affect your actions. Therefore, always be positive and always think, ‘I can do this.’” If we approach a thing saying it can’t be done, it won’t be. If we approach it saying it must be done, the chances are it will. That’s the power of faith. These are just human accomplishments. And with God’s involvement everything is possible.
Faith is a gift. The apostles feared that their faith was not strong enough and asked Jesus: “Lord, increase our faith” (Lk 17:5). For the faith to be effective it must be linked with trust and obedience – an active submission to God and a willingness to do whatever he commands by regarding ourselves as God’s servant, just as Jesus came “not to be served, but to serve” (Mt 20:28).
St. Paul assured Timothy, “The spirit God has given us is no cowardly spirit, but rather one that makes us strong, loving and wise.” (2 Tim 1:7). That spirit we received at our baptism. It should move us to pray to God with respect but also with tenacity. A prayer that is strong, loving, and wise acknowledges that God the Creator is the right person to complain to because God is the one who is in charge. Do I trust in God to give me what I ask for in prayer?
Reflection 5 – We are just servants
Who can satisfy the claims of love? Jesus used this parable of the dutiful servant to explain that we can never put God in our debt or make the claim that God owes us something. We must regard ourselves as God’s servants, just as Jesus came “not to be served, but to serve” (Mt. 20:28). Service of God and of neighbor is both a voluntary and a sacred duty. God expects us to give him the worship and praise which is his due. And he gladly accepts the free-will offering of our lives to him and to his service. What makes our offering pleasing to God is the love we express in the gift of self-giving. True love is sacrificial, generous, and selfless.
How can we love others selflessly and unconditionally? God himself is love (1 Jn. 4:16) and he fills our hearts with the boundless love that gives whatever is good for the sake of another (Rom. 5:5). If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected (1 Jn. 4:12). God honors the faithful servant who loves and serves others generously. He is ever ready to work through and in us for his glory. We must remember that God can never be indebted to us. We have no claim on him. His love compels us to give him our best! And when we have done our best, we have simply done our duty. We can never outmatch God in showing love. God loves without measure. Does the love of God compel you to give your best?
Let’s examine ourselves and pray, “Lord, fill my heart with love, gratitude and generosity. Make me a faithful and zealous servant for you. May, I generously pour out my life in loving service for you and for others, just as you have so generously poured yourself out in love for me.”
Reflection 6 – Lord, increase our faith!
How strong is your faith in God and how can you grow in it? Faith is not something vague, uncertain, undefineable, or something which requires a leap of the imagination or worse, some kind of blind allegiance. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Faith is a response of trust and belief in what is reliable, truthful, certain, and real. To have faith is to believe and trust in someone or something. We believe in the power of electricity even though we can’t visibly see it with the naked eye. We know we can tap into that power and use it to do things we could not do by our own human power. Faith in God works in a similar way.
When God reveals himself to us he gives us the “assurance” and “conviction” that his power and presence and glory is just as real, and even more real, than our experience of the natural physical world around us (Letter to the Hebrews 11:1-3). Things around us change, but God never changes. He is constant, ever true to his word, and always faithful to his promises (Psalm 145:13, Hebrews 10:23). That is why we can have the greatest assurance of his unconditional love for us and why we can hope with utter conviction that he will give us everything he has promised. Jesus is God’s visible proof that his word is reliable and true – his love is unfailing and unconditional – and his power is immeasurably great and unlimited.
The Holy Spirit helps us to grow in expectant faith
What did Jesus mean when he said to his disciples that our faith can move trees and mountains as well (see Matthew17:20; Mark 11:23)? The term “mountain remover” was used for someone who could solve great problems and difficulties. Don’t we often encounter challenges and difficulties which seem beyond our power to handle? What appears impossible to human power is possible to those who believe in God’s power. Faith is a gift freely given by God to help us know God personally, to understand his truth, and to live in the power of his love. God expects more from us than we can simply do by ourselves. That is why Jesus gives us the gift and power of the Holy Spirit who helps us to grow strong in faith, persevere in hope, and endure in love.
Faith in God is the key for removing obstacles and difficulties which keep us from doing his will. We belong to God and our lives are no longer our own. Our joy and privilege is to follow the Lord Jesus and to serve in the power of his love and goodness. The Lord Jesus is ever ready to work in and through us by his Spirit for his glory. For our faith to be effective it must be linked with trust and with obedience – an active submission to God and a willingness to do whatever he commands. Do you trust in the grace and strength which God freely gives to help us resist temptation and to overcome obstacles in doing his will?
Parable of the faithful servant who is indebted to God
Are you ready to give the Lord your best, regardless of what it might cost you? Perhaps we are like the laborer in Jesus’ parable who expected special favor and reward for going the extra mile (Luke 17:5-10)? How unfair for the master to compel his servant to give more than what was expected! Don’t we love to assert our rights: “I will give only what is required and no more!” But who can satisfy the claims of love and loyalty? Our lives are not our own – they belong to God who has ransomed us from slavery to sin with the precious blood of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18).
Jesus used this parable of the dutiful servant to explain that we can never put God in our debt or make the claim that God owes us something. We must regard ourselves as God’s servants, just as Jesus came “not to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). Service of God and of our neighbor is both a voluntary or free act and a sacred duty. One can volunteer for service or be compelled to do service for one’s country or for one’s family when the call and need arises. Likewise, God expects us to serve him willingly and give him the worship, praise, and honor which is his due. And he gladly accepts the free-will offering of our lives to him as our Lord and Master. What makes our offering pleasing to God is the love we express in the act of self-giving. True love is always sacrificial, generous, and selfless – it is wholly directed to the one we love and serve.
The love of God compels us to give our best
How can we love God and others selflessly and unconditionally? Scripture tells us that God himself is love (1 John 4:16) – he is the author of life and the source of all true relationships of love and friendship. He created us in love for love, and he fills our hearts with the boundless love that gives all that is good for the sake of the beloved (Romans 5:5). If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us (1 John 4:12).
God honors the faithful servant who loves and serves with a generous heart. He is ever ready to work in and through each one of us by his Spirit for his glory. We must remember, however, that God can never be indebted to us. We have no claim on him. His love compels us to give him our best! And when we have done our best, we have simply done our duty. We can never outmatch God in his immeasurable merciful love, his extravagant kindness and goodness, and his ever constant and unceasing care for us. The Scriptures remind us over and over again that God’s love is steadfast, loyal, and lasts forever – it will never cease (Psalm 89, Psalm 100, Psalm 118, Psalm 136). Saint Augustine of Hippo writes, “God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love.” Does the love of God compel you to give your best to him with generous love and gratitude for all that he has done for you?
“Lord Jesus, fill me with your consuming love and set my heart free to love generously and to serve selflessly. Fill me with gratitude for all you have done for me, and increase my faith and loyalty to you who are My All, My Strength, and My Life” – Read the source: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct2.htm
Reflection 7 – Filial Boldness and the Power to Defeat Evil
There is an undeniable poignancy to Habakkuk’s words today. He is not the only person to see horror and devastation come upon God’s people. Natural disasters affect millions in our world, and our lives as Americans have been forever changed by assaults – or would-be assuaults – on our fellow-citizens, our country’s landmarks, and even on our regular modes of travel.
Evil establishes a sad equality among its victims. Whether we gaze helplessly at the physical evil that destroys cities, or shudder before the moral evil that inspires someone to declare war on his fellow creatures, we do not need much to ask why God allows us to see ruin, why he makes us look upon misery. God’s answer to Habakkuk is also his answer to us, forming one of the most thrilling images in the Old Testament. The vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.
Anyone who listens to today’s first reading will realize at once that what God says to Habakkuk doesn’t really answer what Habakkuk asks of God. But, to forestall any further questions, God slays”the rash one has no integrity, but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.” Which tells us there’s really nothing more to be said, and suggests, in a curious way, that everything that has gone before – and specifically, asking why God allows bad things to befall his good creation – is itself a sign of faith.
This may be a very small sign, indeed, but Jesus says in the Gospel today that even a little faith would enable us to rearrange the landscape. That, however, would be a cheap use of a valuable gift – the sort of thing Jesus himself never does – so we might more profitably turn the question inward, and ask instead whether we have enough faith to inspire patience in times of anxiety and doubt.
If we have difficulty answering this question positively, we may be consoled to remember that Jesus’ teaching in the Gospel today is a response to the disciples’ request that he increase their faith, a petition Jesus and his Church take very seriously.
We find an answer to this petition in the sacraments, especially the so-called “sacraments of initiation”: baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist. Baptism unites us to Christ’s death and Resurrection. The Eucharist opens a window onto eternity, allowing us to witness these saving actions whenever we approach the altar to “take and eat” Christ’s own sacred Body and Blood. The sacrament of confirmation brings these gifts to their completion, leading us, our Catechism teaches, “…toward a more intimate union with Christ and a more lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit” (CCC:1309).
Today’s Gospel tells us how difficult faith is, even for those closest to Jesus. Our growth in and through the sacraments increases our faith, and the sacrament of confirmation, often called the “sacrament of Christian maturity,” equips us, regardless of our age, to embrace and surrender to God’s will, even when God’s purpose is hard to identify.
The image Jesus uses to illustrate this challenge is the relation between a master and a servant. And here, we must remember, Jesus does not mean paid domestic help; he refers to a slave, someone who can never put his master in his debt. God’s love for us is so immense that no matter what we do, we will have done no more that our duty.
If our service were only a matter governed by the laws of ownership, there would be more than a hint of surliness in the words, “we have done no more that our duty.” But Jesus is talking about a response in love, and anyone who has ever loved knows we can never love enough. However, as we strive toward this goal, our faith tells us the sacrament of confirmation increases and deepens the love awakened in us at baptism.
Furthermore, it amplifies our identity as God’s children. Finally, it makes us apostles. Our catechism expresses this anointing and vocation both beautifully and succinctly: “(Confirmation) gives us a special strength … to spread and defend the faith … to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the cross” (CCC: 1303).
Our faith assures us that “we can discover that God in his almighty providence can bring good from the consequences of an evil” (CCC:312). After all, he brought our redemption out of the greatest possible evil, the death of his curcified Son. We will never fully grasp the mystery of God’s will, but the sacraments – perhaps particularly the sacrament of confirmation – strengthen us to surrender to it, and to preach it, sincerely and in love. (Source: Fr. Reginald Martin, OP, “Homilies for Sunday Liturgies and Feasts,” Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Vol. CX, No. 10. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, August/September 2010, pp. 40-42; Suggested Reading: Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 1293-1305).
Reflection 8 – Why does the evil one prosper?
During the next five Sundays, our Gospel reading (Luke 17-19) will invite us to accompany Jesus on his journey towards Jerusalem. En route, we will witness how the fulfillment of our salvation, Jesus Christ, brings all peoples back to God through sacrificial service and love. We will be summoned to strengthen our faith and “to do likewise.”
The book of the prophet Habakkuk—whose name literally means “to embrace” or “to wrestle”—invites us to grapple with the question, why does the evil one prosper? God’s response is two-sided: on the one hand, the evil one will not prosper at the end of the day; on the other hand, “the just one, because of his faith, shall live.”
Continuing with this Sunday’s call to strengthen our faith, the responsorial psalm invites us to soften our hearts, to hear God’s voice, and to rejoice in the fact that we are God’s chosen ones.
The Second letter to Timothy is Paul’s last will and testimony. In it, he exhorts his friend and disciple, Timothy—and with him all of us as well—to be steadfast in the faith, especially in the midst of suffering and persecution.
The remote context of today’s Gospel reading is Jesus’ stern warning against causing others to sin, and his demand that we forgive those who have sinned against us, every time they ask for our forgiveness (Luke 17:1-4). Sobered by Jesus’ stern warning and his high demands, the apostles cried out: “Lord, increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5). In response, Jesus described how great faith is supposed to look like. The disciples came to have great faith after the Resurrection. Do we, post-Resurrection disciples, exhibit such faith?
Not long ago, I was directing a confirmation retreat. At a certain point during the retreat, I asked the young men and women gathered there to share with the group which was their favorite part of the Mass. Without missing a bit, a young woman, I will call “Mary,” said: the profession of faith! When prompted to explain, Mary told us that when she was a little girl, her family had had to deal with an event that had changed their lives completely. Years after the event, Mary’s mother told her that their daily recitation of the Creed was a reminder of God’s everlasting presence and steadfast love, as well as the serious implications of believing in God.
All of us join our voices in the recitation of the Creed every Sunday. During the profession of faith, we remind each other of our faith in one God, Father, Son, and Spirit—a God who has given us the gift of faith. We acknowledge that we have received a supernatural gift that moves our hearts, opens the eyes of our minds, and empowers us to do what ourselves, and others, deem impossible. And what seems more impossible than to forgive those who have hurt us—especially if they have done it not only once, but twice, thrice, or even more times?
You see, when Mary was a baby, her family lost everything they had. This happened because Mary’s older brother, John, was kidnapped. The leader of the gang that kidnapped John demanded big sums of money in return for John’s life. After Mary’s family had given the man everything they had, all they received in return was John’s lifeless body in a bag. A couple of years later, the same man showed up at their home, unannounced, and asked them to forgive him for what he had done. “I am dying of an aggressive illness,” he told them, “and I would like to be reconciled before I go.”
Mary’s father wanted nothing to do with the man. Mary’s second-oldest brother refused to even acknowledge the man’s request for forgiveness. Mary’s sister spoke of her intense desire for the man to die of a horrific death so that he would pay for what he had done. This kind of talk went on and on for days. Mary’s mother, however, kept silent, listening attentively as her family uttered hateful-thing after hateful-thing against the man who had been responsible for the untimely death of her oldest son.
One night, while the family discussed the man’s request for what felt like the thousandth time, Mary’s mother got up from the table and went into her bedroom. After a while, she came back into the dinning room, sat down, and with a broken yet firm voice, started reciting:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints…
At this point, Mary’s mother made a long pause. Almost in a whisper, she continued:
the forgiveness of sins (… And then she repeated in a louder voice ) I believe in the forgiveness of sins. (And a third time, she shouted:) I believe in the forgiveness of sins! (After a long silence, Mary’s mother said:) Forgive if you want to be reunited with our beloved John. Forgive if you want to take part in the resurrection of the body. Forgive if you want to enjoy life everlasting.
For further reading, see Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Profession of Faith, nos. 142-165. – Read the source: http://www.hprweb.com/2016/09/homilies-for-october-2016/
Reflection 9 – Nothing But Grace
We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do. –Luke 17:10
In 1914, before the use of insulin injections, Corrie ten Boom’s Aunt Jans was diagnosed with diabetes. She knew that she did not have long to live. Yet, within a few days after learning this, she went right back to working in God-honoring causes. Several months later, a blood test indicated that the end was near.
The family was gathered in Aunt Jans’ room when Corrie’s father gently broke the news to her. Then he added, “Jans, some must go to their Father empty-handed, but you will run to Him with hands full.”
Jans’ response touched them all. She said that her good deeds were as “little tricks and trinkets.” Then she prayed, “Dear Jesus, I thank You that we must come with empty hands. I thank You that You have done all—all—on the cross, and that all we need in life or death is to be sure of this.”
Jesus reminded us that even after we’ve served Him faithfully we have merely done our duty (Luke 17:10). Yet, on another occasion He indicated that one day He would honor us for our faithfulness (12:37). How can this be? Because all that we have, even the ability to serve the Lord, comes to us as a gracious gift from Him.
Remember, from beginning to end, all is of grace. —HVL — Herbert Vander Lugt
God’s grace sustains the gift of life,
Its labor and reward;
What we possess is not our own—
It all comes from the Lord. —D. De Haan
God owes us nothing but gives us everything (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).
Reflection 10 – An Attitude Problem
We have done what was our duty to do. –Luke 17:10
Jesus told about a servant who, after working in the field all day, was not allowed to eat until he had prepared a meal for his master. He had to stand by until the man had finished eating. Jesus added that the master did not owe his servant even a thank you! (Luke 17:9-10). How could Jesus, who lived among us as “the One who serves” (22:27), seem so heartless?
The context provides the answer to this question. Jesus had just told His disciples that they were to be so mindful of others that they would never cause anyone to sin (vv.1-2). They were also to correct wrongdoers and never stop forgiving those who repent (vv.3-4).
The apostles, realizing that they could never live up to these expectations in their own strength, said, “Increase our faith” (v.5). Jesus promised that if they had a small grain of faith they would be able to remove whatever stood in the way of their obedience to these commands (v.6). He then told a parable to show them the need to fulfill these obligations cheerfully out of love rather than grudgingly or with an eye on being rewarded (vv.7-10).
We are to humbly depend on the Lord and obey Him because our hearts are full of love and gratitude. Anything less is unworthy of even a thank you. — Herbert Vander Lugt
My life, my love I give to Thee,
Thou Lamb of God who died for me;
O may I ever faithful be,
My Savior and my God! —Hudson
Real love expects nothing in return (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).
Reflection 11 – Crisis Of Faith
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” –Luke 17:5
Millions of people are afraid to travel by air. Many of them know very well what the statistics say—that they are safer in an airplane than in the family car, or even in the bathtub. But that doesn’t matter. Researchers say that a conscious fear of crashing is usually not the problem. The real root of their anxiety is the fear that they will lose control of their lives once they leave the ground.
A similar crisis of faith may occur when a person puts himself in the care of God. He too is carried a long way from what the world considers “solid ground.” Trusting an invisible Lord can be frightening, especially for a new Christian.
Jesus’ disciples experienced such a crisis of faith when He told them that they would have to rise to levels of forgiveness and mercy previously unknown to them (Luke 17:3-5). Yet He responded to their lack of faith by pointing out that it takes only a small amount of obedient trust in Him to put the power of heaven at their disposal (v.6).
That’s the key to our journey through life. When we learn what Christ wants from us, we must take the first step of obedience. He will then give us the strength to do what He wants us to do. Lord, increase our faith. —MRD II — Mart De Haan
If you would know the power of God,
Just take Him at His Word;
Be not dismayed if faith is small,
But trust “Thus saith the Lord.” —D. De Haan
A little faith can dispel big fears (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).
Reflection 12 – Feast of the Guardian Angels
Perhaps no aspect of Catholic piety is as comforting to parents as the belief that an angel protects their little ones from dangers real and imagined. Yet guardian angels are not only for children. Their role is to represent individuals before God, to watch over them always, to aid their prayer and to present their souls to God at death.
The concept of an angel assigned to guide and nurture each human being is a development of Catholic doctrine and piety based on Scripture but not directly drawn from it. Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:10 best support the belief: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”
Devotion to the angels began to develop with the birth of the monastic tradition. St. Benedict gave it impetus and Bernard of Clairvaux, the great 12th-century reformer, was such an eloquent spokesman for the guardian angels that angelic devotion assumed its current form in his day.
A feast in honor of the guardian angels was first observed in the 16th century. In 1615, Pope Paul V added it to the Roman calendar.
Devotion to the angels is, at base, an expression of faith in God’s enduring love and providential care extended to each person day in and day out until life’s end.
“May the angels lead you into paradise;
may the martyrs come to welcome you
and take you to the holy city,
the new and eternal Jerusalem.” (Rite for Christian Burial)
Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1156
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The Angels are purely spiritual creatures, incorporeal, invisible, immortal, and personal beings endowed with intelligence and will. They ceaselessly contemplate God face-to-face and they glorify him. They serve him and are his messengers in the accomplishment of his saving mission to all (CCC:328-333;350-351). The Church joins with the angels in adoring God, invokes their assistance and commemorates some in her liturgy. “Beside each believer stands an angel as a protector and shepherd leading him to life” (St. Basil the Great; CCC: 334-336; 352).
Sacred Scripture says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The Church in her profession of faith proclaims that God is the Creator of everything, visible and invisible, of all spiritual and corporeal beings, that is, of angels and of the visible world and, in a special way, of man (CCC: 325-327).
The Guardian Angels is a non-profit international volunteer organization of unarmed crime-prevention patrollers. The Guardian Angels organization was founded February 13, 1979, in New York City by Curtis Sliwa and has more than 130 chapters around the world.
Sliwa originally created the organization to combat widespread violence and crime on the New York City Subway system. The organization originally trained members to make citizen’s arrests for violent crimes. The organization patrols the streets and neighborhoods but also provides education programs and workshops for schools and businesses.
- 2Rules and activities
- 5Outside the United States
- 6In popular culture
- 7See also
- 9External links
In the beginning, New York City Mayor Ed Koch publicly opposed the group. Many government officials also opposed the group whenever they attempted to open a chapter in their cities, including Toronto Mayor David Miller and Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair. Over the years, the controversy has died down in many cities; and as citizen involvement and outreach has increased, there has been less public opposition to the group by administration officials. Ed Koch later reversed his stance on the organization, and former New York City Mayors Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg have publicly supported the group.
In 1992, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa issued a public apology for staging several subway rescues in the 1980s in order to get publicity for the group. Since the statute of limitations on filing false police reports had expired, no charges were brought against him or the organization. Sliwa also admitted that the New York City Chapter primarily patrolled the Restaurant Row section of midtown Manhattan, except for occasional well-publicized patrols in other neighborhoods and subway patrols to recruit new members.
Rules and activities
The original and main Guardian Angels activity is “Safety Patrol” in which members walk the streets or ride transit. Guardian Angels must be in uniform to represent the organization. They can be identified by their red berets and red jackets or white T-shirts with the red Guardian Angels logo of an eye inside a pyramid on a winged shield.
Chapters operate similar to franchise networks supporting one another regionally under standard rules, regulations, and training. The Guardian Angels states that it is an equal opportunity organization that encourages diversity.
The organization accepts volunteers who do not have a recent or serious criminal record and are not members of a gang or racial-hate group. In order to join the Safety Patrol program, members must be at least 16 years old; youth programs for younger applicants are offered. Safety Patrol members are prohibited from carrying weapons and are physically searched before patrolling. They are trained in first aid and CPR, law, conflict resolution, communication, and basic martial arts. Members are paired up and follow the directions of a Patrol Leader. If their own or other citizens’ lives or health are endangered, they are allowed to do whatever is lawful and necessary.
The Guardian Angels have also begun to include youth programs, teacher programs, disaster response, an Internet safety program called the CyberAngels, and self-defense courses, as well as community outreach addressing issues beyond crime.
CyberAngels was founded in 1995 by Gabriel Hatcher as an online “neighborhood watch.” Originally the group monitored chat rooms directly with the intent of apprehending sexual predators. Later the group took what it had learned and changed its focus to educating police, schools, and families about on-line abuse and cyber crime. In 1998, CyberAngels received a Presidential Service Award. MacSupport.com founder Tony Ricciardi was an early member of the group.
In 2009, at the Angels’ 30th-anniversary celebration held in New York City, and then again in 2010 at the World Conference held in San Francisco, founder Curtis Sliwa announced the plan to develop Internet-based training for the organization.
The plan as announced was first to solidify the standards for the organization so that members from around the world could easily interact and patrol effectively together without much re-training. The other goal for the training included an effort towards reducing the liability potential for members and for the organization during their physical interventions of crime deterrence.
In 1992, a New York Times article discussed the lack of training faced by recruits and members of the organization.
At the 2011 International Conference held in Chicago Illinois USA, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa signed into effect the Official Guardian Angels’ primary defensive tactics system. The program was also endorsed by National Director Miguel “3rdRail” Fuentes and International Director, Keiji “Duke” Oda. The Defensive Tactics program is a modular program which was designed to instruct safety patrol members in a variety of domains including self-defense techniques, ground survival, weapons survival, and arrest and control tactics. The program was designed by Defensive Tactics Instructor and Chicago safety patrol member Fernan Vargas with input from Miguel Fuentes. The program, designed by a certified law enforcement defensive tactics instructor, offers appropriate use of force training to safety-patrol members based on a law enforcement model. Safety-patrol members are taught how to properly place their defensive tactics onto the use of force continuum to ensure appropriate action and minimize liability. A website was launched to support the program. Travel to spread the training organization wide is one of the goals of the founder. Modules of the Guardian Angels Defensive Tactics Program have been taught to chapter members from Illinois, Indiana, Washington DC, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Washington, Virginia, and other states.
Outside of New York City, the Guardian Angels first established chapters in Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Denver, London, Toronto, Dallas, Tokyo, Houston, Cape Town,Auckland, Savannah, Las Vegas, Reno, Seattle, and York. Subsequently, the organization established chapters in smaller cities, such as the cities of Springfield and Brockton, Massachusetts; Sacramento and Stockton, California; and Portland, Maine. In May 2011, a chapter was organized in Indianapolis. The Los Angeles, York, and Sacramento Chapters worked with official law enforcement officers and agencies.
Los Angeles Chapter
The organization’s first West Coast chapter was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, California. It grew quickly, reaching its peak in membership in the mid-1980s with six sub-chapters and over 250 members. However, membership dropped in the 1990s and by 2000 there was only one Venice Beach sub-chapter remaining in the city.
There were a few attempts to restart the Los Angeles Chapter in 2003 and 2004 with eventual success in 2006. Alex Makarczyk, who previously served in the Los Angeles Chapter in the mid-1980s, worked to restore the chapter after James Richards, a fellow Guardian Angel was shot to death outside his home on October 18, 2000. He was not on patrol when he was gunned down in the early morning hours, but he was assisting local law enforcement with information about drug-related crime in his neighborhood.
The Sacramento chapter of the Guardian Angels was the third chapter formed in California, following the Los Angeles and San Francisco chapters. At its height, the Chapter consisted of over 50 people ranging in age from 16 to 50 years old. There, the police worked closely with the local chapter and supplied a phone number and a liaison officer for them to use within their People Oriented Police (P.O.P.) division. The chapter headquarters was a rent-free half of a commercial medical duplex for several years. The Sacramento Chapter also featured a bike patrol to help provide additional eyes and ears along the American River Parkway. Using CB radios, patrols could call back to the headquarters and have the freedom not to depend upon public pay telephones to call the Sacramento Police.
Patrols ranged from 20 to as few as two Angels, though a minimum of three people was the standard. Members were assigned positions and specific locations in a patrol: the Patrol Leader was at the front; Communications was beside or behind; and Runners came next and would usually be the majority of the patrol, along with the second, who was in charge of keeping the patrol organized at the rear. Angels unable to go on patrols typically monitored the CB radio at the headquarters. Thus, a chapter could enlist volunteers who were legally considered handicapped. When a situation required immediate physical action on a patrol, the Patrol Leader would send the Runners under the direction of the second and either send the Communications person (with another Angel) to find a phone and call police, or to radio the situation to Chapter Headquarters to call a P.O.P. officer. When on bicycles, the second and a Runner would leave bikes with the Patrol Leader. Long-distance communications between the parts of a patrol were achieved by specific patterns of blown whistles, which every member was required to have along with a working pen, pad of paper, and flashlight.
The Sacramento chapter went freely throughout the entire city and surrounding areas, ranging from North Highlands to the then (1980s) gang-infested Oak Park neighborhood, then further south into the Meadowview and Pocket Areas. Walking sometimes 10 miles during the course of a four-hour patrol, Angels even crossed the Sacramento River into neighboring Yolo County to patrol what were then the communities of Bend and Brite, now incorporated into West Sacramento. The Oak Park patrols went through what was Crips territory, a gang originating in Los Angeles. The Crips were identified by blue rags hanging from their pockets; their rival gang, theBloods, did the same thing but used red rags. Since the uniform of the Guardian Angels is a red and white T-shirt, the Crips at the time considered them enemies while the Bloods saw them as weak fakes of their own gang.
On occasion, the Sacramento Chapter patrols used cars to reach areas that were too far to walk, and several times the Sacramento Chapter was called into service in other cities, helping launch the chapter in Stockton CA. Both helped with special events in San Francisco, such as the Halloween-time Erotic Exotic Ball. They traveled as far away as Los Angeles, where with the local chapter they officially assisted the police with crowd control during the Rose Bowl Parade.
The Guardian Angels were mostly greeted favorably in the city, and sought out by the media to comment on crime and local issues. Press conferences were held during the tense time before Eric Royce Leonard, dubbed the “Thrill Killer”, was arrested in 1991; and during the controversial Sacramento debut of Colors about the Bloods and Crips. Because of the stance of the Guardian Angels in response to Leonard’s murders of three Round Table Pizza employees, the Old Sacramento restaurant offered free dinner for one patrol every Saturday and Sunday night. 
The Tampa Bay region of Florida has always been an active area within the group’s history. There have been 2 chapters serving the Tampa Bay area since the group was originally founded. In 1984 the first Tampa chapter was established but lasted until 1992. A second chapter was established in 1999. The Guardian Angels have been active in Orlando, Florida due to the increase in murder and crime rates. A group in Boston was also formed in 2007; at first, Mayor Tom Menino opposed them, but when the public welcomed the group, he eventually supported it. Residents of nearby Brockton, Massachusetts launched a chapter in March 2008 in response to a rise in street violence, and they were quickly able to build a working relationship with the city’s police chief.
In 2007, they started recruiting in Kansas City, Missouri, and a chapter was started with five Guardian Angels in October 2008. In 2010, they started recruiting inPortland, Oregon. After being told by the National Training Director that they had to make 3 arrests per month, the chapter asked about this new directive and at that time was told they never even had a chapter, despite reports to the contrary; the Kansas City chapter soon disbanded and now patrol their city on their own from vehicles seeking persons of interest and criminal activity.
Outside the United States
A local organization of the Guardian Angels was formed in Japan in 1996. The Guardian Angels Japan has chapters in most of the major cities and is second only to America in membership and activities. Keiji Oda, the founder and president of the Guardian Angels Japan, joined the Boston and New York City chapters in the 1980s. The Guardian Angels concept faced opposition in Japan, but Oda succeeded in convincing Japanese officials that the organization would be run by Japanese members for the Japanese people, and the principles of the organization were not just American but universal. Official acceptance culminated with a meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in 2005. The Guardian Angels were the first community organization in Japan to ever be awarded non-profit status.
Four members of the Japanese Guardian Angels appear in an episode of Insomniac with Dave Attell filmed in Tokyo. Dave interviews them before their attention is diverted to an (apparently) drunk and disorderly individual.
A chapter of the Guardian Angels was established in the State of Israel. The Guardian Angels Israel is led by Jill Shames a social activist and martial artist who had migrated there. Guardian Angels Israel has completed a few Safety Patrols but primarily works with at risk youth in the Jewish Ethiopian (Falasha) immigrant population.
In London the Guardian Angels have been active since 1989; by 2007 their numbers had dwindled to a group of around 12. In the United Kingdom, the law requires that people use only “reasonable force” as appropriate to the situation, which leads Guardian Angel training to centre on using the minimum possible force, and to only use force to prevent a dangerous situation from escalating. All violent crimes are reported to the police, and intervention leading to citizens’ arrests (legal in Britain) or use of force is only employed in extreme cases.
Their presence in London was controversial in the first decade of existence, with press articles accusing the group of vigilantism or attempting to avoid paying for travel on the London Underground whilst wearing their colours. In 1989, discussion in Parliament raised the possibility of American members of the Guardian Angels being declared persona non grata owing to their presence being “not conducive to the public good”, but this was rejected.
The Manchester Chapter was established around 1991 and ceased operating in ’96. The Chapter was run by Ian ‘Mach One’ McMahon and then Amanda ‘Lynx’ Quinn who dealt with the actual closure of the chapter and its final patrols.
The Guardian Angels South African Chapter was started by Carl Viljoen in 2004 in Cape Town. Other chapters are in Kuilsriver, Cape Town, Western Cape andPotchefstroom, North West Province.
A Toronto, Ontario chapter was originally formed in 1982 and ran until 1984. A smaller chapter ran briefly in the Parkdale area of Toronto in 1992–1993 but disbanded. The 2005 “Boxing Day shooting” resulted in the death of teenager Jane Creba on a busy downtown street, and provoked renewed attention to law-and-order issues in Canada, and Curtis Sliwa stated that he had been contacted by many Torontonians interested in having a local chapter. On July 13, 2006, a new chapter of the Guardian Angels Canada formed in Toronto. However, both mayor David Miller and police chief Bill Blair stated they were not interested in trying what had not worked twice before. When Sliwa arrived with three other Angels, Miller declined to meet with them, stating that police work was best left to the police. Despite the opposition of the Mayor, community groups, and the police chief, the Toronto Chapter moved ahead. 2006 mayoral candidate Jane Pitfield expressed her support for the Guardian Angels as did former television anchor Peter Kent and former professional boxer (and now radio talk show host) Spider Jones. Toronto’s first group of Guardian Angels hit the streets Thursday, July 13 for their inaugural patrol in the city’s downtown core. The group’s official launch in Toronto came just two days after members were forced to move their graduation ceremony from a seniors residence on Dundas Street.
A Vancouver chapter was in operation as of November 2006. There was a chapter there in the early 1980s. Some of the alumni from that group are assisting with the new chapter.
An attempt to organize a chapter in Ottawa failed after the police and city refused to cooperate plus a negative reaction and lack of interest from the majority of its population.
In January 2006, the Guardian Angels opened its New Zealand Headquarters in Henderson, a suburb of Waitakere City west of Auckland, New Zealand’s fifth-largest and largest cities respectively (to be amalgamated with others into a “super-city” in 2010). The NZ National Director is Andy “Chieftain” Cawston.
New Zealand’s inaugural Guardian Angels Patrol was held on January 13, 2006. Since then, Guardian Angels have also been active in South Auckland; however the activities of that Chapter have been temporarily halted for logistical purposes.
Members of the Wellington Chapter held their inaugural training and orientation Patrol on October 6, 2006 in the Auckland CBD.
Within New Zealand, The International Alliance of Guardian Angels is recognized and registered as a Charitable Trust for tax purposes. Their headquarters is the Henderson Returned Services Association Inc. offices on Railside Avenue, Henderson, NZ.
Cybertanod, Role Model Cop, and the Barangay PeaceKeeping Action Team (BPAT) program of The Philippine National Police are some of the contributions of The Guardian Angels Philippines Chapter in Police organization. Joint police programs of the Guardian Angels resulted in national awards for officers and local police stations where the Guardian Angels works. The chapter covered Southern Mindanao and recently expanded into Northern Luzon. Today, the Philippines Chapter aims to spread the program in the South East Asia region and is currently developing an independent Citizen Police Organization concept for the region. The local chapter presently gathers support to host the 1st Joint Police and Guardian Angels Annual International Citizen Safety Patrol as its beyond border initiatives on Guardian Angels violence prevention — Global Public Safety awareness campaign. The effort in South East Asia is under the watch of Mike Zarate as National Director for Philippines.
A Guardian Angels chapter actively patrolled in Sydney in the early nineties, but disbanded after a short time.
A chapter was formed in Canberra, the capital city of Australia, in 2008, but has yet to begin patrolling. Some school and internet-safety programs have been conducted.
Seven chapters are currently present in Italy, from east to west and north to south: Milan, Brescia, Padova, Bologna, Sassari, Olbia and Cagliari. Operations will be starting soon in Udine and Avezzano. The Italian Guardian Angels share the common trait of the organization in serving their communities, but a great deal of their work is focussed on helping the homeless and elders in need, in providing first aid to people in distress. Future developments involve youth programs. ………………………
In popular culture
“Footsteps”, a short comics story written by British writer Alan Moore and drawn by Joe Orlando for Secret Origins #10, uses a schism in the Guardian Angels (identified in the story as “Subway Angels”) as a modern-day metaphor for the War in Heaven. One of the story’s protagonists is a young Angel reluctant to side with either the Angels’ leadership or the subway “survivalists” looking to subvert the leadership, and is as a result spurned and beaten by both groups. He is subsequently comforted by the Phantom Stranger, whom Moore identifies as a literal angel that neglected to take sides during the “real” War in Heaven.
In season 3 of 21 Jump Street, a group of young vigilantes called the “Street Rangers”, try to clean the streets of crime in a tough neighborhood. In that episode, their goal is to bring down an untouchable drug dealer, without knowing about the young undercover cops trying to convict him first. The logo on the uniforms that the Rangers wear is inspired by the Guardian Angels’ – instead of wearing red, they wear black.
Professional wrestler Ray Traylor wrestled under the moniker “The Guardian Angel” in WCW from 1993 to 1995 after his character “The Boss” was deemed too similar to his WWF character “The Big Bossman”, whom Traylor also portrayed. Traylor wore the trademark red jacket and beret of the organization, as well as their T-shirts when competing. Traylor, a former corrections officer, actually went through Guardian Angel training and was inducted into the Angels as part of the gimmick.
The Guardian Angels are featured in a FirstRun.tv Network (www.FirstRun.tv)  reality TV series called Angels in Action. In the first episode, Curtis Sliwa opens the series, and it follows the Philadelphia Guardian Angels spread information about a neighborhood rapist and make a drug bust. Later on, it follows the Guardian Angels in Atlantic City as they investigate a massage parlor they believe is a front for illegal prostitution, and actually find a way to get inside.
“The Guardian Angel Is Watching Over Us”, a tribute to the Guardian Angels, is a soul-funk-disco song recorded in New York in 1979 by the Golden Flamingo Orchestra featuring Margo Williams.
In an episode of Grounded For Life, Eddie tries to defend himself as having been a Guardian Angel, but it’s soon revealed that he had simply stolen a red beret in an attempt to impress women.
In the season 3 episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “Bums: Making a Mess All Over the City”, Mac and Dee become vigilantes to fight against the homeless who masturbate in the streets, adopting a uniform with a red beret inspired by the Guardian Angels.
In season 2, episode 10 of In Living Color, Jim Carrey plays a pathetic character who calls himself a Cherub of Justice, a reference to the Guardian Angels.
In season 7, episode 13 of The Office, Dwight runs an organization called “Knights of the Night” which is essentially the same thing as the Guardian Angels (Dwight initially describes it as “nothing like the Guardian Angels,” except, when he elaborates, says, “in broad strokes, think the Guardian Angels”).
In an episode of the 1982-1983 game show Child’s Play, a boy given the task of describing the term “Guardian angel” actually described members of this organization.
- “About the Angels”. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- “Guardian Angel’s Growing Pains”. Time. January 18, 1982.
- Gonzalez, David (November 25, 1992). Sliwa Admits Faking Crimes For Publicity. New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
- Gonzalez, David (November 29, 1992). “Guardian Angels Training Inadequite, Critics Say”. The New York Times. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- “05/17/2008: Volunteers Warning Residents About Serial Stabber — CBS13 TV, 03/26/2007: Curtis Sliwa Launches Bicycle Patrol — Sacramento Bee Newspaper, 10/21/2005: Anti-crime walk for Del Paso Boulevard — Sacramento Bee Newspaper, 10/20/2005: Red Angel dragnet — SN&R News Review Magazine”.sacramento.guardianangels.org.
- Smalley, Suzanne (March 31, 2007). “Guardian Angels launch city patrol, expand across US”. Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
- Hedgpeth, Dana (January 8, 2016). “DC Guardian Angels group says it will patrol Metro more this weekend after attacks”. Washington Post.
- Japan Today article about the Angels
- Angels running an anonymous tip line in Japan
- Fallen Angels
- Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs
- Guardian Angels South Africa | Dare to Care
- Guardian Angels – South Africa
- Guardian Angels Potchefstroom
- Guardian Angels Chapter List
- ‘Guardian Angels get bumpy ride in Toronto’, CBC News, January 14, 2006
- “Angels test their wings”. Calgary Herald. March 25, 2007. p. B3. Retrieved2007-03-25.
- “Guardian Angels visiting Halifax”. The Daily News. September 11, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-11.
- Nova Scotia News – TheChronicleHerald.ca
- Schapiro, Rich (December 5, 2007). “Former wrestler ‘Vampiro’ to take bite out of Mexico City crime”. Daily News. New York.
- Gray, Marcus (2005) . The Clash: Return of the Last Gang in Town (5th revised ed.). London: Helter Skelter. p. 380. ISBN 1-905139-10-1.OCLC 60668626.
- Monday, Jan. 18, 1982 (1982-01-18). “Time Magazine article 18 January 1982Guardian Angels’ Growing Pains“. Time.com. Retrieved 2010-04-03.
- FirstRun.tv Network website
- Angels in Action website
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Readings & Reflections: Saturday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time & Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, October 1,2016
Therese Martin was born in 1873 A.D., the youngest daughter of a comfortably middle-class French family. At fifteen, she followed her two older sisters to the Carmel in Lisieux, where she lived until her death of tuberculosis at age twenty-four, offered herself not to God’s justice, but to his mercy, “My God!… I desire to love you and make you loved” was her prayer. She desired to give herself wholeheartedly as a missionary, but discovered her work in the anonymity of the convent: “My vocation is love…. In the heart of the Church, my Mother, I shall be Love.” After Therese’s death in 1897 A.D. her autobiographical Story of a Soul became a best seller. Her “Little Way” reached the outside world through the publication of her autobiographical Story of a Soul. Yet her worldwide fame must be attributed above all to the many favors she has obtained for those who confide in her. “I will spend my heaven doing good on earth,” she had promised. In 1927 she was declared the co-patron of the missions, and in 1997 a Doctor of the Church.
“Lord, give me the child-like simplicity and purity of faith to gaze upon your face with joy and confidence in your all-merciful love. Remove every doubt, fear, and proud thought which would hinder me from receiving your word with trust and humble submission.” Amen
Jb 42:1-3, 5-6, 12-17
Job answered the LORD and said:
I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be hindered.
I have dealt with great things that I do not understand;
things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know.
I had heard of you by word of mouth,
but now my eye has seen you.
Therefore I disown what I have said,
and repent in dust and ashes.
Thus the LORD blessed the latter days of Job
more than his earlier ones.
For he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels,
a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she-asses.
And he had seven sons and three daughters,
of whom he called the first Jemimah,
the second Keziah, and the third Kerenhappuch.
In all the land no other women were as beautiful
as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance
along with their brothers.
After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years;
and he saw his children, his grandchildren,
and even his great-grandchildren.
Then Job died, old and full of years.
The word of the Lord.
Ps 119:66, 71, 75, 91, 125, 130
R. (135) Lord, let your face shine on me.
Teach me wisdom and knowledge,
for in your commands I trust.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
that I may learn your statutes.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
I know, O LORD, that your ordinances are just,
and in your faithfulness you have afflicted me.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
According to your ordinances they still stand firm:
all things serve you.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
I am your servant; give me discernment
that I may know your decrees.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
The revelation of your words sheds light,
giving understanding to the simple.
R. Lord, let your face shine on me.
The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus,
“Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.
Behold, I have given you the power
‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions
and upon the full force of the enemy
and nothing will harm you.
Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”
Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection 1 – The return of the 72 Disciples
From what the seventy two disciples of Jesus exhibited to all of us we can surmise that despite all the teachings of Jesus and the life He shared with them, man’s number one enemy- PRIDE- was somehow still prevailing in their hearts. They could not detach themselves from the superficial sources of joy as they rejoiced on the power they now have in the Name of the Lord.
Jesus opened their minds and hearts and all those who shall believe in Him that such powers should not be a source of any rejoicing but the thought that our names are inscribed in heaven. To Him the only source of authentic joy is the thought that we are now all acceptable to the Father because of Him.
We should realize that whatever happens to us in this lifetime, no one can take away the joy of being with Jesus and being one with the Father in His Name. “Nevertheless, do not rejoice so much in the fact that the devils are subject to you as that your names are inscribed in heaven.”
Today as each one of us minister to each other and try to bring all men closer to God, the only reason we should rejoice is because all of us are one in our focus to reach our heavenly home. We should rejoice in each others’ salvation much like the way Jesus rejoiced over those to whom God revealed Himself. There should be no room for our pride to influence our work for the Lord when we shepherd souls towards the Lord’s vineyard. It might be so tempting to believe that we have IT and are more superior to our neighbor and that we are so special to the Lord, that we have been so much favored by God that we can literally trample on demons, snakes and scorpions.
If ever this thought comes to our heart and mind it might be good reason for us to take a retreat and go in deep prayer the way Jesus addressed the temptations of the evil one. “Fear not, my children; call out to God! He who brought this upon you will remember you. As your hearts have been disposed to stray from God, turn now ten times the more to seek him; For he who has brought disaster upon you will, in saving you, bring you back enduring joy.” Baruch 4:27-29
In doing God’s work never play God but always rejoice that you are now acceptable in heaven!
Heavenly Father, always give me the grace to rejoice in the Name of Jesus despite the difficulties and the trials that come my way and my work for You. In Jesus, I pray. Amen
Reflection 2 – Justice is not partial
The symbol of “blind justice” in the United States is well-known. Based on a classical statue of Themis, the Greek goddess of law, artist during the 1500s started showing the lady blindfolded to show that justice is not partial. She can’t see anything, so she can not play favorites or take sides. “Spin” is the opposite of “blind justice” and judgment. “Spin” is turning an event from its objective reality to influence a judgment for “your side.” People stop remembering what they saw or heard, and come to believe what never was.
Jesus praises the Father today because of those with simple faith. In his ministry, there were “spinners” who interpreted Jesus for the crowd, accusing him of being everything from a crackpot miracle worker to the devil incarnate. But some were able to see through all of that. And Jesus is grateful for the vision given to them. He even tells his disciples that they are blessed to see what they see.
Second guessing what we see seems to be a way of life these days. How can we keep our “spin doctors” at bay? A pastor tries to visit certain parishioners and the spin doctors warn of his vested interests. Our son or daughter comes home honestly asking to study for religious life or priesthood, and the spin doctors say they’re too young to know. Our spouse desires to make a weekend retreat and the spin doctor questions this new “holier than thou” attitude. Will we ever again have the ability to call a spade a spade?
Advent is a time for us to sharpen our vision and to see the ways that our God has come among us. Like Jesus, we may find many reasons to “praise the Father” for the goodness that we find in the world, and the wonderful people we know who bear witness to their faith in Jesus Christ. While it’s quite the trend to prowl after good people, ready to discover the fatal flaw that will “bring them down,” perhaps we can ask to rejoice in goodness for a change, and to let goodness be what it is. (Source: John Petrikovic, OFM. Weekday Homily Helps. Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, December 2, 2008).
Reflection 3 – Putting our hand to the plow and not expecting consolation
“God wants to show (me)… that it would be mistaken in looking elsewhere for a shadow of beauty which it would be taking for beauty itself!…
“How good he is to me… how divinely lovable he is when not wanting to allow me to attach myself to any created thing. He knows well that if he were to give me a shadow of happiness, I would attach myself to it with all my energy, all the strength of my heart, and this shadow he is refusing me; he prefers leaving me in darkness to giving me a false light which would not be himself!…Since I can’t findany creature that contents me, I want to give all to Jesus, and I don’t want to give to the creature even one atom of my love. My Jesus always makes me understand that he alone is perfect joy when he appears to be absent!…
“Today more than yesterday, if that were possible, I was deprived of all consolation. I thank Jesus, who finds this good for my soul, and that, perhaps if he were to console me, I would stop at this sweetness; but he wants that all be for Himself!… Well, then, all will be for him, all, even when I feel I am able to offer nothing; so, just like this evening, I will give him this nothing!
“Although Jesus is giving me no consolation, he is giving me a peace so great that it is doing me more good!…
“Joy is to be found only in suffering and in suffering without any consolation!” (St. Therese of Lisieux, +1897 A.D.).
Reflection 4 – Power to tread on the full force of the enemy
“Lord, God of hosts, in the Gospel you told us: I have not come to bring peace but the sword. Arm me for battle; I burn to fight for your glory but I beg you to strengthen my courage…. Then with Holy King David I can exclaim: You alone are my sword. You, Lord, train my hands for war….
“O my Beloved! I know what combat you have in mind for me; the contest will not be on the field of battle….
“I am a prisoner of your Love. I have freely forged the chain that binds me to you and separates me forever from that world which you have cursed…. My sword is nothing but but Love – with it I will chase the foreigner from the Kingdom. I will have you proclaimed King in the souls who refuse to submit to your divine power.
“Doubtless, Lord, you do not need such a feeble instrument as myself, but Joan, your chaste and courageous bride, said: ‘We must fight so that God may give the victory.’ O my Jesus, I will fight then, for your love, until the evening of my life. As you did not wish to rest on earth, I want to follow your example. I hope this promise that fell from your divine lips will find fulfillment in me: If anyone follow me, where I am, there also will my servant be. Whoever serves me, my Father will honor.
“To be with you, to be in you is my one desire…. This assurance that you give me of its fulfillment helps me to bear my exile while awaiting the glorious day of the eternal Face to Face!” (Source: St. Therese of Lisieux, +1897 A.D., Magnificat, Vol. 18, No. 8, October 2016, pp. 35-36).
Reflection 5 – St. Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897 A.D.)
“I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul.” These are the words of Thérèse of the Child Jesus, a Carmelite nun called the “Little Flower,” who lived a cloistered life of obscurity in the convent of Lisieux, France. 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. Thérèse Martin entered the convent at the age of 15 and died in 1897 at the age of 24. She was canonized in 1925, and two years later she and St. Francis Xavier were declared co-patrons of the missions.
Life in a Carmelite convent is indeed uneventful and consists mainly of prayer and hard domestic work. But Thérèse possessed that holy insight that redeems the time, however dull that time may be. She saw in quiet suffering redemptive suffering, suffering that was indeed her apostolate. Thérèse said she came to the Carmel convent “to save souls and pray for priests.” And shortly before she died, she wrote: “I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth.”
On October 19, 1997, Pope John Paul II proclaimed her a Doctor of the Church, the third woman to be so recognized, in light of her holiness and the influence on the Church of her teaching on spirituality. Her parents, Louis and Zélie were beatified in 2008.
Thérèse has much to teach our age of the image, the appearance, the “sell.” We have become a dangerously self-conscious people, painfully aware of the need to be fulfilled, yet knowing we are not. Thérèse, like so many saints, sought to serve others, to do something outside herself, to forget herself in quiet acts of love. She is one of the great examples of the gospel paradox that we gain our life by losing it, and that the seed that falls to the ground must die in order to live (John 12:24).
Preoccupation with self separates modern men and women from God, from their fellow human beings, and ultimately from themselves. We must relearn to forget ourselves, to contemplate a God who draws us out of ourselves, and to serve others as the ultimate expression of selfhood. These are the insights of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and they are more valid today than ever.
All her life St. Thérèse suffered from illness. As a young girl she underwent a three-month malady characterized by violent crises, extended delirium and prolonged fainting spells. Afterwards she was ever frail and yet she worked hard in the laundry and refectory of the convent. Psychologically, she endured prolonged periods of darkness when the light of faith seemed all but extinguished. The last year of her life she slowly wasted away from tuberculosis. And yet shortly before her death on September 30 she murmured, “I would not suffer less.”
Truly she was a valiant woman who did not whimper about her illnesses and anxieties. Here was a person who saw the power of love, that divine alchemy which can change everything, including weakness and illness, into service and redemptive power for others. Is it any wonder that she is patroness of the missions? Who else but those who embrace suffering with their love really convert the world?
Patron Saint of: Florists, Missionaries, Pilots
Related St. Anthony Messenger article(s)
Therese of Lisieux: Sacred Art on the Silver Screen, by Maria Johnson
Therese of Lisieux: Our Spiritual Guide for the Easter Season, by Catherine Looker, SSJ
Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1155
SAINT OF THE DAY
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God’s invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint.
|Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, O.C.D.
Sacred Keeper of the Gardens
The Little Flower
|Virgin, Nun, Ecstatic
Doctor of the Church
|Born||Marie Françoise-Thérèse Martin
January 2, 1873
Alençon, Orne, France
|Died||September 30, 1897 (aged 24)
Lisieux, Calvados, France
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||April 29, 1923 by Pope Pius XI|
|Canonized||May 17, 1925 by Pope Pius XI|
|Major shrine||Basilica of St. Thérèse in Lisieux, France|
October 3 in General Roman Calendar 1927–1969, Melkite Catholic Church
|Attributes||Discalced Carmelite habit,crucifix, roses|
|Patronage||Gardens of Vatican City
Missionaries; France; Russia;HIV/AIDS sufferers; radio care-a-thons; florists and gardeners; loss of parents; tuberculosis; theRussicum; Alaska
|Part of a series on|
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (born Marie Françoise-Thérèse Martin; January 2, 1873 – September 30, 1897), or Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, O.C.D., was a Roman Catholic French Discalced Carmelite nun widely venerated in modern times. She is popularly known as “The Little Flower of Jesus” or simply “The Little Flower“.
Thérèse has been a highly influential model of sanctity for Catholics and for others because of the “simplicity and practicality of her approach to the spiritual life”. Together with Saint Francis of Assisi, she is one of the most popular saints in the history of the church. Pope Pius X called her “the greatest saint of modern times” while his successorPope Pius XI accorded her as the Patroness of the Gardens of Vatican City on 11 May 1927, granting her the title as the“Sacred Keeper of the Gardens'”.
Thérèse felt an early call to religious life, and overcoming various obstacles, in 1888 at the early age of 15, she became a nun and joined two of her elder sisters in the cloistered Carmelite community of Lisieux, Normandy. After nine years as a Carmelite religious, having fulfilled various offices such as sacristan and assistant to the novice mistress, and having spent her last eighteen months in Carmel in a night of faith, she died of tuberculosis at the age of 24. Her feast day is on October 1. Thérèse is well known throughout the world, with the Basilica of Lisieux being the second-largest place of pilgrimage in France after Lourdes.
- 2.1Family background
- 2.2Birth and survival
- 2.3Early years
- 2.5Complete conversion: Christmas 1886
- 2.6Imitation of Christ, Rome, and entry to Carmel
- 2.7The Little Flower in Carmel
- 2.8Lisieux Carmel in 1888
- 2.10Novice (January 10, 1889 – September 24, 1890)
- 2.11The Discreet life of a Carmelite (September 1890 – February 1893)
- 2.12Election of Mother Agnes
- 2.13The discovery of the little way
- 2.14Offering to merciful love
- 2.15The final years, disease and night of faith
- 3Spiritual legacy
- 4.2Grand celebration of her canonization
- 4.3Canonization of her parents
- 4.4Canonization cause of her sister Léonie
- 4.6Relics of St. Thérèse on a world pilgrimage
- 4.7Religious congregations
- 4.8Places named after St. Thérèse
- 4.9Devotees of St. Thérèse
- 4.10Works inspired by Thérèse
- 6See also
- 8External links
The impact of The Story of Soul, a collection of her autobiographical manuscripts, printed and distributed a year after her death to an initially very limited audience, was great, and she rapidly became one of the most popular saints of the twentieth century. Pope Pius XI made her the “star of his pontificate”. She was beatified in 1923, and canonized in 1925. Thérèse was declared co-patron of the missions with Francis Xavier in 1927, and named co-patron of France with Joan of Arc in 1944. On October 19, 1997Pope John Paul II declared her the thirty-third Doctor of the Church, the youngest person, and at that time only the third woman to be so honored. Devotion to Thérèse has developed around the world.
Thérèse lived a hidden life and “wanted to be unknown”, yet became popular after her death through her spiritual autobiography. She also left letters, poems, religious plays, prayers, and her last conversations were recorded by her sisters. Paintings and photographs – mostly the work of her sister Céline – further led to her being recognized by millions of men and women.
Thérèse said on her death-bed, “I only love simplicity. I have a horror of pretence”, and she spoke out against some of the claims made concerning the Lives of saints written in her day, “We should not say improbable things, or things we do not know. We must see their real, and not their imagined lives.”
The depth of her spirituality, of which she said, “my way is all confidence and love”, has inspired many believers. In the face of her littleness she trusted in God to be her sanctity. She wanted to go to heaven by an entirely new little way. “I wanted to find an elevator that would raise me to Jesus”. The elevator, she wrote, would be the arms of Jesus lifting her in all her littleness.
She was born in Rue Saint-Blaise, Alençon, in France on January 2, 1873, the daughter of Saint Marie-Azélie Guérin, usually called Zélie, a lacemaker, and Saint Louis Martin, a jeweler and watchmaker. Both her parents were devout Catholics. Louis had tried to become a canon regular, wanting to enter the Great St Bernard Hospice, but had been refused because he knew no Latin. Zélie, possessed of a strong, active temperament, wished to serve the sick, and had also considered entering consecrated life, but the prioress of the canonesses regular of the Hôtel-Dieu in Alençon had discouraged her enquiry outright. Disappointed, Zélie learned the trade of lacemaking. She excelled in it and set up her own business on Rue Saint-Blaise at age 22.
Louis and Zélie met in early 1858 and married on July 13 of that same year at the basilica Notre Dame of Alençon. Both of great piety, they were part of the petit-bourgeoisie, comfortable Alençon. At first they decided to live as brother and sister in a perpetual continence, but when a confessor discouraged them in this, they changed their lifestyle and had 9 children. From 1867 to 1870 they lost 3 infants and 5-and-a-half-year-old Hélène. All 5 of their surviving daughters became nuns:
- Marie (February 22, 1860, a Carmelite in Lisieux, in religion, Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, d. January 19, 1940),
- Pauline (September 7, 1861, in religion, Mother Agnes of Jesus in the Lisieux Carmel, d. July 28, 1951),
- Léonie (June 3, 1863, in religion Sister Françoise-Thérèse, Visitandine at Caen, d. June 16, 1941),
- Céline (April 28, 1869, a Carmelite in Lisieux, in religion, Sister Geneviève of the Holy Face, d. February 25, 1959), and finally
Zélie was so successful in manufacturing lace that by 1870 Louis had sold his watchmaking shop to a nephew and handled the traveling and bookkeeping end of her lacemaking business. Thérèse’s parents were canonized on October 18, 2015.
Birth and survival
Soon after her birth in January 1873, the outlook for the survival of Thérèse Martin was very grim.Enteritis, which had already claimed the lives of four of her siblings, threatened Thérèse, and she had to be entrusted to a wet nurse, Rose Taillé, who had already nursed two of the Martin children. Rose had her own children and could not live with the Martins, so Thérèse was sent to live with her in the forests of the Bocage at Semallé. On Holy Thursday April 2, 1874, when she was 15 months old, she returned to Alençon where her family surrounded her with affection. She was educated in a very Catholic environment, including Mass attendance at 5:30 AM, the strict observance of fasts, and prayer to the rhythm of the liturgical year. The Martins also practiced charity, visiting the sick and elderly and welcoming the occasional vagabond to their table. Even if she wasn’t the model little girl her sisters later portrayed, Thérèse was very sensitive to this education. She played at being a nun. One day she went as far as to wish her mother would die; when scolded, she explained that she wanted the happiness of Paradise for her dear mother. Described as generally a happy child, she was emotional too, and often cried: “Céline is playing with the little one with some bricks… I have to correct poor baby who gets into frightful tantrums when she can’t have her own way. She rolls in the floor in despair believing all is lost. Sometimes she is so overcome she almost chokes. She is a very highly-strung child.” At 22, Thérèse, then a Carmelite, admitted: “I was far from being a perfect little girl.“
On August 28, 1877, Zélie Martin died of breast cancer, aged 45. Her funeral was conducted in the basilica Notre Dame of Alençon. From 1865 she had complained of breast pain and in December 1876 a doctor told her of the seriousness of the tumour. Feeling the approach of death Madame Martin had written to Pauline in spring 1877, “You and Marie will have no difficulties with her upbringing. Her disposition is so good. She is a chosen spirit.” Thérèse was barely 4 1/2 years old. Her mother’s death dealt her a severe blow and later she would consider that the first part of her life stopped that day. She wrote: “Every detail of my mother’s illness is still with me, specially her last weeks on earth.” She remembered the bedroom scene where her dying mother received the last sacraments while Thérèse knelt and her father cried. She wrote: “When Mummy died, my happy disposition changed. I had been so lively and open; now I became diffident and oversensitive, crying if anyone looked at me. I was only happy if no one took notice of me… It was only in the intimacy of my own family, where everyone was wonderfully kind, that I could be more myself.”
Three months after Zélie died, Louis Martin left Alençon, where he had spent his youth and marriage, and moved to Lisieux in theCalvados Department of Normandy, where Zélie’s pharmacist brother Isidore Guérin lived with his wife and their two daughters, Jeanne and Marie. In her last months Zélie had given up the lace business; after her death, Louis sold it. Louis leased a pretty, spacious country house, Les Buissonnets, situated in a large garden on the slope of a hill overlooking the town. Looking back, Thérèse would see the move to Les Buissonnets as the beginning of the “second period of my life, the most painful of the three: it extends from the age of four-and-a-half to fourteen, the time when I rediscovered my childhood character, and entered into the serious side of life.” In Lisieux, Pauline took on the role of Thérèse’s Mama. She took this role seriously, and Thérèse grew especially close to her, and to Céline, the sister closest to her in age.
Thérèse was taught at home until she was eight and a half, and then entered the school kept by the Benedictine nuns of the Abbey of Notre Dame du Pre in Lisieux. Thérèse, taught well and carefully by Marie and Pauline, found herself at the top of the class, except for writing and arithmetic. However, because of her young age and high grades, she was bullied. The one who bullied her the most was a girl of fourteen who did poorly at school. Thérèse suffered very much as a result of her sensitivity, and she cried in silence. Furthermore, the boisterous games at recreation were not to her taste. She preferred to tell stories or look after the little ones in the infants class. “The five years I spent at school were the saddest of my life, and if my dear Céline had not been with me I could not have stayed there for a single month without falling ill.” Céline informs us, “She now developed a fondness for hiding, she did not want to be observed, for she sincerely considered herself inferior.” On her free days she became more and more attached to Marie Guérin, the younger of her two cousins in Lisieux. The two girls would play at being anchorites, as the great Teresa had once played with her brother. And every evening she plunged into the family circle. “Fortunately I could go home every evening and then I cheered up. I used to jump on Father’s knee and tell him what marks I had, and when he kissed me all my troubles were forgotten…I needed this sort of encouragement so much.” Yet the tension of the double life and the daily self-conquest placed a strain on Thérèse. Going to school became more and more difficult.
When she was nine years old, in October 1882, her sister Pauline who had acted as a “second mother” to her, entered the Carmelite monastery at Lisieux. Thérèse was devastated. She understood that Pauline was cloistered and that she would never come back. “I said in the depths of my heart: Pauline is lost to me!” The shock reawakened in her the trauma caused by her mother’s death. She also wanted to join the Carmelites, but was told she was too young. Yet Thérèse so impressed Mother Marie Gonzague, the prioress at the time of Pauline’s entry to the community that she wrote to comfort her, calling Thérèse “my future little daughter”.
At this time, Thérèse was often sick; she began to suffer from nervous tremors. The tremors started one night after her uncle took her for a walk and began to talk about Zélie. Assuming that she was cold, the family covered Therese with blankets, but the tremors continued; she clenched her teeth and could not speak. The family called Dr. Notta, who could make no diagnosis. In 1882, Dr. Gayral diagnosed that Thérèse “reacts to an emotional frustration with a neurotic attack”. An alarmed, but cloistered, Pauline began to write letters to Thérèse and attempted various strategies to intervene. Eventually Thérèse recovered after she had turned to gaze at the statue of the Virgin Maryplaced in Marie’s room, where Thérèse had been moved. She reported on 13 May 1883 that she had seen the Virgin smile at her.She wrote: “Our Blessed Lady has come to me, she has smiled upon me. How happy I am.” However, when Thérèse told the Carmelite nuns about this vision at the request of her eldest sister Marie, she found herself assailed by their questions and she lost confidence. Self-doubt made her begin to question what had happened. “I thought I had lied – I was unable to look upon myself without a feeling of profound horror.” “For a long time after my cure, I thought that my sickness was deliberate and this was a real martyrdom for my soul.” Her concerns over this continued until November 1887.
In October 1886 her oldest sister, Marie, entered the same Carmelite monastery, adding to Thérèse’s grief. The warm atmosphere at Les Buissonnets, so necessary to her, was disappearing. Now only she and Céline remained with their father. Her frequent tears made some friends think she had a weak character and the Guérins indeed shared this opinion.
Thérèse also suffered from scruples, a condition experienced by other saints such as Alphonsus Liguori, also a Doctor of the Church and Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. She wrote: “One would have to pass through this martyrdom to understand it well, and for me to express what I experienced for a year and a half would be impossible.”
Complete conversion: Christmas 1886
Christmas Eve of 1886 was a turning point in the life of Therese; she called it her “complete conversion.” Years later she stated that on that night she overcame the pressures she had faced since the death of her mother and said that “God worked a little miracle to make me grow up in an instant.” “On that blessed night … Jesus, who saw fit to make Himself a child out of love for me, saw fit to have me come forth from the swaddling clothes and imperfections of childhood.”
On Christmas Eve 1886, Louis Martin and his daughters, Léonie, Céline and Thérèse, had attended the midnight mass at the cathedral in Lisieux—”but there was very little heart left in them. On December 1st Léonie, covered in eczema and hiding her hair under a short mantilla, had returned to Les Buissonnets after just seven weeks of the Poor Clares regime in Alençon”, and her sisters were helping her get over her sense of failure and humiliation. Back at Les Buissonnets as every year, Thérèse ” as was the custom for French children, had left her shoes on the hearth, empty in anticipation of gifts, not from Father Christmas but from the Child Jesus, who was imagined to travel through the air bearing toys and cakes.” While she was going up the stairs she heard her father, “perhaps exhausted by the hour, or this reminder of the relentless emotional demands of his weepy youngest daughter”, say to Céline, “Well, fortunately this will be the last year!” Thérèse had begun to cry and Céline advised her not to go back downstairs immediately. Then, suddenly, Thérèse pulled herself together and wiped her tears. She ran down the stairs, knelt by the fireplace and unwrapped her surprises as jubilantly as ever. In her account, nine years later, of 1895 : “In an instant Jesus, content with my good will, accomplished the work I had not been able to do in ten years.” After nine sad years she had “recovered the strength of soul she had lost when her mother died and, she said, she was to retain it forever”. She discovered the joy in self-forgetfulness and added ; “I felt, in a word, charity enter my heart, the need to forget myself to make others happy—Since this blessed night I was not defeated in any battle, but instead I went from victory to victory and began, so to speak, “to run a giant’s course” (Psalms 19:5).
“Thérèse instantly understood what had happened to her when she won this banal little victory over her sensitivity, which she had borne for so long… she had been vouchsafed a freedom which all her efforts had been unable to win. A long, painful period of growth lasting almost ten years was now over; …freedom is found in resolutely looking away from oneself.. and the fact that a person can cast himself away from himself reveals again that being good, victory is pure grace, a sudden gift..It cannot be coerced, and yet it can be received only by the patiently prepared heart”. Biographer Kathryn Harrison: “After all, in the past she had tried to control herself, had tried with all her being and had failed. Grace, alchemy, masochism: through whatever lens we view her transport, Thérèse’s night of illumination presented both its power and its danger. It would guide her steps between the mortal and the divine, between living and dying, destruction and apotheosis. It would take her exactly where she intended to go.”
The character of the saint and the early forces that shaped her personality have been the subject of analysis, particularly in recent years. Apart from the family doctor who observed her in the 19th century, all other conclusions are inevitably speculative. For instance, author Ida Friederike Görres whose formal studies had focused on church history and hagiography wrote a book that performed a psychological analysis of the saint’s character. Some authors suggest that Thérèse had a strongly neurotic aspect to her personality for most of her life. A recent biographer, Kathryn Harrison, concluded that, “her temperament was not formed for compromise or moderation…a life spent not taming but directing her appetite and her will, a life perhaps shortened by the force of her desire and ambition.”
Imitation of Christ, Rome, and entry to Carmel
Before she was fourteen, when she started to experience a period of calm, Thérèse started to read The Imitation of Christ. She read the Imitation intently, as if the author traced each sentence for her: “The Kingdom of God is within you… Turn thee with thy whole heart unto the Lord; and forsake this wretched world: and thy soul shall find rest.” She kept the book with her constantly and wrote later that this book and parts of another book of a very different character, lectures by Abbé Arminjon onThe End of This World, and the Mysteries of the World to Come, nourished her during this critical period. Thereafter she began to read other books, mostly on history and science.
In May 1887, Thérèse approached her 63-year-old father Louis, who was recovering from a small stroke, while he sat in the garden one Sunday afternoon and told him that she wanted to celebrate the anniversary of “her conversion” by entering Carmel before Christmas. Louis and Thérèse both broke down and cried, but Louis got up, gently picked a little white flower, root intact, and gave it to her, explaining the care with which God brought it into being and preserved it until that day. Thérèse later wrote: “while I listened I believed I was hearing my own story”. To Therese, the flower seemed a symbol of herself, “destined to live in another soil”. Thérèse then renewed her attempts to join the Carmel, but the priest-superior of the monastery would not allow it on account of her youth.
During the summer, French newspapers were filled with the story of Henri Pranzini, convicted of the brutal murder of two women and a child. To the outraged public Pranzini represented all that threatened the decent way of life in France. In July and August 1887 Thérèse prayed hard for the conversion of Pranzini, so his soul could be saved, yet Pranzini showed no remorse. At the end of August, the newspapers reported that just as Pranzini’s neck was placed on the guillotine, he had grabbed a crucifix and kissed it three times. Thérèse was ecstatic and believed that her prayers had saved him. She continued to pray for Pranzini after his death.
In November 1887, Louis took Céline and Thérèse on a diocesan pilgrimage to Rome for the priestly jubilee of Pope Leo XIII. The cost of the trip enforced a strict selection, a quarter of the pilgrims belonged to the nobility. The birth, in 1871, of the French Third Republic had marked a decline of the conservative right’s power. Forced onto the defensive, the royalist bourgeoisie perceived a strong Church as an important means of safeguarding France’s integrity and its future. The rise of a militant nationalist Catholicism, a trend that would, in 1894, result in the anti-Semitic scapegoating and trumped-up treason conviction of Alfred Dreyfus was a development that Thérèse did not at all perceive. Still a sheltered child, Thérèse lived in ignorance of political events and motivations. She did notice however, the ‘social ambition and vanity’. “Céline and I found ourselves mixing with members of the aristocracy; but we were not impressed..the words of the Imitation, ‘do not be solicitous for the shadow of a great name’, were not lost on me, and I realised that real nobility is in the soul, not in a name.” The youngest in the pilgrimage, bright and pretty, Thérèse did not go unnoticed. In Bologna a student boldly jostled against her on purpose. Visits followed one after another: Milan, Venice, Loreto; finally the arrival in Rome. On November 20, 1887, during a general audience with Leo XIII, Thérèse, in her turn, approached the Pope, knelt, and asked him to allow her to enter Carmel at 15. The Pope said: “Well, my child, do what the superiors decide…. You will enter if it is God’s Will” and he blessed Thérèse. She refused to leave his feet, and the Swiss Guard had to carry her out of the room.
The trip continued: they visited Pompeii, Naples, Assisi; then it was back via Pisa and Genoa. The pilgrimage of nearly a month came at a timely point for her burgeoning personality. She learnt more than in many years of study. For the first and last time in her life, she left her native Normandy. Notably she, “who only knew priests in the exercise of their ministry was in their company, heard their conversations, not always edifying—and saw their shortcomings for herself”. She had understood that she had to pray and give her life for sinners like Pranzini. But Carmel prayed especially for priests and this had surprised her since their souls seemed to her to be as pure as crystal. A month spent with many priests taught her that they are weak and feeble men. She wrote later: “I met many saintly priests that month, but I also found that in spite of being above angels by their supreme dignity, they were none the less men and still subject to human weakness. If the holy priests, ‘the salt of the earth’, as Jesus calls them in the Gospel, have to be prayed for, what about the lukewarm? Again, as Jesus says, ‘If the salt shall lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted?’ I understood my vocation in Italy.” For the first time too she had associated with young men. “In her brotherless existence, masculinity had been represented only by her father, her Uncle Guérin and various priests. Now she had her first and only experiences—troublesome and tempting ones. Céline declared at the beatification proceedings that one of the young men in the pilgrimage group fell in love with Thérèse (“developed a tender affection for her”). Thérèse confessed to her sister, “It is high time for Jesus to remove me from the poisonous breath of the world…I feel that my heart is easily caught by tenderness, and where others fall, I would fall too. We are no stronger than the others.”
In 1889, her father suffered a stroke and was taken to a private sanatorium, the Bon Sauveur at Caen, where he remained for three years before returning to Lisieux in 1892. He died on July 29, 1894. Upon his death, Céline, who had been caring for him, entered the same Carmel as her three sisters, on September 14, 1894; their cousin, Marie Guérin, entered on August 15, 1895. Léonie, after several attempts, became Sister Françoise-Thérèse, a nun in the Order of the Visitation of Holy Maryat Caen, where she died in 1941.
The Little Flower in Carmel
Lisieux Carmel in 1888
The Carmelite order had been reformed in the sixteenth century by Teresa of Ávila, essentially devoted to personal and collective prayer. The times of silence and of solitude were many but the foundress had also planned for time for work and relaxation in common—the austerity of the life should not hinder sisterly and joyful relations. Founded in 1838, the Carmel of Lisieux in 1888 had 26 religious, from very different classes and backgrounds. For the majority of the life of Thérèse, the prioress would be Mother Marie de Gonzague, born Marie-Adéle-Rosalie Davy de Virville. When Thérèse entered the convent Mother Marie was 54, a woman of changeable humour, jealous of her authority, used sometimes in a capricious manner; this had for effect, a certain laxity in the observance of established rules. “In the sixties and seventies of the [nineteenth] century an aristocrat in the flesh counted for far more in a petty bourgeois convent than we can realize nowadays… the superiors appointed Marie de Gonzague to the highest offices as soon as her novitiate was finished… in 1874 began the long series of terms as Prioress”.
Thérèse’s time as a postulant began with her welcome into the Carmel, Monday April 9, 1888, the Feast of the Annunciation. She felt peace after she received communion that day and later wrote, “At last my desires were realized, and I cannot describe the deep sweet peace which filled my soul. This peace has remained with me during the eight and a half years of my life here, and has never left me even amid the greatest trials.” From her childhood, Thérèse had dreamed of the desert to which God would some day lead her. Now she had entered that desert. Though she was now reunited with Marie and Pauline, from the first day she began her struggle to win and keep her distance from her sisters. Right at the start Marie de Gonzague, the prioress, had turned the postulant Thérèse over to her eldest sister Marie, who was to teach her to follow the Divine Office. Later she appointed Thérèse assistant to Pauline in the refectory. And when her cousin Marie Guerin also entered, she employed the two together in the sacristy. Thérèse adhered strictly to the rule which forbade all superfluous talk during work. She saw her sisters together only in the hours of common recreation after meals. At such times she would sit down beside whomever she happened to be near, or beside a nun whom she had observed to be downcast, disregarding the tacit and sometimes expressed sensitivity and even jealousy of her biological sisters. “We must apologize to the others for our being four under one roof”, she was in the habit of remarking. “When I am dead, you must be very careful not to lead a family life with one another…I did not come to Carmel to be with my sisters; on the contrary, I saw clearly that their presence would cost me dear, for I was determined not to give way to nature.”
Though the novice mistress, Sr. Marie of the Angels, (Jeanne de Charmontel ), found Thérèse slow, the young postulant adapted well to her new environment. She wrote, “Illusions, the Good Lord gave me the grace to have none on entering Carmel. I found religious life as I had figured, no sacrifice astonished me.” She sought above all to conform to the rules and customs of the Carmelites that she learnt each day with her four religious of the novitiate. (Sr Marie of the Angels, 43, Sister Marie-Philomene, 48, ‘very holy, very limited’; Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, her oldest sister and godmother; Sister Marthe of Jesus, 23, an orphan, ‘a poor little unintelligent sister’ according to Pauline). Later, when Thérèse had become assistant to the novice mistress she repeated how important respect for the Rule was: “When any break the rule, this is not a reason to justify ourselves. Each must act as if the perfection of the Order depended on her personal conduct.” She also affirmed the essential role of obedience in religious life. She said, “When you stop watching the infallible compass [of obedience], as quickly the mind wanders in arid lands where the water of grace is soon lacking.” She chose a spiritual director, a Jesuit, Father Pichon. At their first meeting, May 28, 1888, she made a general confession going back over all her past sins. She came away from it profoundly relieved. The priest who had himself suffered from scruples, understood her and reassured her. A few months later, he left for Canada, and Thérèse would only be able to ask his advice by letter and his replies were rare. (On 4 July 1897, she confided to Pauline, ‘Father Pichon treated me too much like a child; nonetheless he did me a lot of good too by saying that I never committed a mortal sin.’) During her time as a postulant, Thérèse had to endure some bullying from other sisters because of her lack of aptitude for handicrafts and manual work. Sister St Vincent de Paul, the finest embroiderer in the community made her feel awkward and even called her ‘the big nanny goat’. Thérèse was in fact the tallest in the family, 1.62 metres (approx. 5’3″). Pauline, the shortest, was no more than 1.54m tall (approx.5′). During her last visit to Trouville at the end of June 1887, Thérèse was called, with her long blond hair, ‘the tall English girl.’ Like all religious she discovered the ups and downs related to differences in temperament, character, problems of sensitivities or infirmities. After nine years she wrote plainly, “the lack of judgment, education, the touchiness of some characters, all these things do not make life very pleasant. I know very well that these moral weaknesses are chronic, that there is no hope of cure”. But the greatest suffering came from outside Carmel. On June 23, 1888, Louis Martin disappeared from his home and was found days later, in the post office in Le Havre. The incident marked the onset of her father’s steep physical and mental decline.
Novice (January 10, 1889 – September 24, 1890)
The end of Thérèse’s time as a postulant arrived on the January 10, 1889, with her taking of the habit. From that time she wore the ‘rough homespun and brown scapular, white wimple and veil, leather belt with rosary, woollen ‘stockings’, rope sandals”. Her father’s health having temporarily stabilized he was able to attend, though twelve days after her ceremony a particularly serious crisis led to his being put in the asylum of the Bon Sauveur in Caen where he would remain for three years. In this period Thérèse deepened the sense of her vocation; to lead a hidden life, to pray and offer her suffering for priests, to forget herself, to increase discreet acts of charity. She wrote, “I applied myself especially to practice little virtues, not having the facility to perform great ones.” “In her letters from this period of her novitiate, Thérèse returned over and over to the theme of littleness, referring to herself as a grain of sand, an image she borrowed from Pauline…’Always littler, lighter, in order to be lifted more easily by the breeze of love.’ The remainder of her life would be defined by retreat and subtraction.” She absorbed the work of John of the Cross, spiritual reading uncommon at the time, especially for such a young nun. “Oh! what insights I have gained from the works of our holy father, St. John of the Cross! When I was seventeen and eighteen, I had no other spiritual nourishment…” She felt a kinship with this classic writer of the Carmelite Order (though nothing seems to have drawn her to the writing of Teresa of Avila), and with enthusiasm she read his works, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, the Way of Purification, the Spiritual Canticle, the Living Flame of Love. Passages from these writings are woven into everything she herself said and wrote. The fear of God, which she found in certain sisters, paralyzed her. “My nature is such that fear makes me recoil, with LOVE not only do I go forward, I fly“
With the new name a Carmelite receives when she enters the Order, there is always an epithet – example, Teresa of Jesus, Elizabeth of the Trinity, Anne of the Angels. The epithet singles out the Mystery which she is supposed to contemplate with special devotion. “Thérèse’s names in religion – she had two of them – must be taken together to define her religious significance.” The first name was promised to her at nine, by Mother Marie de Gonzague, of the Child Jesus, and was given to her at her entry into the convent. In itself, veneration of the childhood of Jesus was a Carmelite heritage of the seventeenth century – it concentrated upon the staggering humiliation of divine majesty in assuming the shape of extreme weakness and helplessness. The French Oratory of Jesus and Pierre de Bérulle renewed this old devotional practice. Yet when she received the veil, Thérèse herself asked Mother Marie de Gonzague to confer upon her the second name of the Holy Face.
Part of a series on
to the Holy Face of Jesus
|Prayers and sacramentals|
During the course of her novitiate, contemplation of the Holy Face had nourished her inner life. This is an image representing the disfigured face of Jesus during His Passion. And she meditated on certain passages from the prophet Isaiah (Chapter 53). Six weeks before her death she remarked to Pauline, “The words in Isaiah: ‘no stateliness here, no majesty, no beauty,…one despised, left out of all human reckoning; How should we take any account of him, a man so despised (Is 53:2-3) – these words were the basis of my whole worship of the Holy Face. I, too, wanted to be without comeliness and beauty..unknown to all creatures.” On the eve of her profession she wrote to Sister Marie, Tomorrow I shall be the bride of Jesus ‘whose face was hidden and whom no man knew’ – what a union and what a future!. The meditation also helped her understand the humiliating situation of her father.
Usually the novitiate preceding profession lasted a year. Sister Thérèse hoped to make her final commitment on or after January 11, 1890 but, considered still too young for a final commitment, her profession was postponed. She would spend eight months longer than the standard year as an unprofessed novice. As 1889 ended, her old home in the world Les Buissonnets, was dismantled, the furniture divided among the Guérins and the Carmel. It was not until September 8, 1890, aged 17 and a half, that she made her religious profession. The retreat in anticipation of her irrevocable promiseswas characterized by absolute aridity and on the eve of her profession she gave way to panic. “What she wanted was beyond her. Her vocation was a sham.” Reassured by the novice mistress and mother Marie de Gonzague, the next day her religious profession went ahead, ‘an outpouring of peace flooded my soul, “that peace which surpasseth all understanding” (Phil. 4:7) Against her heart she wore her letter of profession written during her retreat. “May creatures be nothing for me, and may I be nothing for them, but may You, Jesus, be everything! Let nobody be occupied with me, let me be looked upon as one to be trampled underfoot…may Your will be done in me perfectly…Jesus, allow me to save very many souls; let no soul be lost today; let all the souls in purgatory be saved..” On September 24, the public ceremony followed filled with ‘sadness and bitterness’. “Thérèse found herself young enough, alone enough, to weep over the absence of Bishop Hugonin, Père Pichon, in Canada; and her own father, still confined in the asylum.” But Mother Marie de Gonzague wrote to the prioress of Tours, “The angelic child is seventeen and a half, with the sense of a 30 year old, the religious perfection of an old and accomplished novice, and possession of herself, she is a perfect nun.”
The Discreet life of a Carmelite (September 1890 – February 1893)
The years which followed were those of a maturation of her vocation. Thérèse prayed without great sensitive emotions, she multiplied the small acts of charity and care for others, doing small services, without making a show of them. She accepted criticism in silence, even unjust criticisms, and smiled at the sisters who were unpleasant to her. She prayed always much for priests, and in particular for Father Hyacinthe Loyson, a famous preacher who had been a Sulpician and a Dominicannovice before becoming a Carmelite and provincial of his order, but who had left the Catholic Church in 1869. Three years later he married a young widow, a Protestant, with whom he had a son. After major excommunication had been pronounced against him, he continued to travel round France giving lectures. While clerical papers called Loyson a renegade monk and Leon Bloy lampooned him, Thérèse prayed for her brother. She offered her last communion, 19 August 1897, for Father Hyacinthe.
The chaplain of the Carmel, Father Youf insisted a lot on the fear of Hell. The preachers of spiritual retreats at that time did not refrain from stressing sin, the sufferings of purgatory, and those of hell. This did not help Thérèse who in 1891 experienced, great inner trials of all kinds, even wondering sometimes whether heaven existed.One phrase heard during a sermon made her weep—”No one knows if they are worthy of love or of hate.” But the retreat of October 1891 was preached by Father Alexis Prou, a Franciscan from Saint-Nazaire. “He specialized in large crowds (he preached in factories) and did not seem the right person to help Carmelites. Just one of them found comfort from him, Sister Thèrèse of the Child Jesus…[his] preaching on abandonment and mercy expanded her heart.” This confirmed Thérèse in her own intuitions. She wrote, “My soul was like a book which the priest read better than I did. He launched me full sail on the waves of confidence and love which held such an attraction for me, but upon which I had not dared to venture. He told me that my faults did not offend God.” Her spiritual life drew more and more on theGospels that she carried with her at all times. The piety of her time was fed more on commentaries, but Thérèse had asked Céline to get the Gospels and the Epistles of St Paul bound into a single small volume which she could carry on her heart. She said, But it is especially the Gospels which sustain me during my hours of prayer, for in them I find what is necessary for my poor little soul. I am constantly discovering in them new lights, hidden and mysterious meanings.”
More and more Thérèse realised that she felt no attraction to the exalted heights of great souls. She looked directly for the word of Jesus, which shed light on her prayers and on her daily life. Thérèse’s retreat in October 1892 pointed out to her a downward path. If asked where she lived, she reflected, must not she be able to answer with Christ, The foxes have their lairs, the birds of heaven their nests, but I have no place to rest my head. (Matthew 8:20). She wrote to Céline, (letter October 19, 1892), “Jesus raised us above all the fragile things of this world whose image passes away. Like Zacchaeus, we climbed a tree to see Jesus and now let us listen to what he is saying to us. Make haste to descend, I must lodge today at your house. Well, Jesus tells us to descend?” “A question here of the interior,” she qualified in her letter, lest Céline think she meant renouncing food or shelter. “Thérèse knew her virtues, even her love, to be flawed, flawed by self, a mirror too clouded to reflect the divine.” She continued to seek to discover the means, “to more efficiently strip herself of self.” “No doubt, [our hearts] are already empty of creatures, but, alas, I feel mine is not entirely empty of myself, and it is for this reason that Jesus tells me to descend.“
Election of Mother Agnes
On February 20, 1893, Pauline was elected prioress of Carmel and became Mother Agnes. Pauline appointed the former prioress novice mistress and made Thérèse her assistant. The work of guiding the novices would fall primarily to Thérèse. Over the next few years she revealed a talent for clarifying doctrine to those who had not received as much education as she. A kaleidoscope, whose three mirrors transform scraps of coloured paper into beautiful designs, provided an inspired illustration for the Holy Trinity. “As long as our actions, even the smallest, do not fall away from the focus of Divine Love, the Holy Trinity, symbolized by the three mirrors, allows them to reflect wonderful beauty. Jesus, who regards us through the little lens, that is to say, through Himself, always sees beauty in everything we do. But if we left the focus of inexpressible love, what would He see? Bits of straw … dirty, worthless actions.” “Another cherished image was that of the newly invented elevator, a vehicle Thérèse used many times over to describe God’s grace, a force that lifts us to heights we can’t reach on our own.” Her sister Céline’s memoir is filled with numerous examples of the teacher Thérèse. “Céline: – ‘Oh! When I think how much I have to acquire!’ Thérèse: – ‘Rather, how much you have to lose! Jesus Himself will fill your soul with treasures in the same measure that you move your imperfections out of the way.” And Céline recalled a story Thérèse told about egotism. ‘The 28 month old Thérèse visited Le Mans and was given a basket filled with candies, at the top of which were two sugar rings. ‘Oh! How wonderful! There is a sugar ring for Céline too!’ On her way to the station however the basket overturned, and one of the sugar rings disappeared. ‘Ah, I no longer have any sugar ring for poor Céline!’ Reminding me of the incident she observed; ‘See how deeply rooted in us is this self-love! Why was it Céline’s sugar ring, and not mine, that was lost?’ Martha of Jesus, a novice who spent her childhood in a series of orphanages and who was described by all as emotionally unbalanced, with a violent temper, gave witness during the beatification process of the ‘unusual dedication and presence of her young teacher. “Thérèse deliberately ‘sought out the company of those nuns whose temperaments she found hardest to bear.’ What merit was there in acting charitably toward people whom one loved naturally? Thérèse went out of her way to spend time with, and therefore to love, the people she found repellent. It was an effective means of achieving interior poverty, a way to remove a place to rest her head.”
In September 1893, Thérèse, having been a professed novice for the standard three years, asked not to be promoted but to continue a novice indefinitely. As a novice she would always have to ask permission of the other, full sisters. She would never be elected to any position of importance. Remaining closely associated with the other novices, she could continue to care for her spiritual charges.
The nineteenth century rediscovered Joan of Arc. In 1841 Jules Michelet devoted the major part of the fifth volume of his History of France to a favourable presentation of the epic of the Maid of Orleans and Felix Dupanloup worked relentlessly for the glorification of Joan who on May 8, 1429 had liberated Orléans, the city of which he became bishop in 1849. Thérèse wrote two plays in honour of her childhood heroine, the first about Joan’s response to the heavenly voices calling her to battle, the second about her resulting martyrdom.
The year 1894 brought a national celebration of Joan of Arc. On January 27 Leo XIII authorized the introduction of her cause of beatification, declaring Joan, the shepherdess from Lorraine ‘venerable’. Thérèse used Henri Wallon‘s history of Joan of Arc – a book her uncle Isidore had given to the Carmel – to help her write two plays, ‘pious recreations’, “small theatrical pieces performed by a few nuns for the rest of the community, on the occasion of certain feast days.” The first of these, The Mission of Joan of Arc was performed at the Carmel on January 21, 1894, and the second Joan of Arc Accomplishes her Mission on January 21, 1895. In the estimation of one of her biographers, Ida Görres, they “are scarcely veiled self-portraits.”
On July 29, 1894 Louis Martin died. Sick, he had been cared for by Céline. Following his death, and supported by Thérèse’s letters and the advice of her other sisters, she entered the Lisieux convent on September 14, 1894. With Mother Agnes’ permission, she brought her camera to Carmel, and developing materials. “The indulgence was not by any means usual. Also outside of the normal would be the destiny of those photographs Céline would make in the Carmel, images that would be scrutinized and reproduced too many times to count. Even when the images are poorly reproduced, her eyes arrest us. Described as blue, described as gray, they look darker in photographs. Céline’s pictures of her sister contributed to the extraordinary cult of personality that formed in the years after Thérèse’s death.”
At the end of December 1894 and perhaps prompted by their fear that she was dying, her older sisters requested that Thérèse write about her childhood.
The discovery of the little way
Thérèse entered the Carmel of Lisieux with the determination to become a saint. But, by the end of 1894, six full calendar years as a Carmelite made her realize how small and insignificant she was. She saw the limitations of all her efforts. She remained small and very far off from the unfailing love that she would wish to practice. She understood then that it was on this very littleness that she must learn to ask God’s help. Along with her camera, Céline had brought notebooks with her, passages from the Old Testament, which Thérèse did not have in Carmel. (The Louvain Bible, the translation authorized for French Catholics, did not include an Old Testament). In the notebooks Thérèse found a passage from Proverbs that struck her with particular force: “Whosoever is a little one, let him come to me” (Proverbs 9:4). And, from the book of Isaiah 66:12-13, she was profoundly struck by another passage: “you shall be carried at the breasts, and upon the knees they shall caress you. As one whom the mother caresseth, so will I comfort you.” She concluded that Jesus would carry her to the summit of sanctity. The smallness of Thérèse, her limits, became in this way grounds for joy, more than discouragement. It is only in Manuscript C of her autobiography that she gave to this discovery the name of little way,petite voie.
“I will seek out a means of getting to Heaven by a little way—very short and very straight, a little way that is wholly new. We live in an age of inventions; nowadays the rich need not trouble to climb the stairs, they have lifts instead. Well, I mean to try and find a lift by which I may be raised unto God, for I am too tiny to climb the steep stairway of perfection. […] Thine Arms, then, O Jesus, are the lift which must raise me up even unto Heaven. To get there I need not grow; on the contrary, I must remain little, I must become still less.”
Echoes of this way however are heard throughout her work. From February 1895 she would regularly sign her letters by adding very little, toute petite, in front of her name. According to the writer Ida Görres, however, this language should always be measured against the ‘unfailing, iron self-conquest of her whole life.’ “We know how intensely her life was given to the performance of duty, to the pursuit of good works, to the cultivation of all the virtues…[yet] she rejected all ascetic efforts which were directed not towards God but toward ones own perfection. It was on this view then, that she based her extraordinary refusal to consider her daily faults important.. because of her lack of illusions in her view of human beings, she assigned to these things, no more significance than they deserved.” “I have long believed that the Lord is more tender than a mother. I know that a mother is always ready to forgive trivial, involuntary misbehavior on the part of her child. Children are always giving trouble, falling down, getting themselves dirty, breaking things – but all this does not shake their parents’ love for them.“
Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.
but Thérèse actually wrote “little way” only three times, and she never wrote the phrase “spiritual childhood.” It was her sister Pauline who, after Thérèse’s death, adopted the phrase “the little way of spiritual childhood” to interpret Thérèse’s path. Years after Thérèse’s death, a Carmelite of Lisieux asked Pauline about this phrase and Pauline answered spontaneously “But you know well that Thérèse never used it! It is mine.” In May 1897, Thérèse wrote to Father Adolphe Roulland, “My way is all confidence and love.” To Maurice Bellière she wrote “and I, with my way, will do more than you, so I hope that one day Jesus will make you walk by the same way as me.”
Sometimes, when I read spiritual treatises in which perfection is shown with a thousand obstacles, surrounded by a crowd of illusions, my poor little mind quickly tires. I close the learned book which is breaking my head and drying up my heart, and I take up Holy Scripture. Then all seems luminous to me; a single word uncovers for my soul infinite horizons; perfection seems simple; I see that it is enough to recognize one’s nothingness and to abandon oneself, like a child, into God’s arms. Leaving to great souls, to great minds, the beautiful books I cannot understand, I rejoice to be little because only children, and those who are like them, will be admitted to the heavenly banquet.
Passages like this have left Thérèse open to the charge that her spirituality is sentimental, immature, and unexamined. Her proponents counter that she developed an approach to the spiritual life that people of every background can understand and adopt.
This is evident in her approach to prayer:
For me, prayer is a movement of the heart; it is a simple glance toward Heaven; it is a cry of gratitude and love in times of trial as well as in times of joy; finally, it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus…I have not the courage to look through books for beautiful prayers…I do like a child who does not know how to read; I say very simply to God what I want to say, and He always understands me.
Offering to merciful love
At the end of the second play that Thérèse had written on Joan of Arc, the costume she wore almost caught fire. The alcohol stoves used to represent the stake atRouen set fire to the screen behind which Thérèse stood. Thérèse did not flinch but the incident marked her. The theme of fire would assume an increasingly great place in her writings. On June 9, 1895, during a mass celebrating the feast of the Holy Trinity, Thérèse had a sudden inspiration that she must offer herself as a sacrificial victim to merciful love. At this time some nuns offered themselves as a victim to God’s justice. In her cell she drew up an ‘Act of Oblation’ for herself and for Céline, and on June 11, the two of them knelt before the miraculous Virgin and Thérèse read the document she had written and signed. In the evening of this life, I shall appear before You with empty hands, for I do not ask you lord to count my works.. According to biographer Ida Görres the document echoed the happiness she had felt when Father Alexis Prou, the Franciscan preacher, had assured her that her faults did not cause God sorrow. In the Oblation she wrote, “If through weakness I should chance to fall, may a glance from Your Eyes straightway cleanse my soul, and consume all my imperfections – as fire transforms all things into itself.”
In August 1895 the four Martin sisters were joined by their cousin, Marie Guerin, in religion, Sister Marie of the Eucharist. In October 1895 a young seminarian and subdeacon of the White Fathers, Abbé Bellière, asked the Carmel of Lisieux for a nun who would support – by prayer and sacrifice – his missionary work, and the souls that were in the future to be entrusted to him. Mother Agnes designated Thérèse. She never met Father Bellière but ten letters passed between them.
A year later Father Adolphe Roulland (1870–1934) of the Society of Foreign Missions requested the same service of the Lisieux Carmel. Once more Thérèse was assigned the duties of spiritual sister. “It is quite clear that Thérèse, in spite of all her reverence for the priestly office, in both cases felt herself to be the teacher and the giver. It is she who consoles and warns, encourages and praises, answers questions, offers corroboration, and instructs the priests in the meaning of her little way.”
The final years, disease and night of faith
Thérèse’s final years were marked by a steady decline that she bore resolutely and without complaint. Tuberculosis was the key element of Thérèse’s final suffering, but she saw that as part of her spiritual journey. After observing a rigorous Lenten fast in 1896, she went to bed on the eve of Good Friday and felt a joyous sensation. She wrote: “Oh! how sweet this memory really is!… I had scarcely laid my head upon the pillow when I felt something like a bubbling stream mounting to my lips. I didn’t know what it was.”
The next morning she found blood on her handkerchief and understood her fate. Coughing up of blood meant tuberculosis, and tuberculosis meant death. She wrote,
I thought immediately of the joyful thing that I had to learn, so I went over to the window. I was able to see that I was not mistaken. Ah! my soul was filled with a great consolation; I was interiorly persuaded that Jesus, on the anniversary of His own death, wanted to have me hear His first call!
Thérèse corresponded with a Carmelite mission in what was then French Indochina and was invited to join them, but, because of her sickness, could not travel.
As a result of tuberculosis, Thérèse suffered terribly. When she was near death “Her physical suffering kept increasing so that even the doctor himself was driven to exclaim, “Ah! If you only knew what this young nun was suffering!” During the last hours of Therese’s life, she said, “I would never have believed it was possible to suffer so much, never, never!” In July 1897, she made a final move to the monastery infirmary. On August 19, 1897, Therese received her last communion. She died on September 30, 1897 at the young age of 24. On her death-bed, she is reported to have said, “I have reached the point of not being able to suffer any more, because all suffering is sweet to me.”
Her last words were, “My God, I love you!”
Thérèse was buried on October 4, 1897, in the Carmelite plot in the municipal cemetery at Lisieux, where Louis and Zelie had been buried. Her body was exhumed in 1910; not Incorrupted, but had the pleasant Odour of Sanctity. In March 1923, however, before she was beatified, her body was returned to the Carmel of Lisieux, where it remains. The figure of Thérèse in the glass coffin is not her actual body but a gisant statue based on drawings and photos by Céline after Thérèse’s death. It contains her ribcage and other remnants of her body.
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At fourteen, Thérèse had understood her vocation to pray for priests, to be “an apostle to apostles”. In September 1890, at her canonical examination before she professed her religious vows, she was asked why she had come to Carmel. She answered “I came to save souls, and especially to pray for priests”. Throughout her life she prayed fervently for priests, and she corresponded with and prayed for a young priest, Adolphe Roulland, and a young seminarian, Maurice Bellière. She wrote to her sister “Our mission as Carmelites is to form evangelical workers who will save thousands of souls whose mothers we shall be.”
Thérèse was devoted to Eucharistic meditation and on February 26, 1895, shortly before she died wrote from memory and without a rough draft her poetic masterpiece “To Live by Love” which she had composed during Eucharistic meditation. During her life, the poem was sent to various religious communities and was included in a notebook of her poems.
The Child Jesus and the Holy Face
Thérèse entered the Discalced Carmelite order on April 9, 1888. On January 10, 1889, after a probationary period somewhat longer than the usual, she was given the habit and received the name Thérèse of the Child Jesus. On September 8, 1890, Thérèse took her vows. The ceremony of taking the veil followed on the 24th, when she added to her name in religion, “of the Holy Face”, a title which was to become increasingly important in the development and character of her inner life. In his “A l’ecole de Therese de Lisieux: maitresse de la vie spirituelle, “Bishop Guy Gaucher emphasizes that Therese saw the devotions to the Child Jesus and to the Holy Face as so completely linked that she signed herself “Therese de l’Enfant Jesus de la Sainte Face”—Therese of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face. In her poem “My Heaven down here”, composed in 1895, Therese expressed the notion that by the divine union of love, the soul takes on the semblance of Christ. By contemplating the sufferings associated with the Holy Face of Jesus, she felt she could become closer to Christ.
The devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus was promoted by another Carmelite nun, Sister Marie of St Peter in Tours, France in 1844. Then by Leo Dupont, also known as the Apostle of the Holy Face who formed the “Archconfraternity of the Holy Face” in Tours in 1851. Thérèse, who was a member of this confraternity, was introduced to the Holy Face devotion by her blood sister Pauline, known as Sister Agnes of Jesus.
Her parents, Louis and Zelie Martin, had also prayed at the Oratory of the Holy Face, originally established by Leo Dupont in Tours. Thérèse wrote many prayers to express her devotion to the Holy Face. She wrote the words “Make me resemble you, Jesus!” on a small card and attached a stamp with an image of the Holy Face. She pinned the prayer in a small container over her heart. In August 1895, in her “Canticle to the Holy Face,” she wrote:
“Jesus, Your ineffable image is the star which guides my steps. Ah, You know, Your sweet Face is for me Heaven on earth. My love discovers the charms of Your Face adorned with tears. I smile through my own tears when I contemplate Your sorrows.”
“He sees it disfigured, covered with blood!… unrecognizable!… And yet the divine Child does not tremble; this is what He chooses to show His love.“
She also composed the “Holy Face Prayer for Sinners”,
“Eternal Father, since Thou hast given me for my inheritance the adorable Face of Thy Divine Son, I offer that face to Thee and I beg Thee, in exchange for this coin of infinite value, to forget the ingratitude of souls dedicated to Thee and to pardon all poor sinners.“
Thérèse’s devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus was based on painted images of the Veil of Veronica,[clarification needed] as promoted by Leon Dupont fifty years earlier. However, over the decades, her poems and prayers helped to spread the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.
Autobiography – The Story of a Soul
St. Thérèse is known today because of her spiritual memoir, L’histoire d’une âme (The Story of a Soul), which she wrote upon the orders of two prioresses of her monastery because of the many miracles worked at her intercession. She began to write Story of a Soul in 1895 as a memoir of her childhood, under instructions from her sister Pauline, known in religion as Mother Agnes of Jesus. Mother Agnes gave the order after being prompted by their eldest sister, Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart. While Thérèse was on retreat in September 1896, she wrote a letter to Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart which also forms part of what was later published as “Story of a Soul”. In June 1897, Mother Agnes became aware of the seriousness of Thérèse’s illness. She immediately asked Mother Marie de Gonzague, who had succeeded her as prioress, to allow Thérèse to write another memoir with more details of her religious life. With selections from Therese’s letters and poems and reminiscences of her by the other nuns, it was published posthumously. It was heavily edited by Pauline (Mother Agnes), who made more than seven thousand revisions to Therese’s manuscript and presented it as a biography of her sister. Aside from considerations of style, Mother Marie de Gonzague had ordered Pauline to alter the first two sections of the manuscript to make them appear as if they were addressed to Mother Marie as well. Saint Therese had written her autobiography under obedience. While on her deathbed the Saint made many references to the book’s future appeal and benefit to souls.
Since 1973, two centenary editions of Thérèse’s original, unedited manuscripts, including The Story of a Soul, her letters, poems,prayers and the plays she wrote for the monastery recreations have been published in French. ICS Publications has issued a complete critical edition of her writings:Story of a Soul, Last Conversations, and the two volumes of her letters were translated by John Clarke, O.C.D.; The Poetry of Saint Thérèse by Donald Kinney, O.C.D.;The Prayers of St. Thérèse by Alethea Kane, O.C.D.; and The Religious Plays of St. Therese of Lisieux by David Dwyer and Susan Conroy.
Pope Pius X signed the decree for the opening of her process of canonization on June 10, 1914. Pope Benedict XV, in order to hasten the process, dispensed with the usual fifty-year delay required between death and beatification. On August 14, 1921, he promulgated the decree on the heroic virtues of Thérèse and gave an address on Thérèse’s way of confidence and love, recommending it to the whole Church.
Thérèse was beatified on April 29, 1923 and canonized on May 17, 1925, by Pope Pius XI, only 28 years after her death. Her feast day was added to the General Roman Calendar in 1927 for celebration on October 3. In 1969, 42 years later, Pope Paul VI moved it to October 1, the day after her dies natalis (birthday to heaven).
Thérèse of Lisieux is the patron saint of aviators, florists, illness(es) and missions. She is also considered by Catholics to be the patron saint of Russia, although the Russian Orthodox Church does not recognize either her canonization or her patronage. In 1927, Pope Pius XI named Thérèse co-patron of the missions, the equal of St. Francis Xavier. In 1944 Pope Pius XII decreed her a co-patron of France with St. Joan of Arc. The principal patron of France is the Blessed Virgin Mary.
By the Apostolic Letter Divini Amoris Scientia (The Science of Divine Love) of October 19, 1997, Pope John Paul II declared her a Doctor of the Church, one of only four women so named, the others being Teresa of Ávila (Saint Teresa of Jesus),Hildegard of Bingen and Catherine of Siena. Thérèse was the only saint to be named a Doctor of the Church during Pope John Paul II’s pontificate.
According to some biographies of Édith Piaf, in 1922 the singer — at the time, an unknown seven-year-old girl — was cured from blindness after a pilgrimage to the grave of Thérèse, who at the time was not yet formally canonized.
Grand celebration of her canonization
Therese was declared a saint five years and a day after Joan of Arc. However, the 1925 celebration for Therese “far outshone” that for the legendary heroine of France. At the time, Pope Pius XI revived the old custom of covering St. Peter’s with torches and tallow lamps. According to one account, “Ropes, lamps and tallows were pulled from the dusty storerooms where they had been packed away for 55 years. A few old workmen who remembered how it was done the last time — in 1870 — directed 300 men for two weeks as they climbed about fastening lamps to St. Peter’s dome.” The New York Times ran a front-page story about the occasion titled, “All Rome Admires St. Peter’s Aglow for a New Saint.” According to the Times, over 60,000 people, estimated to be the largest crowd inside St. Peter’s Basilica since the coronation of Pope Pius X, 22 years before, witnessed the canonization ceremonies. In the evening, 500,000 pilgrims pressed into the lit square.
Canonization of her parents
On October 18, 2015, Therese’s parents, Louis and Zelie Martin, were canonized. They were the first ever spouses to be proposed for canonization as a couple and the first to be canonized together. In 2004, the Archbishop of Milan accepted the unexpected cureof Pietro Schiliro, an Italian child born near Milan in 2002 with a lung disorder, as a miracle attributable to their intercession. Announced by Cardinal Saraiva Martins on July 12, 2008, at the ceremonies marking the 150th anniversary of the marriage of the Venerable Zelieand Louis Martin, their beatification as a couple (the last step before canonization) took place on October 19, 2008, in Lisieux. In 2011 the letters of Blessed Zélie and Louis Martin were published in English as A Call to a Deeper Love: The Family Correspondence of the Parents of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, 1863–1885. On January 7, 2013, in Valencia, Spain, the diocesan process opened to examine a “presumed miracle” attributed to their intercession: the healing of a newborn girl, Carmen Perez Pons, who was born prematurely four days after their beatification and who inexplicably recovered from severe bleeding of the brain and other complications. On May 21, 2013, the diocesan process to examine the miracle closed and the dossier was sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome. On June 27, 2015, Pope Francis announced that they would be canonized on October 18, 2015. Both Pietro Schiliro and Carmen Perez Pons, with their families, were present at the canonization.
Canonization cause of her sister Léonie
Thérèse’s sister, Léonie Martin, the only one of the five sisters who did not become a Carmelite nun, is also a candidate for sainthood. Leonie entered religious life three times before her fourth and final entrance in 1899 at the Monastery of the Visitation at Caen. She took the name Sister Françoise-Thérèse and was a fervent disciple of Thérèse’s way. She died in 1941 in Caen, where her tomb in the crypt of the Visitation Monastery has been visited by the public. On March 25, 2012, Mgr Jean-Claude Boulanger, Bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux, granted the imprimatur for a prayer asking that Leonie might be declared venerable. On July 2, 2015, the diocesan inquiry into Leonie’s life and possible sanctity was opened at the chapel of the Monastery of the Visitation at Caen. She is now styled “The Servant of God, Leonie Martin”.
Together with St. Francis of Assisi, St. Thérèse of Lisieux is one of the most popular Catholic saints since apostolic times. As a Doctor of the Church, she is the subject of much theological comment and study, and, as an appealing young woman whose message has touched the lives of millions, she remains the focus of much popular devotion.
Relics of St. Thérèse on a world pilgrimage
For many years Thérèse’s relics have toured the world, and thousands of pilgrims have thronged to pray in their presence. Although Cardinal Basil Hume had declined to endorse proposals for a tour in 1997, her relics finally visited England and Wales in late September and early October 2009, including an overnight stop in theAnglican York Minster on her feastday, October 1. A quarter of a million people venerated them.
On June 27, 2010, the relics of St. Thérèse made their first visit to South Africa in conjunction with the 2010 World Cup. They remained in the country until October 5, 2010.
The writing-desk St. Therese used at Carmel (a possession, not a “relic” like the relics of the bone) is touring the United States in September and October 2013, sponsored by the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States.
In November 2013, a new reliquary containing relics of St. Therese and of her parents, Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, was presented to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by the Magnificat Foundation. It was first exposed for veneration at the Magnificat Day on November 9, 2013. It is usually available for veneration at the Monastery of the Discalced Carmelite nuns in Philadelphia
The Congregation of the Saint Thérèse of Lisieux’s oblates was founded in 1933 by Gabriel Martin, priest in the diocese of Luçon (France) and Béatrix Douillard. Their mission is to evangelize in the parishes and to help St. Therese to “spend her heaven by doing good on earth”. The Congregation of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux was founded on March 19, 1931, by Mar Augustine Kandathil, the Metropolitan of the Catholic St. Thomas Christians, as the first Indian religious order for brothers.
Places named after St. Thérèse
A number of locations, churches, and schools throughout the world are named after Saint Thérèse.
The Basilica of St. Thérèse in her home town of Lisieux was consecrated on July 11, 1954. It has become a centre for pilgrims from all over the world. It was originally dedicated in 1937 by Cardinal Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII. The basilica can seat 4,000 people.
Devotees of St. Thérèse
Over the years, a number of prominent people have become devotees of St. Thérèse. These include:
- Jorge Mario Bergoglio – Pope Francis
- Albino Luciani – Pope John Paul I
- Henri Bergson – Nobel prize winner
- Padre Pio of Pietrelcina – Italian saint
- Ada Negri – Italian poet
- Giuseppe Moscati – Italian saint
- Maria Valtorta – Catholic mystic
- Francis Bourne – British Cardinal
- Thomas Merton – monk and writer
- Dorothy Day – co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement
- Georges Bernanos – French author
- Fernando del Valle – Operatic Tenor
- Jack Kerouac – American author
- Maximilian Kolbe – Polish saint and martyr of Auschwitz
- Jean Vanier – founder of l’Arche
- Édith Piaf – French singer
- Mother Teresa of Calcutta – Saint and Foundress of the Missionaries of Charity
- Alphonsa – First Indian Saint
- Anna Schaffer – German Saint
- Marcel Van – religious and mystic.
Works inspired by Thérèse
- In films
- 1952: André Haguet, Procès au Vatican (“Trial at the Vatican”), life of Thérèse based on original documents in consultation with the abbé Combes.
- 1964: Philippe Agostini, Le Vrai Visage de Thérèse of Lisieux (“The True Face of Thérèse of Lisieux”), short documentary.
- 1986: Alain Cavalier, Thérèse, biographical evocation, a film rewarded in 1987 with 6 César Awards including the César Award for Best Film.
- 2004: Leonardo Defilippis, “Thérèse: The Story of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux”.
- In music
- The Carmelite monk and musician Pierre Éliane has released four discs on the poetry of Therese. Thérèse songs, three discs from 1992 to 1994, and Sainte Therese de Lisieux – poesies (1997). The original texts are sung in full over melodies composed by Pierre Éliane.
- In 2013 Grégoire set some of the poems of Thérèse to music in an album called Thérèse – Vivre d’amour, with collaborating artists Natasha St-Pier, Anggun,Michael Lonsdale, Grégory Turpin, Les Stentors, Sonia Lacen, Elisa Tovati, Monseigneur di Falco and The Little Singers of Paris.
- Spiritual Childhood: The Spirituality of St. Thérèse of Lisieux by Vernon Johnson, 1954; Ignatius Press, third edition, 2001. ISBN 0-89870-826-5
- Story of a Soul: the Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux translated from the original manuscripts by John Clarke, O.C.D. Third edition, 1996. ISBN 0-935216-58-8
- Story of a Life: St. Thérèse of Lisieux by Guy Gaucher, O.C.D. HarperOne: 1193. ISBN 978-0-06-063096-6
- Thérèse of Lisieux: a biography by Patricia O’Connor, 1984 ISBN 0-87973-607-0
- Thérèse of Lisieux: the way to love by Ann Laforest, 2000 ISBN 1-58051-082-5
- The Story of a Soul by T. N. Taylor, 2006 ISBN 1-4068-0771-0
- Thérèse of Lisieux by Joan Monahan, 2003 ISBN 0-8091-6710-7
- Thérèse of Lisieux: God’s gentle warrior by Thomas R. Nevin, 2006 ISBN 0-19-530721-6
- Therese and Lisieux by Pierre Descouvemont, Helmuth Nils Loose, 1996 ISBN 0-8028-3836-7
- St. Thérèse of Lisieux: a transformation in Christ by Thomas Keating, 2001 ISBN 1-930051-20-4
- Thérèse of Lisieux: Through Love and Suffering by Murchadh O Madagain, 2003 ISBN
- 15 Days of Prayer with Saint Thérèse of Lisieux by Constant Tonnelier, 2011 ISBN 978-1-56548-391-0
- St. Therese of the Roses
- Book of the First Monks
- Byzantine Discalced Carmelites
- Carmelite Rule of St. Albert
- Constitutions of the Carmelite Order
- National Shrine of the Little Flower
- Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Parish Church
- Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites
- Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate
- Victim soul
- St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Church
- Shrine of Alençon: St. Therese’s birthplace.
- McBrien, Richard P. (2001). The Pocket Guide to the Saints (1st paperback ed.). New York: HarperCollins. p. 672. ISBN 0-06065340-X. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
- Cumming, Owen F. (2007). Prophets, Guardians, and Saints. Shapers of Modern Catholic History. Jamaica Estates, Queens, New York City: Paulist Press. ISBN 0-8091-4446-8. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
- Flinn, Frank K. (2006). Encyclopedia of Catholicism. Manhattan, New York City: Infobase Publishing. p. 598. ISBN 0-8160-7565-4. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
- Descouvemont, Pierre; Loose, Helmuth Nils (1996). Therese and Lisieux. Toronto: Novalis. p. 5. ISBN 2-890-88862-2. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
- Vatican website: Proclamation as Doctor of the Church.
- Görres, Ida Friederike (1959). The Hidden Face. A Study of St. Thérèse of Lisieux (8th ed.). New York City: Pantheon. p. 4. ISBN 0-89870927-X.
- Thérèse of Lisieux: God’s gentle warrior by Thomas R. Nevin, 2006, ISBN 0-19-530721-6, p. 26.
- Guy Gaucher, The Spiritual Journey of Therese of Lisieux, p. 2.
- Shrine of Alençon: St. Therese’s birthplace.
- Shrine of Alençon: Zelie Martin’s life.
- Shrine of Alençon: Zelie Martin, a lacemaker.
- Shrine of Alençon: Louis Martin’s life.
- Shrine of Alençon: The watchmaker’s shop.
- Descouvemont, Loose, p. 14.
- Shrine of Alençon: Rue Saint-Blaise’s home.
- Shrine of Alençon: The father of St. Therese.
- Shrine of Alençon: the mother of St. Therese.
- Shrine of Alençon: Basilica Notre Dame of Alençon.
- Shrine of Alençon: Zelie Martin, holiness in work.
- Shrine of Alençon: a work of patience.
- Shrine of Alençon: lacemaking business.
- Görres, pp. 41-42.
- Shrine of Alençon: Rose Taillé’s house.
- Shrine of Alençon: The saint Therese’s nurse.
- Shrine of Alençon: The social of the Martin family.
- Descouvemont, Loose, p. 24.
- Gaucher, p. 19.
- Shrine of Alençon: The church of the Zelie Martin’s funerals.
- Ordinary Suffering of Extraordinary Saints by Vincent J. O’Malley, 1999, ISBN 0-87973-893-6, p. 38.
- Görres, p. 66.
- Shrine of Alençon.
- Summarium 1, 1914.
- Görres, p. 73.
- Thérèse of Lisieux: a biography by Patricia O’Connor, 1984, ISBN 0-87973-607-0, p. 19.
- Descouvemont, Loose, p. 53.
- Gaucher, p. 47.
- Thérèse of Lisieux: a biography by Patricia O’Connor, 1984, ISBN 0-87973-607-0, p. 22.
- Thérèse of Lisieux: the way to love by Ann Laforest, 2000, ISBN 1-58051-082-5, p. 15.
- The Story of a Soul by T. N. Taylor, 2006, ISBN 1-4068-0771-0, p. 32.
- Manuscript A, chapter 3, Story of a Soul.
- Descouvemont, Loose, p. 52.
- Thérèse of Lisieux by Joan Monahan, 2003, ISBN 0-8091-6710-7, p. 45.
- Monahan, p. 54.
- Kathryn Harrison, Saint Therese of Lisieux, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2003, p. 21.
- Görres, The Hidden Face, p. 112.
- Harrison, p. 63.
- Görres, p. 83.
- Karen Armstrong, “The Gospel according to woman: Christianity’s creation of the sex war in the West“, p. 234, London, 1986.
- Monica Furlong, Thérèse of Lisieux, p. 9, London, 2001.
- Jean François Six, La verdadera infancia de Teresa de Lisieux: neurosis y santidad, passim, Spain, 1976.
- Harrison, p. 21, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2003.
- The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, 2003, Dover Press, ISBN 0-486-43185-1.
- Görres, pp. 126-127.
- Görres, p. 149.
- Thérèse of Lisieux: A Biography, by Patricia O’Connor, 1984, p. 34, ISBN 0-87973-607-0.
- Harrison, p. 69.
- Görres, p. 153.
- Phyllis G. Jestice, Holy people of the world Published by ABC-CLIO, 2004, ISBN 1-57607-355-6.
- Gaucher, p. 77.
- Görres, pp. 153-4.
- Clarke, John O.C.D. trans. The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, 3rd Edition (Washington, DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1996).
- Görres, pp. 193-5.
- Görres, p. 202.
- “An essay illustrated with 19th century photos to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the day St. Therese of Lisieux entered Carmel, April 9, 1888” at thereseoflisieux.org. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
- The Story of a Soul by T. N. Taylor, 2006, ISBN 1-4068-0771-0, p. 63.
- Gaucher, p. 92.
- Görres, p. 260.
- Gaucher, p. 99.
- Harrison, p. 91.
- Görres, pp. 250-1.
- Gaucher, p. 109.
- Görres, p. 258.
- Last Conversations, 5 August 1897.
- Görres, p. 261.
- Harrison, p. 97.
- Harrison, p. 98.
- Gaucher, p. 118.
- Harrison, p. 108.
- General Correspondence, volume 2, p. 762.
- Görres, p. 114.
- Harrison, p. 111.
- A Memoir of my Sister, Céline Martin.
- Görres, p. 401.
- Harrison, p. 118.
- The Martin family’s relentless promotion of Thérèse and recreating her in a hagiographic image through photographs, paintings, drawings and writings is documented in Sophia Deboick’s Image, Authenticity and the Cult of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, 1897-1959 (Univ. of Liverpool, 2011) entire text online at academia.edu.
- Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus (1985). Histoire d’une âme. Manuscrits autobiographiques (in French). Paris: Cerf. pp. 236, 302. ISBN 2-20402076-1.ISBN 978-2-204-02076-3.
- Saint Thérèse de Lisieux (2012). The Story of a Soul (L’Histoire d’une Âme). The Autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux With Additional Writings and Sayings of St. Thérèse. Hamburg: Tredition GmbH. ISBN 3-8472-0699-0.
- Görres, p. 331.
- BENEDICT XVI (6 April 2011). “GENERAL AUDIENCE”. vatican.va. Retrieved31 May 2016.
- “La petite voie – Le Carmel en France”. Carmel.asso.fr. 2012-10-08. Retrieved2012-11-08.
- “The Life of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux”. vatican.va. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- BENEDICT XVI (6 April 2011). “GENERAL AUDIENCE”. vatican.va. Retrieved31 May 2016.
- POPE JOHN PAUL II (19 October 1997). “APOSTOLIC LETTER DIVINI AMORIS SCIENTIA SAINT THÉRÈSE OF THE CHILD JESUS AND THE HOLY FACE IS PROCLAIMED A DOCTOR OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH”. vatican.va. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- POPE FRANCIS (30 December 2015). “GENERAL AUDIENCE”. vatican.va. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- (Italian) Pio IX (17 May 1925). “Celebrazione eucaristica in onore di santa Teresa del Bambin Gesù”. vatican.va. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- “The Power of Confidence: Genesis and Structure of the “Way of Spiritual Childhood” of St. Therese of Lisieux. Staten Island, NY: Alba House (Society of St. Paul), 1988, p. 5.
- Therese’s prayer.
- Descouvemont, Loose, p. 219.
- Görres, p. 188.
- Görres, p. 189.
- The making of a social disease: tuberculosis in nineteenth-century France by David S. Barnes, 1995, ISBN 0-520-08772-0, p. 66.
- Therese of Lisieux CTS Stories Great Saints Series by Vernon Johnson, p. 54.
- Therese of Lisieux CTS Stories Great Saints Series by Vernon Johnson, p. 62.
- Deboick, p. 13.
- Descouvemont, Loose, p. 245.
- Collected poems of St Thérèse of Lisieux by Saint Thérèse (de Lisieux), Alan Bancroft, 2001, ISBN 0-85244-547-4, p. 75.
- Görres, p. 164.
- Thomas R. Nevin, Thérèse of Lisieux: God’s gentle warrior Oxford University Press US, 2006, ISBN 0-19-530721-6, pp. 184 and 228.
- Catholic Encyclopedia: Reparation.
- Dorothy Scallan, The Holy Man of Tours (1990), ISBN 0-89555-390-2.
- Therese joined this confraternity on April 26, 1885. See Derniers Entretiens, Desclee de Brouwer/Editions Du Cerf, 1971, Volume I, p. 483.
- Paulinus Redmond, 1995 Louis and Zelie Martin: The Seed and the Root of the Little Flower, Cimino Press, ISBN 1-899163-08-5, p. 257.
- Ann Laforest, Thérèse of Lisieux: The Way to Love Published by Rowman & Littlefield, 2000, ISBN 1-58051-082-5, p. 61.
- Descouvemont, Loose, p. 137.
- On the meaning and importance of Therese’poems we can made to the work of Bernard Bonnejean, La Poésie thérésienne, prefaced by Constant Tonnelier, Paris, Éditions du Cerf, 2006, ISBN 2-204-07785-2; ISBN 978-2-20407-785-9, in French.
- Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 104.
- Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 141.
- “Saint Therese of Lisieux”. Patron Saints Index. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
- Apostolic Letter Divinis Amoris Scientia, October 19, 1997.
- Freze, Michael (September 1993). Voices, Visions, and Apparitions. OSV Press. p. 251. ISBN 0-87973-454-X.
- Carolyn, Burke (March 22, 2011). No Regrets: The Life of Edith Piaf. Knopf. p. 10.ISBN 0-307-26801-2.
- O’Connor, Patricia M. (1984). Thérèse of Lisieux: A Biography. Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor. p. 153. ISBN 978-0-87973-607-1.
- Loose, Helmuth N (1996). Therese and Lisieux. Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA: Wm. B. Eerdmans. p. 335. ISBN 978-0-8028-3836-0.
- Shrine Louis and Zelie Martin (Alençon-France) – The path to canonization.
- Shrine Louis and Zelie Martin (Alençon-France) – The miracle.
- “Saint Therese of Lisieux – The events of Beatification Sunday, October 19”. Thereseoflisieux.org. 2008-10-19. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- “Béatification à Lisieux des parents de sainte Thérèse” (in French). L’essemtiel des saints et des prénoms. Prenommer. October 19, 2008. Retrieved 22 October2008.
- “God’s Word renews Christian life” (PDF). l’Osservatore Romano. Holy See. 22 October 2008. Retrieved October 22, 2008.
- Shrine Louis and Zelie Martin (Alençon-France) – The message of the blessed Louis and Zelie Martin.
- Saint Therese of Lisieux: A Gateway.
- Cumming, Owen F. (2006). Prophets, Guardians, and Saints: Shapers of Modern Catholic History. Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-8091-4446-4. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
St. Therese of Lisieux has become one of the most popular saints of all time, commanding, for example, the devotion of the singer Edith Piaf, brought up in a brothel in Lisieux and not particularly active as a Catholic
- Tens of Thousands Flock to St. Thérèse Relics, By Anna Arco, 25 September 2009, The Catholic Herald (UK) .
- “Saint Therese of Lisieux – St. Therese’s Relics Visit South Africa”. Thereseoflisieux.org. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
- Shrine of Alençon: The meaning of relics.
- The Saint Thérèse of Lisieux’s oblates.
- The foundation’s story of the Saint Thérèse of Lisieux’s oblates.
- Fr. George Thalian: The Great Archbishop Mar Augustine Kandathil, D. D.: the Outline of a Vocation, Mar Louis Memorial Press, 1961. (Postscript) (PDF).
- Titles at the Internet Movie Database
Saint Michael was one of the lower angels. Lucifer was the highest angel. How did Lucifer fall and how did Saint Michael get his name (Mi Cha El?).
Here’s a free video from the New Saint Thomas Institute on the subject of Satan and Michael. You’ll learn about the creation of the angels, the fall of Satan according to Saint Augustine, and the reason Saint Michael is called “Mi Cha El.”
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Read the source and comments: http://taylormarshall.com/2016/09/st-michael-vs-lucifer-why-st-michael-won.html
Fallen angels, Protestants in the sky,
Two thirds of the Angels in Heaven remained loyal to God. Fallen angels, Protestants in the sky, were thrown out of Heaven by Michael and the loyal Angels among the Nine Choirs whom God created to do His Work.
The same war once waged in Heaven is fought here. Each human mind since Adam and Eve is a battleground. Pride fights obedience in the minds of every man, woman, and child. Dark, destroying demons draw our souls to sin.
Our senses take in images of wealth, power, and sex. We may let ourselves be drawn to them. We sink into sin as thoughts become words, then deeds.
There are Nine Choirs of Angels. Some can be as small as the electrons that move positive charges in our neural connections.
Opposing them? Seven Tribes of Demons strive to short-circuit the thoughts that keep us obedient to The Loving God.
Pride, envy, greed, gluttony, anger, lust, and sloth draw all whom they can to disobedience.
Demons, like the angels, may be as small as electrons. Racing through the neural fibers of our minds, they seek to cancel the connections that draw us to belief and obedience.
The seemingly “Christian” snares of Protestantism are invisible to those ensnared. “I have a ‘personal relationship’ with Jesus, and that is all I need!”, they announce, with varying degrees of pomposity.
“My personal relationship with God allows me to disobey whichever of His commands I want.” reflects the pride of many Protestants in every generation. That same pride that possessed Adam and Eve as they ate of the forbidden fruit.
The Bright Light of Heaven shines upon the obedient. God promised one way to life, repeating His bizarre Winnowing Instruction EIGHTEEN TIMES, “If you do not eat My Body and drink My Blood you do not have life in you.”
On earth, as it once was in Heaven, the pride of every protester is made manifest in all who ignore The Only Church He Founded.
Read the source and comments: http://catholicfundamentalism.com/fallen-angels-protestants-sky/19254
Related Articles/ Videos click below:
Readings & Reflections: Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels, September 29,2016 http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/09/28/readings-reflections-feast-of-saints-michael-gabriel-and-raphael-archangels-september-292016/
The Angels are purely spiritual creatures, incorporeal, invisible, immortal, and personal beings endowed with intelligence and will. They ceaselessly contemplate God face-to-face and they glorify him. They serve him and are his messengers in the accomplishment of his saving mission to all (CCC:328-333;350-351). The Church joins with the angels in adoring God, invokes their assistance and commemorates some in her liturgy. “Beside each believer stands an angel as a protector and shepherd leading him to life” (St. Basil the Great; CCC: 334-336; 352).
Sacred Scripture says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The Church in her profession of faith proclaims that God is the Creator of everything, visible and invisible, of all spiritual and corporeal beings, that is, of angels and of the visible world and, in a special way, of man (CCC: 325-327).