Friday, October 1, 2010

Our Heavenly Friend

Our community has a number of saints we consider our special "heavenly friends." Today's saint is one of them - St. Therese of Lisieux. When our retired bishop said Mass for us this morning he commented that he was honored to be able to participate in the process where all the Bishops in the world voted to support her elevation to the rank of "Doctor of the Church." Imagine this little 24-year-old cloistered Carmelite nun was so inspired by the wisdom of God that she ranks with St. Augustine and the other famous Doctors of the Church

Her life and wisdom have inspired me deeply. Today I re-read an excerpt from her autobiography that recounts her discovery of her vocation in the Church. Here is the excerpt:

When I had looked upon the mystical body of the Church, I recognised myself in none of the members which St. Paul described, and what is more, I desired to distinguish myself more favourably within the whole body. Love appeared to me to be the hinge for my vocation. Indeed I knew that the Church had a body composed of various members, but in this body the necessary and more noble member was not lacking; I knew that the Church had a heart and that such a heart appeared to be aflame with love. I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more. I saw and realised that love sets off the bounds of all vocations, that love is everything, that this same love embraces every time and every place. In one word, that love is everlasting.

Then, nearly ecstatic with the supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction.

Dear St. Therese, pray that each one of us may realize our own calling to love.

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