Sometimes I don’t live like it. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I get discouraged, and I don’t think I’ll ever really get there. But ultimately, my one deepest desire is to be united with Jesus in Heaven; I want to be a Saint.
When I was younger, it was the stories of the lives of the Saints that inspired me. They helped me to discover and fall in love with my Catholic faith. I was fascinated with the different lives that they lived, the courage that they had in the face of persecution, trial and even death. They lived lives that were so consumed by the love of Jesus that nothing was too big of a sacrifice if only they could gain Heaven, and in that, life eternal with Him who they loved above all else.
In formation we have been reading The Story of a Soul, the autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux. This is my third time reading it, and I am really enjoying it. But I have to be honest, the first time I read it I quit half way through because I found her to be too sentimental, childish and un-relatable…doesn’t say a whole lot for me since the Church has declared her a Doctor of the Church based on her theology of the Little Way that is found mainly in this book. I reluctantly read it a second time at the request of my husband who credits most of his spirituality and understanding of what a missionary heart is to St Therese. I was able to see more of the nuggets of gold that are spread throughout the book the second time but still wasn’t completely sold on the genius of it all until this year as I read it a third time. Maybe it’s because I conceded to name our first-born daughter after her, or maybe it’s because as a mother, my greatest desire for my daughter is holiness and for her to know the love of the Father. Whatever the change in me, it is like I am reading a totally different book. St. Therese’s little way of holiness is so attainable! She shows us how we can offer up little inconveniences and suffering to the Lord each moment of the day. She models the complete trust and confidence in the Lord as a little child has with their father. She teaches us to turn away from things that would distract us from our ultimate goal of heaven.
St. Ignatius of Loyola’s First Principle and Foundation is: “Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God Our Lord, and by this means to save his soul. The other things on the face of the earth are created for man to help him in attaining the end for which he is created. Hence, man is to make use of them in as far as they help him in the attainment of his end, and he must rid himself of them in as far as they prove a hindrance to him.”
Am I in love with Jesus enough to say no to the things that distract me from Him and His will for me? Am I willing to leave a conversation that is inappropriate or to avoid gossip? Am I ready to turn off a movie or a TV show if the message, language or values of the movie are not in line with the Truth that I claim to live? Am I more concerned about impressing others with my fashion or pleasing the Lord with my modesty? Am I able to find joy in struggles and suffering or do I choose to wallow in my own self-pity?
St. Therese says, “Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be.” Holiness is attainable. How are we choosing holiness today? St Therese, pray for us!
All for Love,