Laudetur Iesus Christus!
Nunc et in æternum! Amen.
Memorial of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face), Virgin and Doctor of the Church
We had the nephew over the weekend! He’s so dang cute! My father and I took him to the park Saturday and that kid never stopped running around. I took him on the big playscape that my sister and I used to play on when we were little (don’t worry, they maintain it … for the property taxes my parents pay … they better). He wouldn’t go on the really tall slides until I went down them. So, I did. Mind you, the maximum age is 12 years old. I missed that by 13 years or so. I couldn’t get down the twisty slides quickly because my legs are too long. That and I kept getting shocked from all the static electricity. Needless to say, the nephew was amused. He also found two sticks and we pretended like they were light sabers. That kid put me to shame. lol I think I still have splinters in my pancreas.
Eventually, I coaxed him to go down the slide with me (he sat on my lap the first time but then he went down by himself after that). Then he wanted to climb up the slides but he wanted me to go up first to make sure it was safe. I scaled those things quickly. I was so proud of myself. He still wouldn’t do it so I called him a chicken and started to cluck and generally act chicken-like (like I have any shame at this point? Ha.).
He went up to prove to me that he wasn’t a chicken. Several times. While telling me that I could do it. So I climbed up after him. He would scream and then laugh as he tried to loosen my grip from the slide. lol
We took him grocery shopping so he can pick the cereal he wanted (Lucky Charms), I told him that he has Jedi powers that allow him to open doors without touching them. I told him when he walks up to the (automatic) doors of the grocery store to put his hand out and say “Jedi!”
I had a nerdy cute moment because he was so amazed. “Wow, A-iii! Did I do that?” And I could tell him without having to lie to him that he did! WIN. He also used his Jedi powers to open to garage door. lol
Then we went to my paternal grandparents’ house yesterday after Mass. He loves rough-housing his Auntie Allie. I let him think he beats me up. I pick him up and flip him over in all different ways. I hold him in a headlock and threaten to give him a noogie (my brother did it to my sister and me). The kid just laughs, screams, and runs back for more.
He also likes to walk on my back. For that there are only two rules: Not on Allie’s head and tell Allie before you are going to jump (he is just the right weight that he cracks my back just enough). One time the bugger jumped on my back so hard that you could hear the crack across the room. It hurt for like five seconds but I felt REALLY good after it. So now whenever he comes over, he knows he has to walk on Auntie Allie’s back. My brother (his father) used to have my sister and I walk on his back when we were my nephew’s age so it’s a family thing. lol
Can’t wait until he’s back this weekend for four whole days! :)
Moving on …
Happy Saint Thérèse’s Day! The Little Flower is my Confirmation patroness. And, sad to say, she was kinda my backup when it came to selecting a saint because my first choices were Saint Aloysius (I wonder why?) and Saint Michael the Archangel (again, I wonder why?) but when I was in grade school, girls could only select female saints and the boys could only select male saints. Apparently it continued even to when my sister was confirmed two years later because she had selected Saint Gabriel the Archangel but the bishop confirmed her with the female form of the name. Never mind that angels are technically sex-less (are they? I haven’t cracked open my Summa in a while … isn’t it there?) but that’s besides the point.
Being told that I couldn’t select the saint I wanted, I had to figure one out. Being the spiritually immature (still am) child of God that I was (am), I dug into my favorite saints’ lives book once again (I tell you, I still go back to that book to this day). The life of Saint Thérèse was the one that I found interesting. I can’t tell you why exactly but it probably had to do with her simplicity of life and her love for God. My love for Theology was still in its nascent stages so things were just starting to grow. But I will bet that those two things were what got me. Those and the fact that she was a nun … which seemed legit for me since I was looking at becoming a sister one day.
And there is a more personal reason. My father had a sister, Theresa, whom I never met because she died before I was born. She had leukemia and died while she was in high school (my alma mater) and her funeral was actually at my old high school (in the beautiful chapel … lovely marble high altar and statuary). My choosing Saint Thérèse for my Confirmation patroness is in part a tribute to her though I never met her. Part of my paternal grandparents’ present to me for my Confirmation was the statue of Saint Thérèse that belonged to my aunt. it’s just the right size to put on my Mary altar next to my statue of Our Lady of Fatima. It is one of my most prized possessions.
I have not been as devoted to Saint Thérèse as I probably should be considering that she is my Confirmation patroness. With as many patrons as I have, it can be difficult to stay as devoted to each of them as I ought (bad excuse) but I do love good Saint Thérèse. I have prayed to her (especially the five day “novena”). I have a few holy cards of hers and I have her autobiography “The Story of a Soul.”
And, to be honest, I have only read her autobiography maybe once. And that one time was an academic read. There’s a difference between reading a book spiritually and academically. When I did my academic read of “The Story of a Soul” I was doing a systematic analysis of what was being said. While, of course, I did acknowledge the immense spiritual value of what she was trying to say, I have to admit that I did not really allow it to soak in as much as I should have.
I think I can use my reading of “The Imitation of Christ” as an illustration of what I consider spiritual reading as opposed to academic reading in case some don’t really see the difference.
I have been reading Imitation for a couple months now. I only read it when I am in church. I typically read it after praying my Office in the morning. I only read a bit at a time. Sometimes I read a few sections, other times just one or two. There is no real set of sections I have to read a day. I just read until I decide to put it down.
When I read academically, I have a deadline so I go through the text, divide it up into similarly-sized chunks that usually have x number of chapters on them depending on how many days I have/want to spend reading and if I have other things to do after reading (typically, I would give myself at least three days to write a paper after depending on the class and the text). Academic reading for me is systematically reading the allotted sections. Sometimes I speed-read it. Other times I will go through and thoroughly read the pages, it all depends on the situation. I might take notes and I usually underline important things (in pencil) and scrawl notes in the margins.
So with all that said, I hope to do a spiritual reading of Saint Thérèse’s autobiography one day. My plan at this point is to finish Imitation and then move onto Saint Francis DeSales’ An Introduction to the Devout Life and then see where I go from there. I just got Mary, Model and Mother of
Consecrated Life: A Marian Synthesis of the Theology of Consecrated Life According to the Teaching of Pope John Paul II from Opus Sanctorum Angelorum so I am hoping to read that soon too. We’ll see where the Lord leads me.
Saint Thérèse’s “Little Way” of which she speaks in her autobiography, is an simple (not easy) way of doing the most good for God. One does not need to do great and awesome things for God in order to show one’s love for Him. Taking every aspect of every day, from the mundane to the major, and doing it to the best of our ability for the love of God is a sure way of developing one’s relationship with God. To some it may seem overly simplistic but it’s usually the most simple things that have the most value (both spiritually and temporally). Holiness need not be complicated. It can be as simple as smiling genuinely at someone with whom we may not necessarily get along.
There is at least one thing that Saint Thérèse and I have in common though and I think this image will give you an idea:
I am convinced that there is a reason I have a devotion to both the Infant Jesus (of Prague) and the Passion of Our Lord. It didn’t really hit me until I realized what her surnames were: Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. As you can see by the image she hold, the Holy Face is that which was imprinted on Saint Veronica’s veil at the Passion.
So maybe, in her own way, though I have not been as devoted to her as I ought, she’s been watching over me. I do wear her medal around my neck along with my other medals (Saint Michael, Saint Aloysius, Miraculous Medal, crucifix, Four-Way Medal, and Our Lady of Czestochowa). I have gotten a couple “roses” from her. My most recent was a few months ago when I finished a “five day novena.” One day, I was praying in church when I look down and at my feet are some rose petals that had dried up a bit. I sit in the same spot every day and I had not seen these things before so I took it as something maybe.
A couple days after that, my prayer was answered. I still have those rose petals. I have them by my Infant of Prague statue. I have found that sometimes you don’t necessarily get “roses” but something like it. Sometimes I will smell roses or I will find an image of a rose … something rose-themed.
All right. I have to get some work done. Today is the first day of Catechism and I have to be at school by four o’clock for 4:15 session. I am going to head over a bit early and make a Via Crucis on my iPod (I have several different recordings … the Environmental Way of the Cross NOT being one of them) while I walk there since I already prayed my daily Rosary for priests and seminarians.
Have a nice day and a blessed Feast (okay, Memorial … she’s a Doctor of the Church … it ought to be a Feast but I am not biased)!