Oct 1 – Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor, Patroness of Missions
Born to a pious middle-class French family of tradesmen, Francoise-Marie Therese Martin (1873–1897) was the daughter of Blessed Louis Martin and Blessed Marie-Azelie Guerin Martin, and all four of her sisters became nuns. Her mother died when Francoise-Marie was only four, and the family moved to Lisieux, Normandy, France to be closer to family.
She was cured from an illness at the age of 8 when a statue of the Blessed Virgin smiled at her. She was educated by the Benedictine nuns of Notre-Dame-du-Pre, and confirmed there at the age of 11. Just before her 14th birthday, she received a vision of the Child Jesus. She immediately understood the great sacrifice that had been made for her, and developed an unshakeable faith.
She tried to join the Carmelites, but was turned down due to her age. She was a pilgrim to Rome for the Jubilee of Pope Leo XIII whom she met and who knew of her desire to become a nun. She joined the Carmelites at Lisieux on 9 April 1888 at the age of 15, taking her final vow on 8 September 1890 at the age of 17.
She is known by all for her complete devotion to spiritual development and to the austerities of the Carmelite Rule. Due to health problems resulting from her ongoing fight with tuberculosis, her superiors ordered her not to fast. She became novice mistress at the age of 20, and at age 22 was ordered by her prioress to begin writing her memories and ideas. The material would turn into the book History of a Soul.
She defined her path to God and holiness at The Little Way, which consisted of child-like love and trust in God. She had an ongoing correspondence with the Carmelite missionaries in China, often stating how much she wanted to come work with them. Many miracles are attributed to her and she was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1997 by Pope John Paul II.
“You know well enough that our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.” – Saint Therese of Lisieux
- Patron Saint Index
The Lord of Hosts says this: ‘There will be other peoples yet, and citizens of great cities. And the inhabitants of one city will go to the next and say, “Come, let us go and entreat the favour of the Lord, and seek the Lord of Hosts; I am going myself.” And many peoples and great nations will come to seek the Lord of Hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favour of the Lord.’
The Lord of Hosts says this: ‘In those days, ten men of nations of every language will take a Jew by the sleeve and say, “We want to go with you, since we have learnt that God is with you.”’
As the time drew near for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely took the road for Jerusalem and sent messengers ahead of him. These set out, and they went into a Samaritan village to make preparations for him, but the people would not receive him because he was making for Jerusalem. Seeing this, the disciples James and John said, ‘Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to burn them up?’ But he turned and rebuked them, and they went off to another village.
We want to go with you
I have been pondering lately over the question of succession – both at work and within my ministry. In each instance, I am at different ends of the scale. At work, I am struggling to find someone who is capable of delivering to a level that I am accustomed to, only because the person I had planned to groom left a month back. So I am back to my sometimes non-existent, not-as-highly visible deputy who, while capable, is not assertive enough.
In ministry, while I have had the opportunity to step up on a few occasions, I feel that while I am doing well at fixing some operational and logistics issues that have lingered for a while, I am yet to level up in terms of my worship leading. So while I am taking vocal classes to improve my technique, I fall short when it comes to the spiritual aspects.
I have tried to look at both situations from various perspectives and can only surmise that these two trials that I am going through will lead to a larger realisation of where He is taking me on my leadership journeys. Interestingly, I have also been approached by an old friend to consider a move to something more ‘exciting’, in an environment which I am more accustomed to – where everyone brings their ‘A-game’ each and every day.
I told him that his timing was rather uncanny. I have been growing increasingly frustrated with some of my colleagues and I shared that among my team of 14, I would only bring 2 along should I ever make the move. I am pretty sure that even if the others asked me to take them, I would say ‘No’. What then does that say of me as a leader? Am I prepared to walk away from a team who have stuck with me through thick and thin since 2012?
And if I were to be thrust into a leadership role in ministry, I wonder how many will confidently say, “We’ll stand by you”? After all, I am merely a newbie, undergoing some training and trying to impart my knowledge and skills to others. And while there are those who encourage and affirm, I know there are others who doubt and question. To be fair, I would too, if I were in their shoes.
Brothers and sisters, some of us are called to lead and, in many instances, we find ourselves questioning our abilities. Remember that Jesus never called priests, nor those who were learned. He gathered fishermen and turned them into fishers of men. Let us not allow the devil to plant seeds of doubt in our minds and resolutely follow our shining star and guiding light – Jesus Christ.
(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep us faithful and focussed on the road ahead through our daily prayers and help us to see your guiding hand in all that we do.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for always guiding us gently along in our spiritual journey.