St Therese of Lisieux is one of the Doctors of the Roman Catholic Church. She did not attend University nor in fact receive any formal “education” as we might imagine it, or is it to suffer it, today!
Millions of copies of her biography have been sold worldwide and translated into over 50 languages. A remarkable fact for a young French girl who was dead by the age of 24.
So what was it about her that continues to attract the eyes of the Faithful as well as the inquirer into what the purpose and goal of life truly is all about? She certainly possessed holiness from a very young age and was brought up to understand what she ought to believe and to live it. She also managed, through her diaries and wrings to convey the simple truth of the Faith with a depth of wisdom that leads the reader away from “the Little Flower” as she is known to the love of God. She is a beautiful signpost for all of us who sincerely see to follow the Way of Jesus.
Her wisdom was based upon her own recognition of need – not of being well known or like – but her need of God. She once wrote, “Your (Jesus’) face is my only homeland.”
Too often we can find ourselves overly concerned about what others think of us or the recognition we receive. This is of course madness and leads to an ever increasing worries, disquiets and concerns that prove only to be exhausting. Therese knew how to keep silence and when to speak – another grace for the wise.
She knew intently that the only person whose opinion really mattered was Jesus’. And the face with which he looked upon her and us is the face of love.
Maybe in 2023 we would want to prayerfully seek God’s grace not to be bothered about the criticisms of others (and they abound do they not) nor the criticism that we layer upon ourselves and seek only the face of Jesus – a face of Mercy and Love