Today is the feast of All Saints, a day to remember those who have gone before us, who now share in God's heavenly glory. Kevin and I went to the vigil mass last night and I was struck once again with the beauty of our faith, the immeasurable gift of the communion of the saints. Most people have saints that they seem to identify with in a particular way, and my closest spiritual friend in heaven is St. Therese of Lisieux.
I chose her specifically as my patron saint at my confirmation. At the time, I simply liked the fact that she is called "The Little Flower." I like flowers. I want to be something beautiful for God. That name will do. As I have continued on my Catholic journey, learning more about Therese, Christ's love, and myself, I can see that she has become integral to my spirituality and vocation. Therese lived her life in poverty and service at a Carmelite monastery. She scrubbed, swept, prayed, and prayed some more. She contracted tuberculosis and died at the age of 24 in 1897. Despite her short and humble existance, Pope John Paul II declared her a Doctor of the Universal Church, one of only three women so named. St. Therese realized that it was not necessary to do "great deeds" in order to attain holiness or express her love for God. In her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, Therese wrote,
"Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love."
The spiritual patronage of St. Therese is more than the beauty of a flower. God gave Therese something that God longs to give me, something that I so desperately need: humility and love for God; a will that is perfectly in sync with that which God wants to give me. I have spent a lot of time making plans for "great deeds"-plans of multiple degrees, success in the professional world, recognition for great accomplishments. But will I accept where I am, right here, right now? Will I allow God to be glorified at all times, even when I'm scrubbing the kitchen floor?
A couple years ago, I found a holy card with St. Therese and this prayer on the back:
Lord please grant that I may allow myself to be guided by you, follow your plans and perfectly accomplish you holy will. Grant that in all things, great and small, today and all the days of my life, I may do whatever you may require of me. Please help me to respond to the slightest prompting of your grace so that I may be your trustworthy instrument. May your will be done in time and eternity, by me, in me and through me. Amen.
Thank you God, for the gift of your saints. Heaven knows we need them!