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Showing posts with the label St. Therese of Lisieux

Saint of the Day: St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the "Little Flower"

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"I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul." These are the words of Thérèse of the Child Jesus, a Carmelite nun called the "Little Flower," who lived a cloistered life of obscurity in the convent of Lisieux, France. 

5 things you didn't know about St. Therese

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October 1 is the feast of St. Therese, Carmelite nun and Doctor of the Church. I have a giveaway and some special deals to celebrate. But first, here are five things you may not have known about this beloved saint.
1. She almost died as an infant. Before Therese was even born, her mother, Blessed Zelie Martin, was already suffering from the breast cancer that would eventually kill her. She was unable to nurse Therese properly, but did not want to turn her over to a wet-nurse. A previous daughter had died in a nurse's care, and daughter Celine had not fared well with a nurse either. Eventually, when Therese was nearly starved, Zelie did find a nurse for her. Therese lived with the nurse for over a year. Afterwards, she had trouble re-attaching to her own mother.
2. She dreamed of posing as a penitent. Therese and her father, Blessed Louis Martin, used to bring fish to an order of nuns that cared for penitent girls. Some of the girls would join the order. Therese, in …

Halloween and Heaven

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October begins with the feast day of St. Therese of Lisieux, patron saint of the missions. The same month ends with Halloween, or the Vigil of All Saints’ Day, soon followed by All Souls’ Day (Nov 2). On the surface, these three feast days may seem to have nothing in common, since mission may seem unrelated to death, but a closer look shows that both mission and death have a common denominator: Heaven. Mission, or “gospel”, is bringing good news to kind ears, good news of Heaven. Saints, too, are only saints because there is a Heaven. And since Halloween is the vigil of All Saints’ Day (and not to Christians a feast of the occult) Halloween celebrates Heaven.  Continue reading...

How many good works must we do?

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In the thinking of St. Therese, what does it take to be a saint?
Therese grew up in a culture influenced by Jansenism. Jansenism was a heresy from the seventeenth century that over-emphasized the role of grace in man’s salvation. It had a long-lasting effect on  the Church in France. In the late nineteenth century, during Therese’s life, the French clergy often preached “fire and brimstone” sermons. They focused on man’s sinfulness and the horrors of Hell.

During the school retreat before the first anniversary of her reception of first Communion, Therese was greatly frightened by the priest’s warnings against mortal sin. She was suddenly overcome by scruples. How could she be sure she was on the road to salvation? How could she be sure she was in God’s graces? Maybe she was guilty of mortal sin without acknowledging it. How could she ever be good enough to please God?
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

A biography of St. Therese (and a Kindle bargain)

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Note: In celebration of the feast of St. Therese on Wednesday, October 1, the Kindle version of Trusting God with St. Therese is only $.99 until 8 AM Pacific Thursday. This may be the only time I run such a sale, so it’s a great opportunity to pick up a copy if you haven’t already.

St. Therese of Lisieux is one of the most popular saints in history. Almost immediately after her death, her little way of spiritual childhood began to spread. She was canonized less than thirty later and named a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II.
St. Therese’s childhood Marie-François-Therese Martin was born in Alençon, France in 1873. Her parents were Louis Martin and Marie-Azelie Guerin Martin. She was the youngest of their nine children, four of whom died before age six. Louis and Zelie were committed Catholics. They were standouts even in the Catholic subculture that had grown up in the larger, anti-Catholic culture of their place and time. Both had considered religious life before…

St. Therese's daring teaching on Purgatory

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Before we discuss St. Therese of Lisieux’s teaching on Purgatory, I want to put that teaching into context. Her teaching is daring. Some of the nuns she lived with in the Carmelite monastery were scandalized by it, thinking it presumptuous. The last thing St. Therese (or I) would want is for people to interpret her teaching in such a way that they thought they could be spiritually lax and still go straight to Heaven.

So, As you read about her teaching, keep these things in mind:
Therese is a doctor of the Church. The Church has only 35 doctors, four of them women. Now, being a doctor of the Church doesn’t mean she was infallible. But it does mean that the Church especially recommends her spirituality for Christians in any age. Therese is the Doctor of the Little Way of Spiritual Childhood, and her teaching on Purgatory was part of that Little Way.St. Therese was completely orthodox. This follows from #1. What she taught about Purgatory must never be taken to contradict of…

How to suffer like a Christian

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Suffering. Ever since the Fall of Adam, it’s an unavoidable part of life. We suffer daily in little ways. The alarm clock rings too early. We spill coffee all over our work clothes. The kids are disobedient. We get stuck in traffic. These little things are a reminder that all is not right with the world. Something is out of whack. We have lost the close connection with God we were meant to have.

When we face small trials, we have an opportunity to grow in trust and love.  We can offer our disappointments and dislikes to God in love, asking Him to use them to bring others to Him. We can say, “Jesus, I trust in you,” praying that He helps us to accept His sovereignty over our day. Because after all, we were never meant to be in charge of our life. These gentle reminders of that fact can help us reorient ourselves towards God. (As an aside, I am experiencing a little annoyance right now from my kids. Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity to put into practice what I am prea…

Does God work for good in our sins?

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The second reading from Sunday’s Mass included a favorite verse of mine, Romans 8:28:
We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. The newly ordained priest who said Mass at Holy Trinity Cathedral preached that God works for good even in our sins. Do you believe this? I do, firmly! So did St. Therese of Lisieux.
Today I’d like to examine St. Paul’s teaching on this subject, and what it means for our spiritual lives.
What can separate us from God? St. Paul writes:
For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
I have heard Catholic apologists preach on this passage, noting that Paul did not include “sin” in his list. Sin, they argue, can separate us from God, so that’s why Paul did n…

You're invited to my book launch party

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Wednesday, August 6, marks the official launch of Trusting God with St. Therese. So far, I have mostly marketed it to my friends and followers on social media, giving you the first look at this important project. Everyone who has bought the book in either format by noon on August 5, or who has helped me with an endorsement or review, is invited to my exclusive launch party. Family members who received a free copy are also welcome.

I’d love to celebrate with you in person, but since we are scattered all over the country, I’ve chosen to host a virtual party. I will be hosting a Google Hangout from 8-9 PM Central Time. What’s a Google+ Hangout, you ask? It’s Google’s video chat service. I will be talking with you live via my computer. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be on camera! You can even attend in your pj’s.

You can submit questions to me ahead of time or during the Hangout itself. I will answer as many as I can. Do you have questions about any part of my book? Do you n…

To Give Up One's Cloak

When St. Martin of Tours encountered a poor, naked beggar, he tore his own warm cloak in half, to share it. Later, he discovered in a dream that the beggar was Christ. Throughout his life he had a special love for the poor. The story of St. Martin and the beggar touches on an area of Christian life that is often dealt with superficially and with suspicion. This area is the equality and dignity of woman. It seems to me that most voices do not echo Jesus in either His actions or His words. Jesus was a defender of the true equality of woman precisely because He always showed us the way to true dignity: a dignity that is shared by men and women alike, because they are human. "Did the Lord at any time make a distinction between men and women? […] But in His love He knew and knows now no distinction." [1]  Continue Reading...