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Thérèse’s Way Through the Dark: Weekly Message for 10-01-2019
Dear Friends in Christ,
St. Thérèse of Lisieux quickly became one of the most popular saints after her canonization in 1925. Her name adorns churches and schools around the world.
Her ostensible simplicity and photogenic countenance helped to make her the darling of generations of the faithful. Her “little way” with its emphasis on God’s love and mercy provided a spiritual tonic in the strife-torn century that followed her death in 1897 at age 24.
The appeal of her message endures to this today. In an age of terrorism, toxic media and societal breakdown, the humble Carmelite’s life retains a charming quality that cuts across political and cultural divides and invites us to seek out her intercession.
Yet Thérèse’s spiritual life wasn’t care-free. Incredibly, she struggled with temptations of atheism late in her short life. She nevertheless held fast to her faith amid the deep darkness that enveloped her soul.
Why would Our Lord permit such darkness in such a devoted soul? Spiritual writers and theologians will continue to wrestle with that question for a long time.
Perhaps one explanation is that God – who cautioned us, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8) – wanted to remind us how much faith requires a deep trust in him. For more on this topic, you may want to watch, listen or read Seasons of Change: A Retreat Guide on Spiritual Growth.
For faith is not about warm feelings. It’s about an assent when all else seems lost. It is the rock to which we cling if we want any sense of lasting stability and peace.
Today, St. Thérèse’s feast day, might be a good moment to learn more about her little way, via our free Retreat Guide Love One Another.
Think of it a step closer to the light when much around us seems dark.
Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor