Pope Francis Commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Saint Teresa.
In the year marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, one of Pope Francis’ favorite saints, he published an apostolic exhortation filled with hope that her “little way” would help Catholics live and share their faith today.
For a summary of the exhortation, read about “The Way to Trust and Love”, The Greatest Charity in the Greatest Simplicity, and “The Relevance of the Little Way” among other things, by following this link.
For the full exhortation from the Vatican Website, please follow this link.
Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus
Essentially it was due to the influence of her autobiography Story of a Soul which she had been asked to write under obedience and which was published the year after her death. It took the world by storm. To date it has been translated into some 60 languages and dialects. This little book has captured the hearts and minds of countless millions – great minds and simple ones alike, theologians as well as ordinary layfolk. In it Thérèse simply records her journey of faith. Through this humble testimony of the way the Lord chose to work in her life she has held out to many the real hope of holiness. In its pages Thérèse traces the contours of a sanctity open to us all.
She called it her “Little Way.” In essence it is the path of childlike confidence and trust. She loved to call God, “Papa!” – echoing in her own native tongue the abandonment at the heart of Jesus’ own “Abba! Father!” This simplicity is the hallmark of her spirituality. Her favourite text from the Scriptures was Isaiah 66.12-13 where the Lord is described as one who treats us like a mother caressing her children. On her feast day the gospel read at Mass is the passage in which Jesus takes a little child and says, “unless you change and become like children you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” With Thérèse it is as though Jesus has put before the Church of our age another child, lest we be in danger of forgetting that the call of the Kingdom is, as she puts it, “to stay little and to become this more and more.”
Even during the last eighteen excruciating months of her life, racked by tuberculosis, she refused to believe that God would betray her trust in Him. Finally, in the face of death itself her faith remained undiminished. Staking all on the resurrection, she outstared even death with her daring confidence: “I am not dying – I am entering into life.”
One hundred years after her death this young woman of faith continues to bring a ray of God’s radiant light into the lives of so many. The story of her soul proclaims that, whatever the prevailing conditions may be, the sovereign fact is that we are loved by a God we can dare to call “Papa!” and that, as she once put it so poetically, “beyond the clouds the sun is still shining.”