Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Saint October 2 : Feast of the Guardian Angels


The Feast of the Guardian Angels
Feast: October 2
Information:
Feast Day:
October 2

Not only do believers have faith on their side, but they have "witnesses" of God's Word. Holy Scripture contains numerous examples that witness to the existence of angels and their manifestations in relation to the fulfillment of particular missions.
The well-known example of Mary's Annunciation involved an angel sent by God to announce that the moment had arrived for the fulfillment of the coming of God's Son: He would be conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of Mary as man.
Angels were also the witnesses and heralds of Jesus' Resurrection.
Sacred Scripture and angels
With Sacred Scripture as its foundation, the Church affirms the existence of angels and puts into light their mission in relation to collective salvation in history as well as individual salvation.
In a Catechesis during the early years of his Pontificate, keeping in mind what is held by tradition, John Paul II affirmed that "the angels, as pure spirits, not only participate in the holiness of God himself, in the manner proper to them, but in the key moments they surround Christ and accompany him in the fulfillment of his salvific mission in regard to mankind" (General Audience, 30 July 1986; L'Osservatore Romano English Edition, 4 August, p. 1).
Holiness, therefore, as the fruit of grace and love, is shared by the angels. It is not shared by all, however, for in the beginning there was a rebellion, and those unfaithful to God and his project of salvation were excluded.
Without manipulating Scripture, we can say that participation in God's holiness can be understood in relation to the redemptive holiness which springs forth from Christ, by means of and in sight of which the angels were created. Such participation was held in a specific way by the angels.
Guardian angels
In the Catechesis mentioned above, John Paul also affirms that "in the key moments [the angels] surround Christ and accompany him in the fulfilment of his salvific mission in regard to mankind". This is a logical consequence of the aforementioned text.
Angels, created by God according to the importance and necessity of each situation, therefore "accompany" and "surround" the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. In this way the mission is complete, embracing the whole Christ, Head and Body.
This dynamic refers not only to the Ecclesial Community as such, but also individual Church members. But as part of the historical and ecclesiological profile it must also be mentioned that angels journey together with the Church in her mission of salvation and at the same time travel side-by-side with her members; all human beings have their own guardian angel to guard, protect and enlighten them.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church proclaims that "from infancy to death human life is surrounded by their [angels'] watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God" (CCC, n. 336).
Such protection will benefit those who respond to the Holy Spirit's direction and for those who willingly collaborate. In her liturgy, the Church prays to the angels for herself and others, calling upon their protection and intercession: it is sufficient to follow the liturgy of the Mass to be convinced.
The same Church makes the special prayer to the guardian angel available to the faithful and to all who wish to recite it. As a result, praying it at least twice a day, morning and evening, should not be "an option".

Novena to St. Therese Little Flower - Litany, Rosary and Special Prayers - SHARE


Prayers to St. Therese
of the Child Jesus,
the Little Flower

Patroness of the Missions & Missionaries
O glorious Saint Therese, whom Almighty God has raised up to aid and counsel mankind, I implore your Miraculous Intercession.
So powerful are you in obtaining every need of body and soul our Holy Mother Church proclaims you a "Prodigy of Miracles...the Greatest Saint of Modern Times." Now I fervently beseech you to answer my petition (mention specifics here) and to carry out your promises of spending Heaven doing good upon the earth...of letting fall from Heaven a Shower of Roses.
Henceforth, dear Little Flower, I will fulfill your plea "to be made known everywhere" and I will never cease to lead others to Jesus through you.
Amen.
Little Flower Prayer
St. Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love; ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore and tell Him I will love Him each day more and more. Amen.

The Little Flower Rosary
Make the Sign of the Cross, and say on the first bead:
St. Therese of the Infant Jesus, Patroness of Missions, pray for us!
On each of the remaining 24 beads say 1 Glory be in honor of the Blessed Trinity, in thanksgiving for giving the world the Little Saint who lived only 24 years.
Concluding prayer to St. Therese:
St. Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavently garden and sent it to me with a message of love. Ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore and tell Him I will love Him each day more and more.

Litany of the Little Flower of Jesus 
Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face
Lord, have mercy on us,
Christ, have mercy on us,
Lord, have mercy on us,
Christ, hear us,
Christ, graciously hear us,
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us,
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us,
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us,
Holy Mary, Pray for us
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Pray for us
Our Lady of Victory,  Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  servant of God, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  victim of the merciful love of God, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  spouse of Jesus, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  gift of Heaven, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  remarkable in childhood, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  an example of obedience, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  resigned to the Divine Will of God, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of peace, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of patience, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of gentleness, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  heroic in sacrifices, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  generous in forgiving, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  benefactress of the needy, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of Jesus, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  devoted to the Holy Face, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  consumed with Divine love of God, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  advocate of extreme cases, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  persevering in prayer, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  a powerful advocate with God, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  showering roses, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  doing good upon earth, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  answering all prayers, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of Holy Chastity, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of voluntary poverty, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of obedience, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  burning with zeal for God's glory, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  inflamed with the Spirit of Love,  Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  child of benediction, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  perfect in simplicity,  Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  so remarkable for trust in God, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  gifted with unusual intelligence, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  never invoked without some answer, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  teaching us the sure way, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  victim of Divine Love, Pray for us
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O LordLamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Little Flower of Jesus, pray for us.
   Let us Pray:
         O God, Who didst inflame with Thy Spirit of Love the soul of Thy Servant Therese of the Child Jesus, grant that we also may love Thee and make Thee much loved.   Amen.

For Healing
Dearest Saint Therese, you are the Little Flower of Jesus. Pray this day that I may be made well in body, mind, and spirit. Help me to always see, as you so clearly did, that my sufferings and trials are meant to cleanse and purify me so that I may be more worthy to receive God's unending Love. Amen.

Little Flower Novena (to be prayed for 9 consecutive days)
Prayers to be said each day:
Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of the faithful, and kindle in them the fire of divine love.
V. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
Let us prayO God, who have instructed the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit; grant that by the gift of the same Spirit, we may be ever truly wise and rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Acts of Faith, Hope, and Love: O my God! I believe in Thee: strengthen my faith. All my hopes are in Thee: do Thou secure them. I love Thee: teach me to love Thee daily more and more.
The Act of Contrition: O my God! I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend You, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance , and to amend my life. Amen.

Concluding Prayer Prayed Each Day:
O Lord, You have said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.
Special Prayers for Each Day:
First Day
St. Thérèse, privileged Little Flower of Jesus and Mary, I approach you with childlike confidence and deep humility. I lay before you my desires, and beg that through your intercession they may be realized. Did you not promise to spend your heaven doing good upon earth? Grant me according to this promise the favors I am asking from you.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but specially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Confidence in God. We can never have too much confidence in the good God who is so powerful and so merciful. We obtain from Him as much as we hope for. If you are nothing, do you forget that Jesus is everything? You have only to lose your nothingness in His Infinity and think only of loving Him.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Second Day
O dear little Saint, now that you see the crucified Jesus in heaven, still bearing the wounds caused by sin, you know still more clearly than you did upon earth the value of souls, and the priceless worth of that Precious Blood which He shed to save them. As I am one of those children for whom Christ died, obtain for me all the graces I need in order to profit by that Precious Blood. Use your great power with our divine Lord and pray for me.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Sin. The only grace I ask, O Jesus, is never to offend Thee. By love and not by fear, does a soul avoid committing the least fault. Yes, even if I have on my conscience every possible crime, I should lose none of my confidence; my heart breaking with sorrow, I should go and throw myself into the arms of my Savior. The remembrance of my faults humbles me and makes me afraid to rely on my own strength, which is nothing but weakness.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Third Day
Dear Little Flower, make all things lead me to heaven and God, Whether I look at the sun, the moon, the stars and the vast expanse in which they float, or whether I look at the flowers of the field, the trees of the forest, the beauties of the earth so full of color and so glorious, may they speak to me of the love and power of God; may they all sing His praises in my ear. Like you may I daily love Him more and more in return for His gifts. Teach me often to deny myself in my dealings with others, that I may offer to Jesus many little sacrifices.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: The Use of God’s Gifts. How much benefit have I received from the beauties of nature, bestowed in such abundance. How they raise me to Him who placed such wonders in this land of exile which is only to last a day. O sparkling nature, if I did not see God in you, you would be naught but a great tomb. With your little hand which caresses Mary, You sustain the universe and bestow life; and You think of me, O Jesus my little King. I do not wish creatures to have one atom of my love. I wish to give all to Jesus, since He has shown me that He alone is perfect happiness.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Fourth Day
Dear Little Flower of Carmel, bearing so patiently the disappointments and delays allowed by God, and preserving in the depths of your soul an unchanging peace because you sought only God’s will, ask for me complete conformity to that adorable Will in all the trials and disappointments of life. If the favors I am asking during this Novena are pleasing to God, obtain them for me. If not, it is true I shall feel the refusal keenly, but I too wish only God’s Will, and pray in the words you used, that I "may ever be perfectly fulfilled in me."
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Abandonment to God. I fear only one thing---to keep my own will; take it, my God, for I choose all that You choose. The only happiness here below is to strive to be always content with what Jesus gives us. I can demand nothing with fervor, except the perfect accomplishment of God’s will in my soul. O my Beloved, I offer myself to You, that You may perfectly accomplish in me Your holy designs, and I will not allow anything created to be an obstacle in their path.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Fifth Day
Little Flower of Jesus, from the very first moment of your religious life you thought only of denying yourself in all things so as to follow Jesus more perfectly; help me to bear patiently the trials of my daily life. Teach me to make use of the trials, the sufferings, the humiliations, that come my way, to learn to know myself better and to love God more.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Patience in Sufferings. I do not fear trials sent by Jesus, for even in the most bitter suffering we can see that it is His loving hand which causes it. When we are expecting nothing but suffering, we are quite surprised at the least joy; but then suffering itself becomes the greatest of joys when we seek it as a precious treasure. Far from resembling those beautiful saints who practiced all sorts of austerities from childhood, my penance consisted in breaking my self-will, in keeping back a sharp reply, in doing little kindnesses to those about me, but considering these deeds as nothing.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Sixth Day
St. Thérèse, Patroness of the Missions, be a great missionary throughout the world to the end of time. Remind our Master of His own words, "The harvest is great, but the laborers are few." Your zeal for souls was so great, obtain a like zeal for those now working for souls, and beg God to multiply their numbers, that the millions to whom Jesus is yet unknown may be brought to know, love and follow Him.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Zeal for souls. Let us work together for the salvation of souls. We have only the day of this life to save souls and to give them to the Lord as proofs of our love. I tell Jesus that I am glad not to be able to see, with the eyes of my soul, this beautiful heaven which awaits me, in order that He may vouchsafe to open it forever to poor unbelievers. I cannot perform brilliant works; I cannot preach the Gospel or shed my blood. But what matter? My brothers work in place of me, and I a little child, keep very close to the royal throne. I love for those who are carrying on the warfare. My deeds, my little sufferings, can make God loved all over the world.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Seventh Day
O little martyr of Love, you know now even better than in the days of your pilgrimage that Love embraces all vocations; that it is Love alone which counts, which unites us perfectly to God and conforms our will with His. All you sought on earth was love; to love Jesus as He had never yet been loved. Use your power in heaven to make us love Him. If only we love Him we shall desire to make Him loved by others; we shall pray much for souls. We shall no longer fear death, for it will unite us to Him forever. Obtain for us the grace to do all for the love of God, to give Him pleasure, to love Him so well that He may be pleased with us as He was with you.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Love of God. I will love God alone and will not have the misfortune of attaching myself to creatures, now that my heart perceive what He has in store for those who love Him. What attracts me to the kingdom of Heaven is the call of our Lord, the hope of loving Him as I have so desired and the thought that I shall be able to make Him loved by a great number of souls who will bless Him forever. When Christ said, "Give Me a Drink," it was the love of His poor creatures that He, the Creator of all things, desired. He thirsted for love. Remember that the dear Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you, for you alone. Remember that He is consumed with a desire to come into your heart.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Eighth Day
Dear St. Thérèse, like you I have to die one day. I beseech you, obtain from God, by reminding Him of your own precious death, that I may have a holy death, strengthened by the Sacraments of the Church, entirely resigned to the most holy Will of God, and burning with love for Him. May my last words on earth be, "My God. I love You."
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Death. It says in the catechism that death is nothing but the separation of the soul and body. Well, I have no fear of a separation which will unite me forever with the good God. I am happy to die because I shall be able to help souls who are dear to me, far more than I can here below. Life is not sad; it is very joyous. If you say, "This exile is sad," I understand you. We are wrong to give the name "life" to something which will end; it is only to the things of Heaven that we should apply this beautiful name.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Ninth Day
Dear Little St. Thérèse, by love and suffering while you were on earth, you won the power with God which you now enjoy in heaven. Since your life there began, you have showered down countless blessings on this poor world; you have been an instrument made use of by your divine Spouse to work countless miracles. I beg of you to remember all my wants. Sufferings must come to me also, may I use them to love God more, and follow my Jesus better. You are especially the little missionary of love. Make me love Jesus more, and all others for His sake. With all my heart I thank the most Holy Trinity for the wonderful blessings conferred on you, and upon the world through you.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: The Mission of the Little Flower. I do not intend to remain inactive in Heaven. I want to work for the Church and for souls. I have asked this of God and I am certain that He will grant my request. I will spend my Heaven doing good upon earth. This is not impossible, since the angels though always enjoying the beatific vision, watch over us. No, I cannot be at rest until the end of the world. I beseech Thee, O Jesus, to cast Thy divine glance on a great number of little souls. I beg of Thee to choose in this world a legion of little victims, worthy of Thy Love.
Pray the Concluding Prayer


RIP Sister Frances Forde and Sr. Marie Duddy - Nuns Killed in Car Accident in Ireland

IND. Catholic News: Two nuns from Belfast died in a car accident in Northern Ireland yesterday. Sister Frances Forde and Sister Marie Duddy were killed when the car they were travelling in collided with an unmarked police car close to Newry, Co Down. The two Sisters of Mercy were on their way to a retreat when the accident occurred. They died at the scene. Bishop Noel Treanor from the diocese of Down and Connor, who was attending the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference in Maynooth issues the following statement: Along with Bishop Anthony Farquhar and the clergy of the Diocese of Down and Connor, I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Sister Frances Forde and Sister Marie Duddy who died in a car accident earlier this morning. This sudden and shocking loss of life leaves an impact not only upon all those who have known the sisters but upon the wider community in which they served. Over the years, these sisters have blessed the Church with ministries ranging from healthcare, education, spiritual guidance and cross community and inter-faith dialogue. I also offer my sympathy to the Sisters of Mercy who had gathered today for a convention in Dromantine. I particularly bring to mind and offer my support for those sisters in the Religious Congregation with whom they lived who have undoubtedly been left stunned by this tragedy. I continue to remember in my prayers the PSNI officers who have been injured as a result of this terrible accident and their families. I acknowledge and pay tribute to the professionalism and care of all the emergency services involved in this incident. May the souls of Sister Frances and Sister Marie and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.

Latest Vatican Information Service News and Pope Francis Prayer Intention for October


Summary
- Pope Francis' prayer intentions for October
 -Pope's greetings to the Little Apostles of Charity, invitation to pray the rosary, and the memory of Blessed Alvaro del Portillo Audience with the president of Malta: commitment of Church and state in the phenomenon of migration
- The young and the elderly: without balance between generations, the freedom of society becomes authoritarianism
- Francis praises the example of Blessed Alvaro del Portillo and asks for prayers for the upcoming Synod
- The Pope presides at liturgy commemorating the 200th anniversary of the reconstitution of the Society of Jesus
- The Pope's message for the beatification of the Opus Dei prelate Alvaro del Portillo: in the simplicity of everyday life we can find the way to holiness
- Francis: the encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist is a source of hope for the world
- Communicating the family: a privileged place of encounter with the gift of love
- Other Pontifical Acts

Pope Francis' prayer intentions for October
Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis' universal prayer intention for October is: “That Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence”.
His intention for evangelisation is: “That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world”.
Pope's greetings to the Little Apostles of Charity, invitation to pray the rosary, and the memory of Blessed Alvaro del Portillo
Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – Before the catechesis of this Wednesday's general audience in St. Peter's Square, the Pope received in the Paul VI Hall the participants in the pilgrimage organised by the Secular Institute of the Little Apostles of Charity, founded sixty years ago by Blessed Luigi Monza who worked “with skill and love” in the care of the disabled. Pope Francis mentioned the Institute in his catechesis as an example of the charism of care for the most vulnerable, recalling that the work of Luigi Monza was supported by Pope Paul VI when he was archbishop of Milan, Italy, and urged them to be held as an example “for families and for those who hold public responsibilities”.
After the catechesis and during his greetings in various languages, the Holy Father addressed German and Polish pilgrims, reminding them that October is the month of the Holy Rosary, and invited them to meditate on the path and work of Christ through the eyes of Mary, and to pray the rosary to accompany the work of the Synod of Bishops on the family.
He also addressed the Portuguese-speaking faithful, including members of the “Associacao Crista de Empresarios e Gestores” (Christian Association of Businesspeople and Managers), encouraging them to persevere in their testimony in society and to allow themselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit “to understand the true path of history”.
“Keep the flame of faith burning, ignited on the day of your baptism and sustained by the example of the holy martyrs, so that others may see the joy of your life in Christ”, he said to pilgrims from Croatia.
“I also greet Bishop Javier Echevarria, prelate of Opus Dei, as well as the faithful of the prelature present here to give thanks for the beatification of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo”, he concluded, in Spanish. “May the intercession and the example of the new blessed help them to respond generously to God's call to holiness and to the apostolate in ordinary life, in the service of the Church and of the whole of humanity. Many thanks, and may God bless you”.

Cardinal Parolin to the United Nations: unity of action for the common good
Vatican City, 30 September 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin spoke yesterday at the 69th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which included a debate on the Transformative Development Agenda, among other themes.
Cardinal Parolin, speaking in English, emphasised that the Holy See values the United Nations' efforts to ensure world peace, respect for human dignity, the protection of persons, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, and harmonious economic and social development. However, quoting Pope Francis, he remarked that there is the danger of widespread indifference in our time, affecting not only the field of politics but also economic and social sectors, “since an important part of humanity does not share in the benefits of progress and is in fact relegated to the status of second-class citizens”. He added, “at times, such apathy is synonymous with irresponsibility. This is the case today, when a union of States, which was created with the fundamental goal of saving generations from the horror of war that brings untold sorrow to humanity, remains passive in the face of hostilities suffered by defenceless populations”. In this context, the Cardinal repeated Pope Francis' appeal to the international community this August to “take action to end the humanitarian tragedy now under way” in the north of Iraq.
He went on to speak in further detail about the situation in Iraq and Syria, where “we are seeing a totally new phenomenon: the existence of a terrorist organisation which threatens all states, vowing to dissolve them and replace them with a pseudo-religious world government”. Unfortunately, he continued, even today “there are those who would presume to wield power by coercing consciences … persecuting and murdering in the name of God. These actions bring injury to entire ethnic groups, populations and ancient cultures. It must be remembered that such violence is born of a disregard for God and falsifies religion itself, since religion aims at … making it clear that each human being is the image of the Creator. In a world of global communications, this new phenomenon has found followers in numerous places, and has succeeded in attracting from around the world young people who are often disillusioned by a widespread indifference and a dearth of values in wealthier societies. This challenge, in all its tragic aspects, should compel the international community to promote a unified response, based on solid juridical criteria and a collective willingness to cooperate for the common good”.
“To this end, the Holy See considers it useful to focus attention on two major areas. The first is to address the cultural and political origins of contemporary challenges, acknowledging the need for innovative strategies to confront these international problems in which cultural factors play a fundamental role. The second area for consideration is a further study of the effectiveness of international law today, namely its successful implementation by those mechanisms used by the United Nations to prevent war, stop aggressors, protect populations and help victims”.
Cardinal Parolin continued, “The situation today requires a more incisive understanding of this law, giving particular attention to the 'responsibility to protect'. In fact, one of the characteristics of the recent terrorist phenomenon is that it disregards the existence of the state and, in fact, the entire international order. … It also undermines and rejects all existing juridical systems, attempting to impose dominion over consciences and complete control over persons. The global nature of this phenomenon, which knows no borders, is precisely why the framework of international law offers the only viable way of dealing with this urgent challenge. This reality requires a renewed United Nations that undertakes to foster and preserve peace. … The present situation, therefore, though indeed quite serious, is an occasion for the member states of the United Nations Organisation to honour the very spirit of the Charter of the United Nations by speaking out on the tragic conflicts which are tearing apart entire peoples and nations. It is disappointing that, up to now, the international community has been characterised by contradictory voices and even by silence with regard to the conflicts in Syria, the Middle East and Ukraine. It is paramount that there be a unity of action for the common good, avoiding the cross-fire of vetoes. … In summary, the promotion of a culture of peace calls for renewed efforts in favour of dialogue, cultural appreciation and cooperation, while respecting the variety of sensibilities. … Ultimately, there must be a genuine willingness to apply thoroughly the current mechanisms of law, while at the same time remaining open to the implications of this crucial moment. This will ensure a multilateral approach that will better serve human dignity, and protect and advance integral human development throughout the world”.
With reference to the approval of the Transformative Development Agenda, Cardinal Parolin confirmed that the Holy See welcomes the 'Sustainable Development Goals' proposed by the Working Group (Open Working Group for Sustainable Goals), which seek to address the structural causes of poverty by promoting dignified work for all. “Nevertheless, and notwithstanding the efforts of the United Nations and of many people of good will, the number of the poor and excluded is increasing not only in developing nations but also in developed ones. The 'responsibility to protect', as stated earlier, refers to extreme aggressions against human rights, cases of serious contempt for humanitarian law or grave natural catastrophes. In a similar way, there is a need to make legal provision for protecting people against other forms of aggression, which are less evident but just as serious and real. For example, a financial system governed only by speculation and the maximisation of profits, or one in which individual persons are regarded as disposable items in a culture of waste, could be tantamount, in certain circumstances, to an offence against human dignity. It follows, therefore, that the United Nations and its member states have an urgent and grave responsibility for the poor and excluded, mindful always that social and economic justice is a essential condition for peace”, he concluded.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 30 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop John Stanley Kenneth Arnold, auxiliary of Westminster, England, as bishop of Salford (area 1,800, population 2,603,000, Catholics 267,938, priests 284, religious 280), England. He accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese presented by Bishop Terence John Brain, upon reaching the age limit.

Audience with the president of Malta: commitment of Church and state in the phenomenon of migration
Vatican City, 29 September 2014 (VIS) – Today, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience the president of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, who subsequently met with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
The cordial discussions focused on the good relations between the Holy See and Malta and highlighted the significant contribution made by the Catholic Church in the fields of education and welfare, especially in favour of the poor. The conversation then turned to various themes of mutual interest, with special reference to the role of Christian values in the edification of Maltese society and the strengthening of the institution of the family.
Finally, the Parties discussed Malta’s contribution within the European Union, along with a number of questions of an international nature, such as the situations of conflict in the Mediterranean region, expressing hope for a prompt solution via dialogue, as well as the phenomenon of migration towards Europe, which involves commitment on the part of the Church and the Government.

The young and the elderly: without balance between generations, the freedom of society becomes authoritarianism
Vatican City, 28 September 2014 (VIS) – Today in St. Peter's Square a meeting was held to celebrate old age, organised by the Pontifical Council for the Family, entitled “The blessing of long life”. The meeting, which brought together thousands of elderly and grandparents accompanied by their relatives from all over the world, began at 8.30 a.m. with a “tour of old age through five Biblical episodes”. An hour later, the Holy Father arrived in the Square to join the elderly, with whom he had spoken before Mass at 10.30 a.m. The Pope emeritus Benedict XVI was personally invited by Pope Francis and participated in the meeting.
The Pope explained that the first reading “echoes in various ways the Fourth Commandment: 'Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you'. A people has no future without such an encounter between generations, without children being able to accept with gratitude the witness of life from the hands of their parents. And part of this gratitude for those who gave you life is also gratitude for our heavenly Father. There are times when generations of young people, for complex historical and cultural reasons, feel a deeper need to be independent from their parents, 'breaking free', as it were, from the legacy of the older generation. It is a kind of adolescent rebellion. But unless the encounter, the meeting of generations, is re-established, unless a new and fruitful intergenerational equilibrium is restored, what results is a serious impoverishment for all, and the freedom which prevails in society is actually a false freedom, which almost always becomes a form of authoritarianism”.
Francis emphasised that “Jesus did not abolish the law of the family and the passing of generations, but brought it to fulfilment. The Lord formed a new family, in which bonds of kinship are less important than our relationship with him and our doing the will of God the Father. Yet the love of Jesus and the Father completes and fulfils our love of parents, brothers and sisters, and grandparents; it renews family relationships with the lymph of the Gospel and of the Holy Spirit”. He remarked that Mary, when she visited her relatives Elizabeth and Zechariah, “was able to listen to those elderly and amazed parents; she treasured their wisdom, and it proved precious for her in her journey as a woman, as a wife and as a mother”, and added, “the Virgin Mary likewise shows us the way: the way of encounter between the young and the elderly. The future of a people necessarily supposes this encounter: the young give the strength which enable a people to move forward, while the elderly consolidate this strength by their memory and their traditional wisdom”.
Francis praises the example of Blessed Alvaro del Portillo and asks for prayers for the upcoming Synod
Vatican City, 28 September 2014 (VIS) – At the end of today's Holy Mass, the Pope prayed the Angelus with the faithful present in St. Peter's Square, after greeting elderly pilgrims from various countries, the participants in the congress-pilgrimage “Singing faith”, organised to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the choir of the diocese of Roma, and after mentioning the beatification of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, celebrated in Madrid, Spain on Saturday. “May his exemplary Christian and priestly witness awaken in many people the wish to join with Jesus and the Gospel”. Pope Francis went on to remind those present that the Assembly of the Synod on the Family begins next Sunday, and encouraged all the faithful to pray for this important event, that he entrusts to the intercession of Mary “Salus Populi Romani”.
The Pope presides at liturgy commemorating the 200th anniversary of the reconstitution of the Society of Jesus
Vatican City, 28 September 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, in the Basilica of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, the Pope presided at a liturgy of thanksgiving to mark the 200th anniversary of the reconstitution of the Society of Jesus in the universal Church, sanctioned by Pope Pius VII with the Bull “Sollicitudo Omnium ecclesiarum” of 7 August 1814. During the liturgy, which included the Vespers prayer and the Te Deum, following the Gospel reading and before the renewal of vows by some of the Jesuits present, the Holy Father gave a homily, extensive extracts of which are published below:
“The Society under the name of Jesus has lived difficult times of persecution. During the leadership of Fr. Lorenzo Ricci, 'enemies of the Church succeeded in obtaining the suppression of the Society' by my predecessor Clement XIV. Today, remembering its restoration, we are called to recover our memory, calling to mind the benefits received and the particular gifts. Today, I want to do that here with you.
“In times of trial and tribulation, dust clouds of doubt and suffering are always raised and it is not easy to move forward, to continue the journey. Many temptations come, especially in difficult times and in crises: to stop to discuss ideas, to allow oneself to be carried away by the desolation, to focus on the fact of being persecuted, and not to see the other. Reading the letters of Fr. Ricci, one thing struck me: his ability to avoid being harnessed by these temptations and to propose to the Jesuits, in a time of trouble, a vision of the things that rooted them even more in the spirituality of the Society”.
“The Society … lived the conflict to the end, without minimising it. It lived humiliation along with the humiliated Christ; it obeyed. You never save yourself from conflict with cunning and with strategies of resistance. In the confusion and humiliation, the Society preferred to live the discernment of God's will, without seeking a way out of the conflict in a seemingly quiet manner. It is never apparent tranquillity that satisfies our hearts, but true peace that is a gift from God. One should never seek the easy 'compromise'. ... Only discernment saves us from real uprooting, from true 'suppression' of the heart, which is selfishness, worldliness, the loss of our horizon. Our hope, is Jesus; it is only Jesus. Thus Fr. Ricci and the Society during the suppression privileged history rather than a grey 'little tale', knowing that love judges history and that hope – even in darkness – is greater than our expectations. … We can review briefly this process of discernment and service. When in 1759, the decrees of Pombal destroyed the Portuguese provinces of the Society, Fr. Ricci lived the conflict, not complaining and letting himself fall into desolation, but inviting prayers to ask for the good spirit, the true supernatural spirit of vocation, the perfect docility to God's grace. When in 1761, the storm advanced in France … he asked that all trust be placed in God. ... In 1760, after the expulsion of the Spanish Jesuits, he continued to call for prayer. And finally, on February 21, 1773, just six months before the signing of the Brief Dominus ac Redemptor, with the utter lack of human help, he sees the hand of God's mercy, which invites those, who submit to the test, not to confide in anyone but God. … The important thing for Fr. Ricci that the Society, until the last, is true to the spirit of its vocation, which is for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.
“The Society, even faced with its own demise, remained true to the purpose for which it was founded. To this, Ricci concludes with an exhortation to keep alive the spirit of charity, unity, obedience, patience, evangelical simplicity, true friendship with God. Everything else is worldliness.
“Let us remember our history: the Society 'was given the grace not only to believe in the Lord, but also to suffer for His sake'. We do well to remember this. The ship of the Society has been tossed around by the waves and there is nothing surprising in this. Even the boat of Peter can be tossed about today. The night and the powers of darkness are always near. It is tiring to row. The Jesuits must be 'brave and expert rowers': row then! Row, be strong, even with the headwind! We row in the service of the Church. We row together! But while we row - we all row, even the Pope rows in the barque of Peter - we must pray a lot. … The Lord, even if we are men of little faith, will save us”.
“The Society, restored by my predecessor Pius VII, was made up of men, who were brave and humble in their witness of hope, love and apostolic creativity, that of the Spirit. Pius VII … gave permission to the Jesuits, who still existed here and there, thanks to a Lutheran monarch and an Orthodox monarch, 'to remain united in one body'. … The Society resumed its apostolic activity of preaching and teaching, spiritual ministries, scientific research and social action, the missions and care for the poor, the suffering and the marginalised. Today, the Society also deals with the tragic problem of refugees and displaced persons with intelligence and industriousness; and it strives with discernment to integrate service to faith and the promotion of justice in conformity with the Gospel. I confirm today what Paul VI told us at our 32nd General Congregation and which I heard with my own ears: "Wherever in the Church, even in the most difficult and extreme situations, in the crossroads of ideologies, in the social trenches, where there has been and there is confrontation between the deepest desires of man and the perennial message of the Gospel, there you have been and there are Jesuits.
“In 1814, at the time of the restoration, the Jesuits were a small flock, a 'small Society', which however knew how to invest, following the trials of the cross, in the great mission of bringing the light of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. This is how we must feel today therefore: outbound, in mission. The Jesuit identity is that of a man who loves God and loves and serves his brothers, showing by example not only that in which he believes, but also that in which he hopes, and who is the One in whom he has put his trust”.
The Pope's message for the beatification of the Opus Dei prelate Alvaro del Portillo: in the simplicity of everyday life we can find the way to holiness
Vatican City, 27 September 2014 (VIS) – The bishop Alvaro del Portillo (1914-1994), first successor of St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer at the helm of Opus Dei, was beatified in Madrid, Spain this morning. The Holy Father sent a message to Bishop Javier Echevarria, current Prelate of Opus Dei, which was read during the ceremony, presided by Cardinal Angelo Amato,S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The message was signed 26 June, the feast day of St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer.
“I like to recall the short prayer that the Servant of God repeated frequently, especially in personal celebrations and anniversaries: 'Thank you, I’m sorry, help me more!' These are words that bring us closer to the reality of his interior life and his dealing with the Lord, and which can also help us to give a new impulse to our own Christian life”, writes the Pope.
“Firstly, thank you. It is the immediate and spontaneous reaction of the soul before God's goodness. … And God always precedes us. Alvaro del Portillo was aware of the many gifts God had given him, and he thanked God for that manifestation of his fatherly love. But he did not stop there. His gratitude for the Lord’s love awakened in his heart the wish to follow him with greater selflessness and generosity, and to live a humble life of service to others. Particularly evident was his love for the Church, bride of Christ, whom he served with a heart stripped of worldly interests, free of discord, always welcoming to all, and always seeking the positive in others, what unites and what builds”.
Secondly, there is the phrase “I’m sorry”. Francis explains in his letter that Don Alvaro “often admitted that he saw himself before God with empty hands, unable to respond to so much generosity. However, the admission of human poverty is not the fruit of despair … but instead means opening oneself to His mercy, His love … that does not humiliate, nor does it sink into the abyss of despair; rather, it lives us from our prostration and enables us to walk with more determination and joy. The Servant of God Alvaro knew the need we have of divine mercy, and he dedicated much of his personal energy to encourage persons to approach the Sacrament of Confession, the Sacrament of joy.”
Finally, “help me more. Yes, the Lord never abandons us. … His grace never fails us, and with His help we can proclaim His name to all the world. Beating in the heart of the new Blessed was the desire to take the Good News to all hearts. He went to many countries encouraging evangelisation projects, without being hindered by difficulties, moved by his love for God and for his brothers. … The first condition for proclaiming Christ is to love them, as Christ loved them before us. From there, the Lord awaits us. We cannot keep our faith to ourselves; it is a gift that we have received in order to be able to give it and share it with others”.
“Blessed Alvaro del Portillo sends us a very clear message; he tells us to trust in the Lord, who is our brother, our friend who never disappoints us and who is always at our side,” concludes the Holy Father. “He encourages us not to be afraid to go against the current or to suffer for proclaiming the Gospel. In addition, he teaches us that in the simplicity and ordinariness of our life we can find a sure path of holiness”.
Francis: the encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist is a source of hope for the world
Vatican City, 27 September 2014 (VIS) – “The Eucharist occupies the central position in the Church because it is what makes the Church. As Vatican Council II affirms, it is the 'sacrament of piety, sign of unity, bond of charity'”, said the Pope this morning, as he received in audience the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Committee for the International Eucharistic Councils.
The theme of the next congress, “Christ in you, the hope of glory”, “perfectly reflects the bond between the Eucharist, the mission and Christian hope”, continued the Pontiff. “Today there is a lack of hope in the world, and therefore humanity needs to hear the message of our hope in Jesus Christ. The Church proclaims this message with renewed ardour, using new methods and new expressions. With the spirit of 'new evangelisation', the Church brings this message to all and, in particular, those who despite being baptised, have drifted away from the Church and live without reference to Christian life”.
“The encounter between Jesus in the Eucharist will be a source of hope for the world if, transformed by the power of the Holy See in the image on He Whom we meet, we accept the mission of transforming the world, giving the fullness of life that we ourselves have received and experienced, bringing hope, forgiveness, healing and love to those who are in need, especially the poor, the dispossessed and the oppressed, sharing life and aspirations and walking alongside them in search of an authentic human life in Jesus Christ”, concluded Pope Francis, invoking the protection of the Virgin Mary for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress, to take place in Cebu, Philippines in January 2015.
Communicating the family: a privileged place of encounter with the gift of love
Vatican City, 29 September 2014 (VIS) – The Pontifical Council for Social Communications published a note today explaining the theme of World Communications Day 2015: “Communicating the family: a privileged place of encounter with the gift of love”. The theme follows in continuity with the previous year’s message, and dovetails with the central theme of the next two Synods on the family.
It is important to recall that World Communications Day, the only World Day established by Vatican Council II, is celebrated in many countries, upon the recommendation of bishops throughout the world, on the Sunday preceding Pentecost, and that the Holy Father's Message for the event is traditionally published on the feast day of St. Francis of Sales, patron saint of journalists (24 January).
“The daily news show us the difficulties facing the family today”, according to the note. “Often cultural changes do not help us appreciate how much the family is a good for society.
“The relationships between the members of the family community are inspired and guided by the law of 'free giving'. By respecting and fostering personal dignity in each and every one as the only basis for value, this free giving takes the form of heartfelt acceptance, encounter and dialogue, disinterested availability, generous service and deep solidarity.
“Today, how can we tell people who are perhaps wounded and disillusioned that love between a man and a woman is a good thing? How can we help children know that they are a most precious gift? How can we warm the hearts of people, especially those who are wounded and disappointed, and help them rediscover the beauty of love? How can we show that the family is the privileged place where we experience the beauty of life, the joy and the gift of love, the consolation of forgiveness offered and received, and the encounter with the other?
“Today the Church must learn again how to show that the family is a great gift, something good and beautiful. The Church is called to show more vividly that the gift of love, which the bride and groom offer each other, draws all people to God. It is an exciting task because it moves people to look at the true reality of the human person, and it opens the doors to the future, to life”.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 27 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Rev. Salvatore Angerami as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Naples (area 274, population 1,744,000, Catholics 1,715,000, priests 1,053, permanent deacons 292, religious 3,413), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Naples, Italy in 1956 and was ordained a priest in 1997. He studied engineering at the University “Federico II” of Naples and exercised the profession of engineer for some years before undertaking theological and philosophical studies at the archiepiscopal seminary of Naples. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish priest of San Gennaro al Vomero, archiepiscopal delegate for buildings of worship, ordinary confessor and spiritual father of the preparatory community of the archiepiscopal major seminary, member of the diocesan council for economic affairs, and member of the Commission of Religious Art. He is currently rector of the archiepiscopal seminary of Naples.

Today's Mass Readings : Wed. October 1, 2014


Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 457


Reading 1JB 9:1-12, 14-16

Job answered his friends and said:

I know well that it is so;
but how can a man be justified before God?
Should one wish to contend with him,
he could not answer him once in a thousand times.
God is wise in heart and mighty in strength;
who has withstood him and remained unscathed?

He removes the mountains before they know it;
he overturns them in his anger.
He shakes the earth out of its place,
and the pillars beneath it tremble.
He commands the sun, and it rises not;
he seals up the stars.

He alone stretches out the heavens
and treads upon the crests of the sea.
He made the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south;
He does great things past finding out,
marvelous things beyond reckoning.

Should he come near me, I see him not;
should he pass by, I am not aware of him;
Should he seize me forcibly, who can say him nay?
Who can say to him, “What are you doing?”

How much less shall I give him any answer,
or choose out arguments against him!
Even though I were right, I could not answer him,
but should rather beg for what was due me.
If I appealed to him and he answered my call,
I could not believe that he would hearken to my words.

Responsorial Psalm PS 88:10BC-11, 12-13, 14-15

R. (3) Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
Daily I call upon you, O LORD;
to you I stretch out my hands.
Will you work wonders for the dead?
Will the shades arise to give you thanks?
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
Do they declare your mercy in the grave,
your faithfulness among those who have perished?
Are your wonders made known in the darkness,
or your justice in the land of oblivion?
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
But I, O LORD, cry out to you;
with my morning prayer I wait upon you.
Why, O LORD, do you reject me;
why hide from me your face?
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.

Gospel LK 9:57-62

As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding
on their journey, someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

Pope Francis "...it is the beauty and the strength of the 'sensus fidei', of that supernatural sense of faith, that is given by the Holy Spirit so that together we can enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life” Angelus/Video

 Charisms and their action in the Christian community Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The charisms that build the Church and make her fruitful constituted the subject of Pope Francis' catechesis during today's general audience in St. Peter's Square, attended by over 35,000 people. “Ever since the beginning, the Lord has filled his Church with the gifts of His Spirit, making her forever alive ... and among these gifts, we find some that are particularly valuable for the edification and the progress of the Christian community: these are charisms”, said the bishop of Rome, explaining that in everyday language we often refer to “charisma” in relation to a talent or natural ability. However, from a Christian point of view, a charism is far more than a personal quality, a predisposition or a gift: it is a grace, a gift from God the Father, by the action of the Holy Spirit … so that with the same gratuitous love it may be placed at the service of the entire community, for the good of all”. On the other hand, Pope Francis emphasised that alone it is impossible to understand whether or not one has received a charism or what form it takes, as it is within a community that we learn to recognise them as a sign of the Father's love for all of His sons and daughters. It is therefore good for us to ask ourselves, 'Has the Lord made a charism issue forth in me, in the grace of His Spirit, that my brothers in the Christian community have recognised and encouraged? And how do I act, in relation to this gift: do I experience it with generosity, placing it at the service of all, or do I neglect it and end up forgetting about it? Or does it perhaps become a pretext for pride, so that I expect the community to do things my way?”. “The most beautiful experience, however, is discovering how many different charisms there are, and with how many gifts of the Spirit the Father fills His Church. This must not be regarded as a cause for confusion or unease: they are all gifts that God gives to the Christian community, so that it might grow harmoniously, in faith and in His love, like one body, the body of Christ. The same Spirit that grants this diversity of charisms also constructs the unity of the Church”. He warned, “Beware, lest these gifts become a cause for envy, division or jealousy! As the apostle Paul remarks in his First Letter to the Corinthians, all charisms are important in the eyes of God, and at the same time, no-one is indispensable. This means that in the Christian community everyone needs the other, and every gift received is fully realised when it is shared with brothers, for the good of all. This is the Church! And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, is expressed in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the 'sensus fidei', of that supernatural sense of faith, that is given by the Holy Spirit so that together we can enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life”. Pope Francis went on to recall that today the Church commemorates St. Therese of Lisieux, who died at the age of 24 and “loved the Church so much that she wanted to be a missionary; she wanted to have every sort of charism. And in prayer she realised that her charism was love. She said, 'In the heart of the Church, I will be love', a beautiful phrase. And we all have this charism: the capacity to love. Today let us ask St. Therese of the Child Jesus for this capacity to love the Church, to love her dearly, and to accept all these charisms with this filial love for the Church, for our hierarchical holy mother Church”.

Saint October 1 : St. Therese of Lisieux : Patron of AIDS, Illness, and Missionaries


St. Therese of Lisieux
DISCALCED CARMELITE MYSTIC, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: October 1
Information:
Feast Day:
October 1
Born:
January 2, 1873, Alençon, France
Died:
September 30, 1897, Lisieux, France
Canonized:
May 17, 1925 by Pope Pius XI
Major Shrine:
Basilique de Sainte-Thérèse, Lisieux, France
Patron of:
AIDS sufferers; aviators; bodily ills; florists; France; illness; loss of parents; missionaries; tuberculosis

The spread of the cult of St. Therese of Lisieux is one of the impressive religious manifestations of our time. During her few years on earth this young French Carmelite was scarcely to be distinguished from many another devoted nun, but her death brought an almost immediate awareness of her unique gifts. Through her letters, the word-of-mouth tradition originating with her fellow-nuns, and especially through the publication of Histoire d'un ame, Therese of the Child Jesus or "The Little Flower" soon came to mean a great deal to numberless people; she had shown them the way of perfection in the small things of every day. Miracles and graces were being attributed to her intercession, and within twenty-eight years after death, this simple young nun had been canonized. In 1936 a basilica in her honor at Lisieux was opened and blessed by Cardinal Pacelli; and it was he who, in 1944, as Pope, declared her the secondary patroness of France. "The Little Flower" was an admirer of St. Teresa of Avila, and a comparison at once suggests itself. Both were christened Teresa, both were Carmelites, and both left interesting autobiographies. Many temperamental and intellectual differences separate them, in addition to the differences of period and of race; but there are striking similarities. They both patiently endured severe physical sufferings; both had a capacity for intense religious experience; both led lives made radiant by the love of Christ.
The parents of the later saint were Louis Martin, a watchmaker of Alencon, France, son of an army officer, and Azelie-Marie Guerin, a lacemaker of the same town. Only five of their nine children lived to maturity; all five were daughters and all were to become nuns. Francoise-Marie Therese, the youngest, was born on January 2, 1873. Her childhood must have been normally happy, for her first memories, she writes, are of smiles and tender caresses. Although she was affectionate and had much natural charm, Therese gave no sign of precocity. When she was only four, the family was stricken by the sad blow of the mother's death. Monsieur Martin gave up his business and established himself at Lisieux, Normandy, where Madame Martin's brother lived with his wife and family. The Guerins, generous and loyal people, were able to ease the father's responsibilities through the years by giving to their five nieces practical counsel and deep affection.
The Martins were now and always united in the closest bonds. The eldest daughter, Marie, although only thirteen, took over the management of the household, and the second, Pauline, gave the girls religious instruction. When the group gathered around the fire on winter evenings, Pauline would read aloud works of piety, such as the Liturgical Year of Dom Gueranger. Their lives moved along quietly for some years, then came the first break in the little circle. Pauline entered the Carmelite convent of Lisieux. She was to advance steadily in her religious vocation, later becoming prioress. It is not astonishing that the youngest sister, then only nine, had a great desire to follow the one who had been her loving guide. Four years later, when Marie joined her sister at the Carmel, Therese's desire for a life in religion was intensified. Her education during these years was in the hands of the Benedictine nuns of the convent of Notre-Dame-du-Pre. She was confirmed there at the age of eleven.
In her autobiography Therese writes that her personality changed after her mother's death, and from being childishly merry she became withdrawn and shy. While Therese was indeed developing into a serious-minded girl, it does not appear that she became markedly sad. We have many evidences of liveliness and fun, and the oral tradition, as well as the many letters, reveal an outgoing nature, able to articulate the warmest expressions of love for her family, teachers, and friends.
On Christmas Eve, just a few days before Therese's fourteenth birthday, she underwent an experience which she ever after referred to as "my conversion." It was to exert a profound influence on her life. Let her tell of it—and its moral effect—in her own words: "On that blessed night the sweet infant Jesus, scarcely an hour old, filled the darkness of my soul with floods of light. By becoming weak and little, for love of me, He made me strong and brave: He put His own weapons into my hands so that I went on from strength to strength, beginning, if I may say so, 'to run as a giant."' An indelible impression had been made on this attuned soul; she claimed that the Holy Child had healed her of undue sensitiveness and "girded her with His weapons." It was by reason of this vision that the saint was to become known as "Therese of the Child Jesus."
The next year she told her father of her wish to become a Carmelite. He readily consented, but both the Carmelite authorities and Bishop Hugonin of Bayeux refused to consider it while she was still so young. A few months later, in November, to her unbounded delight, her father took her and another daughter, Celine, to visit Notre-Dame des Victoires in Paris, then on pilgrimage to Rome for the Jubilee of Pope Leo XIII. The party was accompanied by the Abbe Reverony of Bayeux. In a letter from Rome to her sister Pauline, who was now Sister Agnes of Jesus, Therese described the audience: "The Pope was sitting on a great chair; M. Reverony was near him; he watched the pilgrims kiss the Pope's foot and pass before him and spoke a word about some of them. Imagine how my heart beat as I saw my turn come: I didn't want to return without speaking to the Pope. I spoke, but I did not get it all said because M. Reverony did not give me time. He said immediately: 'Most Holy Father, she is a child who wants to enter Carmel at fifteen, but its superiors are considering the matter at the moment.' I would have liked to be able to explain my case, but there was no way. The Holy Father said to me simply: 'If the good God wills, you will enter.' Then I was made to pass on to another room. Pauline, I cannot tell you what I felt. It was like annihilation, I felt deserted.... Still God cannot be giving me trials beyond my strength. He gave me the courage to sustain this one."
Therese did not have to wait long in suspense. The Pope's blessing and the earnest prayers she offered at many shrines during the pilgrimage had the desired effect. At the end of the year Bishop Hugonin gave his permission, and on April 9, 1888, Therese joined her sisters in the Carmel at Lisieux. "From her entrance she astonished the community by her bearing, which was marked by a certain majesty that one would not expect in a child of fifteen." So testified her novice mistress at the time of Therese's beatification. During her novitiate Father Pichon, a Jesuit, gave a retreat, and he also testified to Therese's piety. "It was easy to direct that child. The Holy Spirit was leading her and I do not think that I ever had, either then or later, to warn her against illusions.... What struck me during the retreat were the spiritual trials through which God wished her to pass." Therese's presence among them filled the nuns with happiness. She was slight in build, and had fair hair, gray-blue eyes, and delicate features. With all the intensity of her ardent nature she loved the daily round of religious practices, the liturgical prayers, the reading of Scripture. After entering the Carmel she began to sign letters to her father and others, "Therese of the Child Jesus."
In 1889 the Martin sisters suffered a great shock. Their father, after two paralytic strokes, had a mental breakdown and had to be removed to a private sanitarium, where he remained for three years. Therese bore this grievous sorrow heroically.
On September 8, 1890, at the age of seventeen, Therese took final vows. In spite of poor health, she carried out from the first all the austerities of the stern Carmelite rule, except that she was not permitted to fast. "A soul of such mettle," said the prioress, "must not be treated like a child. Dispensations are not meant for her." The physical ordeal which she felt more than any other was the cold of the convent buildings in winter, but no one even suspected this until she confessed it on her death-bed. And by that time she was able to say, "I have reached the point of not being able to suffer any more, because all suffering is sweet to me."
In 1893, when she was twenty, she was appointed to assist the novice mistress, and was in fact mistress in all but name. She comments, "From afar it seems easy to do good to souls, to make them love God more, to mold them according to our own ideas and views. But coming closer we find, on the contrary, that to do good without God's help is as impossible as to make the sun shine at night."
In her twenty-third year, on order of the prioress, Therese began to write the memories of her childhood and of life at the convent; this material forms the first chapters of Histoire d'un ame, the History of a Soul. It is a unique and engaging document, written with a charming spontaneity, full of fresh turns of phrase, unconscious self-revelation, and, above all, giving evidence of deep spirituality. She describes her own prayers and thereby tells us much about herself. "With me prayer is a lifting up of the heart, a look towards Heaven, a cry of gratitude and love uttered equally in sorrow and in joy; in a word, something noble, supernatural, which enlarges my soul and unites it to God.... Except for the Divine Office, which in spite of my unworthiness is a daily joy, I have not the courage to look through books for beautiful prayers. . . . I do as a child who has not learned to read, I just tell our Lord all that I want and he understands." She has natural psychological insight: "Each time that my enemy would provoke me to fight I behave like a brave soldier. I know that a duel is an act of cowardice, and so, without once looking him in the face, I turn my back on the foe, hasten to my Saviour, and vow that I am ready to shed my blood in witness of my belief in Heaven." She mentions her own patience humorously. During meditation in the choir, one of the sisters continually fidgeted with her rosary, until Therese was perspiring with irritation. At last, "instead of trying not to hear it, which was impossible, I set myself to listen as though it had been some delightful music, and my meditation, which was the 'prayer of quiet,' passed in offering this music to our Lord." Her last chapter is a paean to divine love, and concludes, "I entreat Thee to let Thy divine eyes rest upon a vast number of little souls; I entreat Thee to choose in this world a legion of little victims of Thy love." She counted herself among these. "I am a very little soul, who can offer only very little things to the Lord."
In 1894 Louis Martin died, and soon Celine, who had of late been taking care of him, made the fourth sister from this family in the Carmel at Lisieux. Some years later, the fifth, Leonie, entered the convent of the Visitation at Caen.
Therese occupied herself with reading and writing almost up to the end of her life. That event loomed ever nearer as tuberculosis made a steady advance. During the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday, 1896, she suffered a pulmonary haemorrhage. Although her bodily and spiritual sufferings were extreme, she wrote many letters, to members of her family and to distant friends, as well as continuing Histoire d'un ame. She carried on a correspondance with Carmelite sisters at Hanoi, China; they wished her to come out and join them, not realizing the seriousness of her ailment. She had a great yearning to respond to their appeal. At intervals moments of revelation came to her, and it was then that she penned those succinct reflections that are now repeated so widely. Here are three of them that give the flavor of her mind: "I will spend my Heaven doing good on earth." "I have never given the good God aught but love, and it is with love that He will repay." "My 'little way' is the way of spiritual childhood, the way of trust and absolute self-surrender."
A further insight is given us in a letter Therese wrote, shortly before she died, to Pere Roulland, a missionary in China. "Sometimes, when I read spiritual treatises, in which perfection is shown with a thousand obstacles in the way and a host of illusions round about it, my poor little mind soon grows weary, I close the learned book, which leaves my head splitting and my heart parched, and I take the Holy Scriptures. Then all seems luminous, a single word opens up infinite horizons to my soul, perfection seems easy; I see that it is enough to realize one's nothingness, and give oneself wholly, like a child, into the arms of the good God. Leaving to great souls, great minds, the fine books I cannot understand, I rejoice to be little because 'only children, and those who are like them, will be admitted to the heavenly banquet.’"
In June, 1897, Therese was removed to the infirmary of the convent. On September 30, with the words, "My God . . . I love Thee!" on her lips she died. The day before, her sister Celine, knowing the end was at hand, had asked for some word of farewell, and Therese, serene in spite of pain, murmured, "I have said all . . . all is consummated . . . only love counts."
The prioress, Mother Marie de Gonzague, wrote in the convent register, alongside the saint's act of Profession: ". . . The nine and a half years she spent among us leave our souls fragrant with the most beautiful virtues with which the life of a Carmelite can be filled. A perfect model of humility, obedience, charity, prudence, detachment, and regularity, she fulfilled the difficult discipline of mistress of novices with a sagacity and affection which nothing could equal save her love for God...."
The Church was to recognize a profound and valuable teaching in 'the little way'—connoting a realistic awareness of one's limitations, and the wholehearted giving of what one has, however small the gift. Beginning in 1898, with the publication of a small edition of Histoire d'un ame, the cult of this saint of 'the little way' grew so swiftly that the Pope dispensed with the rule that a process for canonization must not be started until fifty years after death. Almost from childhood, it seems, Therese had consciously aspired to the heights, often saying to herself that God would not fill her with a desire that was unattainable. Only twenty-six years after her death she was beatified by Pope Pius XI, and in the year of Jubilee, 1925, he pronounced her a saint. Two years later she was named heavenly patroness of foreign missions along with St. Francis Xavier.
Saint Therese of Lisieux, Virgin. Celebration of Feast Day is October 1.