Thursday, October 01, 2009

Flower Power

"I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul."
Thérèse Martin was not a sissy saint. It wasn’t all roses and buttercups for this young women of 19th century France, though the language of early writers, and her own words at times, can seem like sweet saccharine. She was a rock of faith, broken and remade by the reality of suffering. All of her life… from the death of her mother at the tender age of 4, through the fits of delirium, fever, prolonged fainting spells, the ravages of tuberculosis, and in the end a total deprivation of the consolation of the Presence of God, she was faithful. She entered the convent at the age of 15, boldly asking permission from the Pope himself to do so, and spent 9 years in a cloister, working long and hard at domestic chores, to the humdrum daily tick of the clock. Nothing extraordinary, seemingly from the outside. But on the inside she was a powerhouse of prayer and an icon of burning union with God. She taught us how to make the ordinary extraordinary. So take your crazy 4th period class, or that business meeting, or the price of gas, or that cranky baby, or that back pain, or those pesky telemarket’ers today, and smile, and give them up to God. Suffering need not be wasted or in vain, pain can become priceless when offered up for another. Thérèse died in 1897 at the age of 24. She felt the vacuum of atheism in her soul in the closing days of her battle with tuberculosis, but still she held on to her faith and trust in God. Like Mother Teresa in her final days, they each took on the post-modern aftertaste of nihilism, and offered its seemingly meaningless despair up as a sacrifice for souls. That’s flower power, that’s the power of this Rose of Jesus. St. Thérèse, Little Flower of Carmel, pray for us!
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