Today the Church celebrates the feast of St.Therese of Lisieux, a Carmelite contemplative who was born in Alencon, France in 1873, the youngest of her parents' nine children and died at the age of 24. She was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II in 1997. Here are a few words from that declaration by Blessed John Paul II.
Therese of Lisieux did not only grasp and describe the profound truth of love as the center and heart of the church, but in her short life she lived it intensely. It is precisely this convergence of doctrine and concrete experience, of truth and life, of teaching and practice, which shines with particular brightness in this saint and which makes her an attractive model especially for young people and for those who are seeking true meaning for their life.
St. Therese was convinced that love is the heart of the church and of Catholic life. I was very fortunate to get to know her life in my early years of formation in the seminary. She Helped me to understand that God is a compassionate, loving Father and our goal is to respond to that love. If you have not read her life yet try to do so. Her autobiography is The Story of a Soul. Recall St. Paul's words: “Love is patient, love is kind…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things… so faith, hope, love remain, these three: but the greatest of these is love.” ( 1Cor 12:31—13:13)
Rev. William Houck is the Catholic bishop emeritus of Jackson, Mississippi.
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