The first day of October is celebrated as the feast day of Saint Therese of Child Jesus, a French Carmelite nun who is also known as "The
Little Flower of Jesus".
St. Therese of Child Jesus, also called Therese of Liseaux, is indeed a person well loved by the Lord because of her childlike faith and simplicity. The Catholic Church has announced this virgin saint as doctor of the church because of her profound understanding of the mysteries of the gospel. Her little way to follow Christ earned her the inheritance of the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me." (Matthew 183-5)
A Carmelite nun
At the age of 15, Therese joined the congregation of Carmelites which was her ambition from childhood. She spent only nine years in the convent, suffering a lot due to her tuberculosis disease which caused her death at the age of 24.
Therese lived a hidden life and due to her humility "wanted to be unknown," yet became popular after her death through her spiritual autobiography and miracles.
The impact of her religious experiences
The impact of "The Story of a Soul", a collection of her autobiographical manuscripts, printed and distributed a year after her death to an initially very limited audience attracted the faithful and she rapidly became one of the most popular saints of the twentieth century. The intercession of her prayers and miracles culminated in raising her to her altar veneration. She was beatified in 1923 and was canonized in 1925.
The little way of Therese of Child Jesus
St. Therese was very simple in her faith and spiritual life. She loved God as a little child and confided her whole self into Him. Her little way was based on two principles: first, God shows love by mercy and forgiveness, and second, she could not be "perfect" in following the Lord unless she loves and forgive others unconditionally. The depth of her spirituality, of which she said, "My way is all confidence and love of God," is still inspiring millions of believers. Although her life sounds so routine and ordinary, it was steeped in a loving commitment that knew no breakdown.
Through her intercessory prayers, St. Therese is said to have converted as many people to Christianity as the Jesuit missionary St. Francis Xavier who converted thousands in India and other Asian countries. Hence she was declared co-patron of the missions with Francis Xavier in 1927.
St. Therese of Child Jesus followed the words of Jesus faithfully as a loving child of the Eternal Parent. By becoming a sincere child of God, Therese inherited the Kingdom of heaven.
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