Thursday, October 1, 2020

Thérèse: Love Really is "Stronger"...

I only get as far as “mourir” (to DIE) and them I’m like: “ahhh, RUN!”😲 And yet...just the fact that a human being in the midst of dying an awful, painful death could say things like Thérèse said in her Last Conversations awakens a wild hope. As if to wonder: "you mean, this is not just a game? You mean, life and death actually really matter? Love really is 'stronger'..?"

Too often I don’t think and act like a true Christian. I think and act more like a “fan of Christianity...” That’s why we need witnesses.

And Saint Thérėse is one of the greatest witnesses.

Before she became a Carmelite, she was the girl in the picture below. A late-19th-century French middle-class girl. Just a “regular” human being, with particular social and cultural characteristics, but with no "special marks," just the same fundamental humanity we all share. 

What a blessing that photography was invented in time to give us images of Thérèse, not only the famous pictures of her in the monastery, in her nun's habit, but also this one, which requires our eyes to affirm that this girl was so very particularly, unmistakeably human. 

What an awesome, amazing thing it is to be human!

The most astonishing Thérèse, the Queen of all those very special friends we have in the communion of saints, whom I refer to as "God's Girl Squad" because they are His great, ready, "energetic" helpers and our good, brave, loyal companions. These are the "wise virgins" whose lamps burn brightly for Jesus at the "wedding feast," and who light up the way for us too on the paths of our own histories.

They come from every time and place: from unknown early martyrs to Saint Agnes to Joan the Maid to martyrs of China, Japan, Korea to Kateri Tekakwitha to Maria Gorretti to my dear, beloved "little sister" Chiara 'Luce' Badano to all the multitudes of saints who look after us with such tenderness even if we don't know their names in this life - young girls and young-at-heart too, who gave their everything that the fire of God's love might fill the earth.

Thérèse expresses her great desire, which is a promise from of all of them to "return to the earth," to be near to us in our sorrows and cares, near to us - just beyond our sight, to "make Love loved."