Oct 3: St. Teresa of the Child Jesus
ST. TERESA OF THE CHILD JESUS, V., d.
OLORD JESUS CHRIST, who hast said, Except ye become as little children ye shall not enter into the kingdôm of heaven : grant us, we beseech thêe ; in meekness and lowliness of heart to follow the footsteps of blessed Teresa thy Virgin, and so at last to come unto thine everlasting kingdom. Where thou livest and reignest, with the Father, in the unity.
Matins by Rule 2.
For the Legend:
TERESA of the Child Jesus was born in 1873, at Alengon, in France, to a family that was both devout and intelligent in the practice of religion. It is said that both parents had in their youth sought a vocation to the religious life ; and that when they were convinced that God had
not called them thereto, they each determined to seek in marriage a dedication to God's will, for the achievement of a Christian home, which would be a school of holiness both for the parents and their children. Whereupon it came about that, when they had found each other, and learnt each other's ideals of family life, they were married. They brought into the world, and trained for God, several children, of whom four became Carmelite nuns. It was a family custom to read aloud good books, specially those on the liturgy and the Bible. And thus the little Teresa got a good grounding in the Faith, and came to take much joy in worship, and learnt to love and read the Scriptures for herself. * When she was nearly fourteen, she overheard her father remark on her childish pre-occupation with the Christmas festivities. This was the occasion of what she afterwards was wont to call her conversion, for she realized at once that she was naturally childish, and that she must find a way of making her childishness pleasing to God ; and thenceforth she took the childhood of Christ as her example and model in all things. Hence she devised what she called : The Little Way of Simplicity : that is, the acceptance of even the most trivial things, and the doing of all small, ordinary duties, as her chief means of glorifying God. She once wrote on this wise : With me prayer is a lifting up of the heart ; a look toward heaven ; a cry of gratitude and love uttered equally in sorrow or in joy ; and except for the Divine Office, I do not read prayers from books, but like a child who cannot yet read, I merely tell our Lord all I want, knowing that he will understand. Before she was fifteen she asked leave of her father to follow her
two sisters, who had already entered the Carmelite Order. But both the diocesan bishop and the Order's superiors refused to suspend the regulation which denied admission to one so young. A few months later, on a pilgrimage to Rome, when presented to Pope Leo XIII, she boldly broke the rule of silence, which was strictly enforced on such occasions, and asked him for permission to become a Carmelite at the age of fifteen. When he did nothing to nullify the decision which had been made in her case, she was undaunted, and gave herself to prayer to obtain her wish, which she was convinced was God's will. And it came to pass that she was permitted to enter the Carmel of Lisieux in 1888, where she made quick progress in all that pertained to her vocation. * One of the duties of this Order is to keep watch and ward in prayer over the priesthood ; and in such prayer she was able to accomplish much for souls through the ministry of the priests for whom she prayed. She also became assistant to the mistress of novices, and taught the science of eternal life to the beginners at the Carmel, in such wise that her superiors commanded her to write her autobiography, as Saint Teresa the Great had done. She lived in the Carmel of Lisieux somewhat over nine years, when her frail body gave way to a mortal illness ; and so she passed to her Spouse in heaven, at the age of twenty-four, on September 3oth, 1897. In 1925 she was canonized, and declared to be a Patroness of foreign missions. For she had said that after death she would let fall a shower of roses, which was understood to mean graces implored for mankind, inasmuch as she had ever looked forward to heaven as an opportunity to do good upon earth.
For the Gospel Lesson:
The Lesson from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Chap. 18. I.
AT that time : Came the disciples unto Jesus saying : Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And so on, and that which followeth.
A Homily by St. Leo the Pope
Sermo 37, in Epiphaniae solemn.
WHEN the Lord's disciples, as the Evangelist saith, discussed among themselves which should be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, he called a little child and set him in the midst of them, and said : Verily, I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself. as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaved. Christ loveth childhood, which state at first he took upon himself, both in his soul and in his body. Christ loveth childhood, for it is the teacher of humility, the rule of innocence, and the type of meekness. Christ loveth childhood, for he formeth the character of the grown man on this model, and bringeth back the latter years of the old to this very state ; and he shapeth on this wise those whom he would raise to the kingdom of heaven. * But, that we may be fully able to understand how this marvellous transformation can be accomplished, and by what change we are to return to the state of childhood, let us follow the teaching of the blessed Paul, who saith : Be not children in understanding ; howbeit, in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. Hence we are not to return to the pastimes and imperfect begin-
nings of childhood, but thence are rather to take whatever is suitable to the full-grown : such as the swift passing of excitement ; the speedy restoration of peace ; the forgetfulness of injuries ; the indifference to dignity ; the love of the companionship of their comrades ; and the natural evenness of temper. It is indeed a great good not to know and not to have a taste for harm ; for to do and to return injuries is the wisdom of this world, but to render no man evil for evil is to possess the childhood of Christian goodwill. * The mystery of this day's festival, dearly beloved, calleth you to this imitation of little children. And the Saviour, who was adored by the Magi as a child, recommendeth to you this pattern of humility. To shew what glory he prepareth for them that would imitate him, he consecrated by martyrdom those born at the same time as himself. And thus the children born in Bethlehem, where Christ was born, became sharers of his passion by virtue of sharing the age of his infancy. Let the faithful then love lowliness. For he that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. This is the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Vespers of fol. UK: With Commem. of preced.