Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church
By Beth DeCristofaro
I am intensely jealous for
An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest…For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.” (Luke 9: 46, 48)
May I serve you, Lord God, rather than myself. May I feed those you love so that in my hunger you alone feed me. May I open myself so that your jealous love abides in my heart to nourish and animate all I do, think and feel. Thank you for your faithful and just love of me. Amen.
How fitting that these readings coincide with the feast of St. Therese. Her life was a deliberate path to God and her “Little Way” shows how she chose to be “least” in every action, no matter how small. "Jesus does not ask great deeds from us, but only surrender and gratitude." she said.
Zechariah speaks to the Jews through prophetic visions of God who is both incredibly possessive and immeasurably generous; God asks the People to follow. They have been in exile, incapable of amazing deeds or “greatness”. God fiercely continues to love them. In Luke, Jesus chooses a child, incapable of what we would call great deeds and asks His followers to be only as children.
Greatness is found by surrender and gratitude in the words of Therese.
To what do we surrender? In the Gospel today, two incidents focus on attitudes that are opposed to Christian discipleship: rivalry and intolerance of outsiders. It is so easy to surrender to blame, covetousness, fear, narrow-mindedness.
Are we grateful? Does gratitude manifest itself in our actions through generosity of time, talent, money? Do we see those in need as children – the least among us – or as inferior? Grasping? Duplicitous?
Do we put ourselves into exile from God’s fierce, loving spirit through putting ourselves first? Old habits die hard. Today, focus on God’s jealous love for the Jews who kept turning away. God also loves me that much. Today, focus on Jesus’ gentle but unyielding love of his disciples who continue to wrangle among themselves. Jesus loves me even though I continue to put myself first. Can I yield to God’s love and offer it to others in small, insignificant ways today?