Wednesday 16 September 2015 — Latest update Thursday 21 July 2016

St. Therese of the Child Jesus : 1st October Sth Therese de l ’Enfant Jesus

"Jesus said, ’Amen I tell to you, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.’

Rm. 8 14-17 Ps.130 Mt.18,1-4

Sainte Theresa of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face

“Jesus said ’In truth I tell you, unless you change and become like a small child, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

1st October

Rm.8 14-17 Ps.130 Mt.18,1-4

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked ’Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”

Jesus is striking in the way he teaches his disciples about who is the greatest. If you want to be the greatest in the heavenly kingdom you must see to be the last. Whoever will make himself humble like a child will be the greatest in the Heavenly kingdom! This revolutionary. What is normal in the kingdom of heaven is opposite to what is so in the world. All of our way of thinking has to be reversed! To be raised up you have to lower yourself. This requires a complete re orientation of our whole life. Humility is indispensable if we are to reach the greatness of the heavenly kingdom.

Humility is the spirit that seeks to lower rather than raise!

Therese is a Doctor of the Church, we want to place ourselves at the school of the ’smallest one’ who is so big.

Therese commented on this Gospel passage in such marvellous way she revealed this word, she made it into her name : Therese of the Child Jesus.

In her short life, moved by the Holy Spirit, she revealed how a child abandons herself.

To become a child of God is a long work of the Holy Spirit which isn’t evident.

Therese understood that in being very little and in the immense poverty she gelt within herself, she would need the help of the Holy Spirit.

“Jesus called a child to him, setting him standing amongst them. The he said ’In truth I tell you, unless you change and become like little children you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Pushed by their pride, the disciples ask Jesus about the best places in his Kingdom. So thy ask him who are the greatest in the kingdom. This question surges not long after Jesus had announced his forthcoming death. He had revealed tot hem that he would undergo all sorts of bad treatment which

would lead to his death and that after three days he would rise from the dead.

God’s idea of what git means to be great is far more different than that of men.

Jesus takes the example of a child to give the meaning of what a genuine Christian is like. Placing a child to stand in the middle of them all, he is a real pedagogue.

For a rabbi, ’to be standing’ is to be ’talmîd’, to be ’a learner’. It is clear that Jesus’ message is really this :’the greatest in the Heavenly Kingdom is the one who becomes like a small child.’

Becoming a small child means working at being confident and in a state of surrender throughout all of one’s life.

We do indeed need to adapt ourselves to the Gift of God which God gives to us throughout the whole of our existence, in joys as well as ordeals in life.

Theresa herself said ’I am a baby with the face of an elderly person.’

“And so whoever makes himself a little as this little child is the rgeatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Jesus is humble and consents to lowering himself. The Son of God through whom all things were created, is free concerning the whole world. Jesus possesses nothing, he is completely abnegated over all things. He gives up his divine right to accomplish our salvation. This is his desire.

He shows us what it consists to be truly great in order to enter into the Heavenly Kingdom.

Jesus declares how humility is indispensable for us to enter into the kingdom in accomplishing the Will of the Father who is in Heaven.

We need to ’turn around’, to have a complete reversal of attitude, take a straight path to become like a child.

This means seeking a low social position, no favours, as a model to imitate.

Children don’t know what it mans to be malicious, they don’t have any experience with being evil. A child needs God’s intervention in his life soa s to completely transform him.

Jesus proposes to us the ’repetition’ in our life of his life of Son of the Father.

One of the qualities of a small child is to be in the repettition of what he learns.

When Theresa was sick, her ’little darling Daddy’ became for her an icon of the face of her Crucified Jesus!

Theresa was too little to bear this ordeal and so she plunged into the mystery of Jesu’ Passion.

She let herself be guided by the Holy Spirit. She even changed her name and was henceforth called ’Theresa of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face

We ask Theresa for the grace to be converted to being very small throughout our life, being poor like Jesus.

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face : 1st October

"At this time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ’Who is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven?’

It is good to know that in the Armenian language, ’great’ is called rabba, which gives the word ’rabbi’, like the French master! Now, Therese is a Doctor of the Church! We want to follow her teaching where ’the learners at the feet of the Master’ can put themselves at the school of ’the smallest one’ who is so ’great’. Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church, made such a marvelous commentary on today’s Gospel. She revealed this Word of God, making her name Therese of ’the Child’ Jesus. In her short life, moved by the Holy Spirit, she manifested the surrender of a little child : ’The Holy Spirit Himself affirms that to our spirit that we are children of God.“Thus it is a long work of the Holy Spirit in us and this doesn’t happen easily.We need to become a child of God! Therese understood that in being little, and also a state of immense poverty that she felt within her, she needed to have help in order to acquire another dimension which was one quite interior, the help of the Holy Spirit that of ’the one hour born child Jesus ’who healed her of her sickness. ’ ’I keep my soul quiet and tranquil as a tiny child against her mother.”

"Jesus called a little child to him whom he set among them and said : ’In truth I tell you, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.’

Jesus places this child “standing there amidst them all.” He is a great pedagogue who takes a little child and stands him up facing him. ’To stand up’ in front of the rabbi is to be Talmud, to be a ’learner’. It is clear that Jesus’ message is this : ’ the most learned in the kingdom of God is the one who becomes like a little child.’ So Jesus proposes the little child as the pedagogical model by excellence for his learners. This is why Marcel Jouasse doesn’t hesitate to translate ’child’ by ’pupil’. Becoming a little child is a work of confidence and surrender throughout all a life. We do indeed need to adapt ourselves to the gift of God which corresponds to the gift that God makes to us

in all our existence, in the joys as well as the trials of our lives. Therese herself said : ’I am a baby with the face of an old person.’ When the trial of her father’s sickness came, that of her father who had ’lost his head’, Therese was far too little to bear this trial and so she plunge herself into the Passion of Jesus. She let herself be guided by the Holy Spirit, she modified her name, calling herself : ’Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face.’

“And so , the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.”

Jesus proposes to us to repeat in our lives his own life as Son of the Father, like a pupil. The word ’repeat’ could perhaps translate for us the word ’convert’ like a ’return to an act’, that we do again. It is one of the qualities of a small child to often repeat what he learns, more in the understanding of what he learns. So Jesus wanted us to understand that in God’s Kingdom, the most learned is the one who learns without understanding! So human intelligence stops being an obstacle for what it doesn’t understand so as to enter into another understanding come from elsewhere, that of the Holy Spirit. We join here the first of the Beatitudes, of the ’poor in spirit’ to whom the Kingdom of God is promised. The ’little darling Daddy’ of Therese became, in his sickness, the icon of the face of the Crucified Jesus! Therese will learn without understanding what her father’s sickness reveals to her! The icon of the Father in his great goodness is manifested by Jesus’ face in his agony and suffering. For Therese, her father made Jesus’ agony become alive in the present moment. She had confidence in God. The little way of confidence and surrender of Therese is born of this experience. Today she travels around earth, during these times when we so easily do without God. This little way of childhood makes a multitude of disciples of Jesus whose light is being tiny and being immensely poor. This is the way that Therese passes her heaven doing good on earth : ’I do not die, I am entering into Life!’

We ask from Therese this grace of conversion to being tiny and for the grace to be poor throughout our whole life.