Each year during the first week of school, everyone in my class chooses a patron saint to intercede for them throughout the year as they grow as scholars and future saints. Every week a different student has the opportunity to teach the class about their saint as they lead our morning meeting and prayer. Learning from the lives of the saints and praying for their intercessions has always been a beautiful and concrete way to see that heaven isn’t just for extraordinary, perfect men and women entirely unlike us but is full of real people who lived real human lives.
My patron saint this year is St. Therese of Lisieux, affectionately called “The Little Flower”. Her feast day falls on October 1st, and so she is the first saint to kick off the wonderful line up of October feast days. Compared with the incredible saints to follow, like St. Joan of Arc and St. Pope John Paul II, St. Therese stands out as a person with a seemingly small and ordinary life. She didn’t lead France into battle or serve as the beloved head of the entire Catholic Church. In fact, she only lived for 24 short years and spent much of that time in a Carmelite convent.
What makes St. Therese such an incredible saint isn’t that she did extraordinarily grand things but that she did little, ordinary things with the most extraordinary amount of love for Christ. St. Therese found inspiration in the scripture passage, “Whoever is a little one let him come to me” (Proverbs 9:4). Very aware of her own littleness, she decided to live out her “Little Way” in every aspect of her life – biting her tongue when a fellow sister treated her unkindly and offering her frustrations to Jesus when she was tempted to lose her temper. St. Therese so desperately wanted to serve Christ that she used every moment of her life, even the most small and simple, to offer her sufferings to Jesus and follow His will.
As beloved as the other magnificent saints in October are, I think many of us can relate to St. Therese in her little, ordinary life. We may never lead the Church or fight magnificently in battle, but we can smile at someone when we’re feeling frustrated or silently clean up a mess that isn’t our own. In our own daily lives, I pray that we can be like The Little Flower and surrender every moment, struggle, and inconvenience to the will of Christ. I pray that we can do little things for Christ, too.
St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us!
AUTHOR: Gabrielle Morris, Fourth Grade Teacher