“to dedicate oneself as a Victim of Love is not to be dedicated to
sweetness and consolations;
it is to offer oneself to all that is painful and bitter,
because Love lives only by sacrifice and the more we would surrender ourselves to Love,
the more we must surrender ourselves to suffering”
St. Thérèse de Lisieux,
“God never inspires a wish that cannot be fulfilled”
St. John of the Cross
We can say,
‘It is what it is—now Lord, show me how to deal with it.’
St. Therese said she had no peace in her soul until she started her day with that orientation.
Then, trusting God to walk beside her,
she finished her journey as the woman four popes called the greatest saint of modern times.
In 1937, a pamphleteering psychiatrist claimed that the “Glorious Hurricane” (Pius XI)
unleashed by Thérèse was an infallible sign that the Catholic Church was in its death throes.
The universal exaltation of an insignificant “neurotic” was proof that a masochistic religion
was on the way out at last.
Fifty years on, today’s psychologists and religious writers know a great deal more about
Thérèse Martin and her world, and are quick to acknowledge the wonders wrought by grace
in the mind and heart of a child stricken by the loss of her mother when she herself was
only four and a half years old. Indeed, Thérèse’s path to sainthood is a source of
comfort and inspiration to countless victims of emotional or other crises today.
Sainthood is not reserved for “normal” people.
The “Little Way” is not some sleight of hand for getting to heaven on the cheap.
It is the modern realization of the Gospel injunction,
“Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into
the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18, 3).
On June 2, 1980, Pope John Paul II, the first Pope to make the pilgrimage
to Lisieux, put it strongly: “The `Little Way’ is the way of `Holy Childhood’.
It is a way which both confirms and renews the most fundamental and universal truth.
After all, which of the Gospel’s truths is more fundamental and more universal than this,
God is our Father and we are His children?”.
“Sainthood is not reserved for ‘normal’ people.”
No, I would suspect it is not.
Nor is it for the faint of heart.
But for a young frail Thérèse, to serve, while in turn drawing as one with God,
was her sole goal…sainthood would merely become a by-product.
I’ve written about Thérèse before.
She is a bit of an anomaly really.
Nothing about this young girl should be the hallmarks of becoming not only a saint
but that of a Doctor of the Chruch.
Giants among theological and spiritual giants.
And yet here is a young girl.
Words that described her in life…
Almost shy and even quite childlike.
Childlike not in a sense of her maturity but rather in her approach to God.
A simple childlike faith.
One that consisted of love and love alone.
She was only 24 when she died a painful death from the ravages of tuberculosis.
And yet 4 separate popes have stated that she is the greatest saint of modern times.
High praise for a young girl who lived a simple life of a cloistered nun
“Conscious of her own weakness, but willingly trusting in God’s merciful love,
which finds its way even to the humble, she came to love her poverty.
Her offering of herself to merciful love begins with these words;
“God is asking me to do something, I cannot do it on my own, so He will do it for me”
(June 9, 1895). From this moment on Thérèse lived the daring surrender of herself.
A totally dependent child has no choice but to surrender itself completely
to its father’s merciful love.”
Again, Thérèse discovered the truth of Jesus’ words,
“If you do not become as little children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 18:3).
The way of “spiritual infancy” is Jesus’ own way as a son, the supreme son,
living only for his Father. Who is more fully an adult but Jesus or more fully a child?
From this point on Thérèse lost her fear of sin, of falling asleep during prayer
or any other imperfection; love had burned everything away.
Pope John Paul II reminds us when speaking of St Thérèse of Lisieux
That “God is our Father and we are His Children.”
The notion of God as father and we as children is not new.
It is something Jesus often reminded those who listened to him speak…
the importance of being like little children.
And it is the way in which Thérèse lived…
To enter the kingdom of heaven, we must become like little children.
So the importance of children is not lost on me when I read about
House Bill 481, the Heartbeat bill.
Nor is it lost on those who hunker down quietly yet steadfastly to hear God’s word.
This is a controversial bill which actually passed the Georgia Senate this past week.
It will now travel to the House for a yay or nay…. and if the yays have it,
it’s off to the Governor’s desk for final approval and signature.
This is a state bill that if passed, will limit when an abortion can be performed in
the state of Georgia.
The bill reads that six weeks is the “magic” number and time when a doctor can hear a heartbeat…
the telltale sign of an entity living separately from the mother…
meaning that there are two hearts now beating in a woman’s body.
Her heart and that of the child she carries in her womb.
I see this bill as a victory for those who have no voice of their own.
A victory for unborn children.
Others see it very differently.
Many protestors outside of the State Capital this past week have dressed up as characters from
the Hulu show and popular book The Handmaid’s Tale.
These women march in an odd macabre mass of unity protesting a baby’s right to live
while somehow viewing the notion of life rather than murder as abhorrent.
The Salem Witch trials seem to come to mind when I see their images.
Various female members of Georgia’s House Democrats have been very vocal in their dismay
of the passing of this bill.
They argue that this bill is a setback for women at the hands of male legislators.
While on the other hand, many female Republican legislators are ardent supporters of the bill.
Kind of like me…a woman, who just so happens to be in favor of this bill.
Allysa Milano, a very outspoken hashtag sort of Hollywood actress, in light of this bill,
is now calling for filmmakers to boycott Georgia.
She just so happens to be shooting a film here in Georgia.
The movie industry has become big business for Georgia.
This is not the first time a controversial piece of legislature has brought out those who
attempt to tighten the screws on Georgia’s economy…that is if Georgia opts to go in an opposite
direction from that of what Hollywood or other giant business marketers think…
if the state steps out of line with a progressive liberal culture’s mindset,
then it’s lookout Georgia.
There is the “religious liberty” bill that was recently re-introduced…having been
previously introduced and reading much like a similar national bill that happened
to have been signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
This more recent bill is a rift on a 2016 bill that was nixed by then Gov. Nathan Deal
when the LGBTQ communities sounded a very loud and very vocal alarm that they sensed some sort
of potential discrimination—never mind that such a national bill passed in 1993.
Yet even the owner of the Atlanta’s Falcons and Atlanta’s Soccer United teams, Arthur Blank
chimed in—he told a reporter that he disagreed with the Governor and thought
that such a bill would be bad for Georgia—as he saw the potential for dollar bills to
quickly disappear from state coffers if advertisers and others pulled out over such a bill.
He didn’t word his disapproval as such, but that was his bottom line unspoken reasoning.
The NFL, NBA, etc had already threatened to exclude Georgia from consideration as a
potential host city should such a bill come into effect.
Advertisers and the entertainment industry were also making their loud grumbles
How ever would dear Coca-Cola, aka Coke, make it if her home state
took a step backward, or so thought all of these big shakers and shifters?
And so now with The Heartbeat bill set to become a possible law, the same loud and
money ladened voices are beginning to sound.
And thus it is that I am reminded of a demure St Thérèse of Lisieux—
Despite such giants of opposition…be they physical or institutional,
Thérèse never wavered or backed down from her faith or of her desire to love.
She was simply obedient to God…to His commandments and to His will.
She fixed her eyes on God and God alone…allowing for all things to fall into place.
And so now we the faithful must also be obedient.
We can get behind a bill that protects the lives of unborn children…who indeed
have their own heartbeat by 6 weeks, or we can allow Hollywood, a plethora of
‘communities’, and those who throw their money around as their weight
to determine what is best for Georgia and its unborn children.
Sadly we continue seeing how these things play out.
However, we remain—
Obedient in prayer and to what we know to be God’s will…
Life and Love.
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up
with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.