Sermon: Thérèse de Lisieux

I realize that you may interpret this as laziness or arrogance or any number of other indicators of a poor character, but I am one who firmly believes that yard work of any kind is best left to someone else. I am happy to pay for the service as long as I don’t have to be involved. Trouble is, I like the flowers, so when I will occasionally pick one out, Cousin Janie gets to take care of it.

Our backyard has all sorts of flowers in it, but my favorite is my John Paul II Memorial Rose. It is a white rose, but has a luminous quality to it. The other is a rose known as Abe, which has a remarkable red color. Abe blooms more frequently than John Paul, but both are slow. I’ve been watching a bloom on John Paul for almost two weeks and it’s just now beginning to open. As for all the other flowers, they bloom constantly. Mostly they are small flowers that the butterflies like; however, when John Paul or Abe is blooming, I hardly notice the others.

As we study the saints on these Wednesdays, it is easy to see them as the roses, the ones that all eyes are drawn to and all souls desire to emulate. These great men and women of faith that have done so much. Yet, by looking so closely at them, we can at times forget about all the saints we encounter each and every day. Godly men and women who go about their lives with great devotion to God and those they encounter. Men and women who may not have encountered persecution or preached the Gospel to nations, but men and women who get up each and every morning prepared to serve Christ in all those they encounter and by faithfully fulfilling the vows they have made.

Thérèse de Lisieux, who we celebrate today, was one who recognized not only the great saints – the roses – but also all those that, each and every day, carried on in faith – those smaller flowers. She writes, “Jesus set before me the book of nature. I understand how all the flowers God has created are beautiful, how the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy. I understand that if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wild flowers. So it is in the world of souls, Jesus’ garden. He has created smaller ones and those must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God’s glances when He looks down at His feet. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be.”

The disciples asked Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” He responded, “Whoever humbles himself.” He responded, regardless if they are the most stunning rose or a daisy or a small flower in the forest that no one ever sees, if they are humble and do God’s will, then they will all be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Give thanks for the great saints that point us so dramatically to God, but also give thanks for the little flowers who live faithfully every day, serving Him as they were called.

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