Friday, 16 October 2009
Some reflections on the Visit of St Therese's Relics
What is it about St. Therese of Lisieux that has drawn people in their thousands, during the month long visit of her Relics to our country?
There have been many attempts to answer this question, ranging from 'it's Catholic idolatry' to 'whatever floats your boat' to 'it's my favourite saint' and so on.
I think one of the best answers came from Mgr. John Armitage during Wednesday's Youth Liturgy at Westminster.He told us that we were mistaken in thinking that we had come to see the Relics of St. Therese; the Saint is not trying to draw us to herself, she is pointing us to God. God is the destination, St Therese is a signpost to that destination.
Signposts, of course, tell us which way to travel to the desired destination, and St Therese shows us her own Little Way. The essence of the Little Way is to accept the work, joys and sufferings of each day as God's will for us. To accept them with joy and with love. To perform even the humblest tasks with the greatest love that we can, and to offer our sufferings in union with Christ, who suffered death for love of us.
During her earthly life, St Therese showed a great love for the Sacred Priesthood, consecrating herself for priests as 'an apostle to apostles'. She was concerned not only for priests, but also for the souls whom they serve.It is hardly a mere coincidence that the visit of her Relics to the UK took place during the current Year for Priests.We can ask with confidence that St Therese would intercede for our UK priests, for a renewal of their priesthood, and for many more vocations to the priesthood.
Towards the end of her earthly life, St Therese said that she wanted to spend her Heaven doing good on earth. That so many thousands attended the visit of her relics to the UK is itself a sign that St. Therese is busy about her task.
The Relics of St Therese have now left England to return to Lisieux, but I sense it is only the beginning, that we haven't yet seen the fruits that are to come through the intercession of St Therese, fruits for which we can all continue to pray.