By worldly measures, Thérèse didn’t accomplish much before she died at the age of 24. However, her love, her wisdom, and her passion for life have much to teach us.
There is only one thing to do here below: to love Jesus, to win souls for Him so that He may be loved. Let us seize with jealous care every least opportunity of self-sacrifice. Let us refuse Him nothing — He does so want our love.”
Today I wanted to share three profound life lessons I have learned from her.
1. You can impact more people than you imagine. It starts with the small things.
Two saints are known as the patron of missions. Saint Francis Xavier traveled extensively including to Africa and Asia. He was one of the first missionaries to India and Japan. He helped convert thousands and thousands of people through his preaching of the Gospel.
Saint Thérèse, on the other hand, spent her whole life in an obscure corner of France. She didn’t travel. In fact, another nun was reported to have said of her after her death, “I cannot understand why people speak of Sister Thérèse as if she were a saint. She never does anything notable.”
Thérèse is recognized as the Patroness of Missions because of her fervent love of Jesus, her intercession for missionaries both while on earth and now in heaven, and her missionary heart for those who don’t know the love of Jesus.
“I have the vocation of the Apostles. I would like to travel over the whole earth to preach your Name and to plant your glorious cross on infidel soil. But…one mission alone would not be sufficient for me, I would want to preach the Gospel on all the five continents simultaneously and even to the most remote isles. I would be a missionary, not for a few years only, but from the beginning of creation until the consummation of the ages.” – St. Thérèse
In my years in ministry, I have had the pleasure of working with people both young and old, rich and poor. One thing that I have found across the variety of ages and socio-economic backgrounds is that people underestimate the impact they can have on the world and the people around them.
Don’t underestimate how valued and loved you are. You can change the world. Like St. Thérèse, love God and others through the little things.
2. We are never satisfied because God created us that way. He created us with a longing for him.
O my God, you have surpassed all my expectations.”- St. Thérèse
Often times in life we can feel like we need more. “It” is not enough.
It can be:
• Social Media
• Or just about anything.
“It” is not always a sinful thing. It can even be something good like friendship or being with others. We want more. We feel empty when others aren’t around.
Sometimes the hunger for something leads us down a dark path. We get addicted to chasing “it.”
No “it” will ever satisfy us. I used to think this was primarily due to my selfish nature, but I’ve come to understand from St. Thérèse it’s more because Jesus is the only thing that truly satisfies.
Things and people can point us towards him, but the minute we try to replace the creator with a created thing or someone else we are sure to be left feeling empty.
Taste and see how good God is, and you find like St. Thérèse, he will surpass all your expectations.
3. God is calling you, today, to be a great saint.
“You cannot be half a saint; you must be a whole saint or no saint at all.”
“Holiness consists simply in doing God’s will, and being just what God wants us to be.” – St. Thérèse
Holiness seems like a distant, impossible task, but if that were the reality, God would be cruel. If he is loving, he would not tell us to be something we could not attain.
You need to believe that God is calling you to be a saint. Not a saint tomorrow or when death is imminently knocking on your door. He is calling you to be a saint today.
Look around at our church. The world doesn’t need a bunch of saints in 50 years from now. It requires the witness of holy men and women today. We need to recommit ourselves to prayer, to the Holy Spirit, and the spreading of the Gospel.
St. Thérèse wasn’t content with being half a saint and I pray that you won’t be either.
Any of these life lessons encourage or challenge you? Have another favorite quote of St. Thérèse? Share in the comments below!