September 27th – XXVI Sunday in Ordinary Time

My dear friends,

This coming week we celebrate the feast of our patroness, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower. There is so much wisdom that I keep discovering every time I open up her “Story of a Soul,” so much spiritual brilliance in such a young woman, and so much insight into how to become a saint.

A few days ago, I was speaking with a parishioner and I was telling him that my only concern in this life, my only concern as pastor of this great parish is the salvation of each and everyone of your souls.  In other words, my only concern is that through my priesthood, I help each of you become saints. Ambitious? Yes! Impossible? Absolutely not! St. Thérèse our patroness shows us the way. 

As I was preparing to write these words, I opened up her autobiography and this is the first page I saw:

“Our Lord made me understand that the only true glory is that which lasts for ever; and that to attain it there is no necessity to do brilliant deeds, but rather to hide from the eyes of others, and even from oneself, so that “the left hand knows not what the right hand does.” Then, as I reflected that I was born for great things, and sought the means to attain them, it was made known to me interiorly that my personal glory would never reveal itself before the eyes of men, but that it would consist in becoming a Saint.

This aspiration may very well appear rash, seeing how imperfect I was, and am, even now, after so many years of religious life; yet I still feel the same daring confidence that one day I shall become a great Saint. I am not trusting in my own merits, for I have none; but I trust in Him Who is Virtue and Holiness itself. It is He alone Who, pleased with my feeble efforts, will raise me to Himself, and, by clothing me with His merits, make me a Saint.”

Lord Jesus, make us saints. Make us a parish longing for sainthood.

This simple prayer mirrors the simplicity of Thérèse.  We don’t need long prayers or grandiose gestures to be saints. We DO need the grace of God above all things.  Yes, some more than others starting with your pastor. And some may think sainthood is boring and bland but all you need to do is look across the street of our church to our convent and see the joy and simplicity of our Carmelite Sisters, a community to which St. Thérèse belonged.  Their joy is contagious. Their joy is divine.

Last week, not too far from their Mother House in California, their Mother General and a dozen or so of their sisters visited Bishop Robert Barron to serenade him and thank him for his ministry. Last Holy Thursday, our four Carmelite Sisters came over to the rectory to serenade our priests and thank us for our priesthood. On this Priesthood Sunday, I thank our Carmelites for their love for their priests, and for all the hours they spend in prayer for us.  They have our back as we long to save souls.

Thérèse also worried about saving lost souls. She longed to go on missions but was confined to her monastery, so she teaches us that we must long for sainthood to conquer souls for Christ by our example. Now more than ever, we need a Church filled with saints. “I am not trusting in my own merits, for I have none; but I trust in Him Who is Virtue and Holiness itself.” We can’t do this on our own. God alone can accomplish in us what we consider impossible. And Thérèse will spend her eternity showering roses upon this parish that honors her and praying we achieve this lofty but attainable goal. Let us be meek and childlike as our patroness was, and may our prayer this day simply be:

Lord Jesus, make us saints. Make us a parish longing for sainthood.

God bless you all,

Fr Manny Signature