Very often we find God as one who makes surprises. Our God cannot be confined to human thinking and intellect. There is an irony in Christian spirituality that the realities which we consider as unimportant become very important in the eyes of God and what we consider as great has no value before God. Gospels can be defined as the admiration and praise of Jesus on all who were humble and simple before God. The widow who offered God whatever she had, the birds and lilies that do not worry about tomorrow, the innocent children who pleased Jesus are the best examples in the gospel. As we celebrate the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux let us try to analyze her spirituality based on this ironic Christian spirituality.
Since I am a member in Little Flower Congregation I have been studying her spirituality for last ten years. I am always surprised when I go deep into her spirituality. The reason is that though she lived only fifteen years at home and nine years in the Carmel Convent, now she has become not only a saint but the patroness of the universal mission of the Catholic Church. Though she lived a simple normal life before others God had seen her heart and now she lives in the hearts of millions of Christians.
Though her spirituality seems to be so simple in fact it demands a lot of sacrifice and awareness to practice it. She spent her whole life in the awareness of the presence of God. She said “I never forget to remember my Lord in every three minutes.” Even when she picked a piece of paper from the floor she dedicated the act to glorify the name of God. Though she could not adjust with some of her community members she tried to love them by remembering the love of God. Others did not see anything special in her life. Because she did what others did but whatever she did, she did with great love and commitment. Therefore she and her actions became very important in the eyes of God.
In this twenty first century how will we imitate St. Little Flower who lived in the nineteenth century? Whichever century we live the aim of our spirituality is to have a constant relationship with God. This is fulfilled through our participation in the Holy Eucharist and family prayers. But we fail when we limit the presence of God only to the time of prayer. It is so painful to see that people who actively participate in Eucharist and other prayers live without any presence of God after a few minutes. Our deeds and spirituality are not two different aspects of life. The best examples are the people who are very active in the church matters sometimes may fail in their relationships with neighbors and family members. How one who finishes his prayers can close his eyes towards the needy? Feasts of saints remind us to follow their life example and do what we have already forgotten and neglected in our lives.
The life of St. Therese asks us evaluate our spirituality based on her awareness of the presence of God. Does my spirituality help me to reach out to the whole universe? Let us try to experience God in all the creatures of earth, so that we may be able to lead a better Christian life.
Bro. Ebin Orathel CST