CV NEWS FEED // In commemoration of the upcoming 150th anniversary of St. Therese of Lisieux’s birth, Pope Francis released an apostolic exhortation Sunday, calling Catholics to follow St. Therese’s example of deep trust in God’s love.
St. Therese wrote that “It is confidence and nothing but confidence that must lead us to Love.” According to Pope Francis, her profound trust in God’s love that caused her to desire the conversion of millions throughout the world sets an example for today’s “missionary Church.”
“She shared the merciful love of the Father for his sinful son and the love of the Good Shepherd for the sheep who were lost, astray and wounded,” Pope Francis said.
The pope noted that though Therese spent her life in a cloistered convent, her “Little Way”—a series of small acts of trust and a “spiritual childhood”—earned her the titles “patroness of missionaries” and “a model of evangelization.”
Pope Francis wrote that through the “Little Way,” Therese discovered the joy of abandonment to God’s divine love, which allowed the Holy Spirit to work through her and draw the souls around her closer to Christ.
“I ask Jesus to draw me to the flames of his love, to unite me so closely to him that he live and act in in me,” Therese wrote. “I feel that the more the fire of love burns within my heart, the more I shall say ‘Draw me’: the more also the souls who will approach me… the more these souls will run swiftly in the odor of the ointments of their Beloved, for a soul that is burning with love cannot remain inactive.”
The pope highlighted the importance of trust in God, saying that St. Therese’s profound trust and love for others demonstrates “the heart of the Gospel.”
“It is trust that helps us to stop looking to ourselves and enables us to put into God’s hands what he alone can accomplish,” he said. “Doing so provides us with an immense source of love and energy for seeking the good of our brothers and sisters… Let us ask, then, for such trust as a free and precious gift of grace, so that the paths of the Gospel may open up in our lives.”
“At a time of great complexity, she can help us rediscover the importance of simplicity, the absolute primacy of love, trust and abandonment, and thus move beyond a legalistic or moralistic mindset that would fill the Christian life with rules and regulations, and cause the joy of the Gospel to grow cold,” he continued. “In an age of indifference and self-absorption, Therese inspires us to be missionary disciples, captivated by the attractiveness of Jesus and the Gospel.”