Sanctity, a daily choice
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This content has first appeared in Greek, in the September 2015 issue of the Informative Bulletin of the Paphos Latin Parish
The parents of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, Louis and Zélie Martin (19th c.) were canonized on 18 October 2015, not because they are the parents of a great Saint, but because they lived their daily life conscientiously under the light of the Gospel.
M. Martin was a watch-maker and his wife was a lace-maker, who ran a successful small business making lace, employing about twenty women. She took care of her workers as if they were members of her own family and assisted them in their needs without counting the cost in time or money.
M. Martin soon abandoned his watch-making in order to manage his wife’s business that was doing extremely well.
However, the trials were not lacking in their lives. Four of their nine children died at a very young age. Since 1863 Zélie had some health complaints and pains to which she did not pay due attention; she finally succumbed in 1877 to breast cancer. Thérèse was just four-and-a-half years old.
In the years that followed M. Martin gave his consent to all his daughters, one after the other, to embrace the monastic life.
When, one day, he got stung by an insect behind the ear, he was taken ill and consequently he suffered partial brain paralysis and weakness in his mobility and mental abilities. During the periods of remission he used to say from the bottom of his heart: “Praise the Lord! Until now I had not known humiliation; I thank Him that He is giving it to me now”.
A characteristic excerpt from Mme Martin’ s correspondence, in 1876, when Thérèse was only three-years-old:
“Even Thérèse wants to make sacrifices. Marie gave her little sisters each a rosary so that they will be able with the beads to count their acts of self-denial.
And how nice it is to see Thérèse putting her little hand inside her pocket, now-and-then, in order to pull a bead whenever she made a sacrifice!
The little ones are inseparable and they often talk about spiritual matters…”
The Golden Age of the Book
During the 19th century the reading public in the Western World increased at great speed and reached great percentages of literacy.
After the Enlightenment the number of new readers grew fast and steady, mainly in the big city centres.
In the last decade of the 19th century, i.e. 1890-1899, 90% of the population in the West knew how to read, and actually men and women in equal proportion!
The great majority read newspapers and cheap novels.The golden period of the Book had arrived and it remained throughout the 20th century.
In the 20th century, however, there was the great expansion of cinematography, photography and television, which wrought huge changes as regards the accessibility of information to the public and the latter’s habits in their free time.
The 21st century is the century of the Internet which has electronically linked the whole planet.
The book strongly persists to exist although increasingly in a different form, that of the e-book. What is there, nowadays, which one cannot find at the tips of his fingers using a keyboard?
Thus, we heartily recommend the site: http://www.storyofasoul.com/ (The autobiography of saint Thérèse), and/or http://livresmystiques.com/partieTEXTES/Lisieux/Histoire/table.html for those who read French.
The Soul’s Treasures
The swirling river rushing down to the sea bears along with it everything it has met in its course. In the same way, the soul that is rushing to the ocean of Divine Love carries within her all her treasures. What are these treasures? But, nothing less than the souls for which she prays and which God has seen fit to link with her.
This is what Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus writes among other things in her autobiography (ch. 1).
With disarming simplicity and directness she refers to her “little way” towards God.
Everything has its importance and everything may lead us to perfection, provided we place them within the sphere of the love of Christ, trusting totally His holy will.
The autobiography of Saint Thérèse “The Story of a Soul” was first published on 30 September 1898 exactly one year after her death. In 1925 she is canonized, in 1947 she is proclaimed Patron Saint of France and in 1997 she is declared Doctor of the Church (Doctor Ecclesiae).
Did you know…
The Holy Scriptures, i.e. the Bible, is the most read book of all ages in the whole world.
It is reckoned that between 1815 and 1975 up to five billion copies were published !
According to recent information (Nov. 2014) there is mention of 531 languages into which the Bible has been translated in its entirety and about three thousand more idioms into which parts of it have been translated, but not all of it yet.
It is a good practice for every Christian family to have in their library the Bible and to often study it. Pope Francis even encourages us to always keep on us a “pocket edition” of the New Testament and to frequently consult it.
The Royal Way
The Christian family’s mission, today as yesterday, is the proclamation of God’s love into the world, through the grace and power of the Sacrament of Marriage. This is how a living healthy family comes forth and is being built up.
Its dynamism consists in it being a home of love at the centre of its human and spiritual
The values and virtues of the family and its substantial truths are strong bases for the family nucleus and no one can argue against it.
Rather, we are called to re-discover the “Royal Way” in order to declare the greatness and the beauty of Marriage and the joy to be a family and to make a family among the dangers of “pollution” by the worldly mentality of individualism, consumerism and pleasure.
Since “The Glory of God is the living man”, (Saint Irenaeus), so a living Christian family gives glory to God, radiating the love and the grace of God around it.
Pope Francis, 2014
Step by Step
We, Christians, are called to become like Christ, to live with His life and to think and act as He would have done were He in our place.
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s splendour, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3, 18)
How do we see the splendour of the Lord? We do so when we are with Him, i.e. when we talk to Him, think of Him, love Him, and when in this manner we orientate our life, our daily actions and choices toward Him.
The glory towards which we move is the glory of the Resurrection; it passes though through the Cross, that is, through sacrifice, self-denial and pain for the love of God.
The Saints offer us this example. Let us first of all think of the couple of M. and Mme Martin and, also, of Saint Thérèse whom we especially honour in the month of October. (1st October is the feast of Saint Thérèse and 18 October the feast of her parents, M. and Mme Martin).
Fruit of the Wood of the Cross
This unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realize.
However, Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear, or too heavy – heavier than the Law of Moses. By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God.
It is by following Christ, renouncing themselves, and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to “receive” the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ.
This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ’s cross, the source of all Christian life.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 1615
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