Tag Archives: St. Therese of Lisieux

The Little Flower Strikes Again

A few years ago I discovered St. Thérèse de Lisieux (The Little Flower) through her book Story of a Soul.  I fell in love with her “little way” and her desire for the vocation of love.  Since then, I notice her showing up in my life in various ways.  Sometimes, it’s very subtle, like noticing a small flower in the grass.  Other times, it’s more obvious that she has been an influence in my life, even before I knew who she was.

I haven’t piloted an aircraft for several years.  When I was actively flying, I did have some close calls.  Suffice it to say that some of those incidents could have had disastrous consequences.  I refuse to call it luck.  I was being watched over.  I sensed it.  Naturally, I thanked God for protecting me (and whoever else was involved).  Only more recently have I had the awareness that, through God, others were also pulling for me.

There were loved ones on Earth and in Heaven who were praying for me.  The book of Hebrews tells of the “great cloud of witnesses” that surrounds us.  The saints that have gone before us reside within the heart and mind of God and intercede for us through the singular mediation of Jesus Christ.  I was being prayed for.  The family of God, the Communion of Saints, was praying for me through Jesus.  Today, one of those prayer warriors was revealed to me.

I was briefly skimming through a book about saints before taking it downstairs to put on the shelf.  I just happened to open it up to the page that lists the patron saints of various professions.  I wasn’t even looking for anything in particular.  If I would have been looking, I would have looked alphabetically under “Pilots.”  Instead, my eyes just happened to fall upon the words “Air Crews.”  One of the patron saints of air crews listed there was Thérèse de Lisieux.  Thank you, Little Flower.

 

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Growing Younger

When I was young
It seemed that life was so wonderful
A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical
And all the birds in the trees
Well they’d be singing so happily
Joyfully, playfully watching me

But then they send me away
To teach me how to be sensible
Logical, responsible, practical
And then they showed me a world
Where I could be so dependable
Clinical, intellectual, cynical.

I can identify with these lyrics of The Logical Song by Supertramp.  I’ve always tried to retain a sense of awe and wonder about life and avoid a cynical attitude.  It’s hard to do sometimes.  The responsibilities of adulthood can become rather tedious and frustrating to the youthful boy inside me.  I’ll admit that I give in to my melancholy side on occasion, until I realize I’m just pouting.  Then I look for something wonderful and awe inspiring to pull me out of my funk.

When I was a boy, it was easier to find the wonder in life.  I suppose that’s just the state of innocence.  Some of my boyhood fascinations have lost their luster.  I’ve seen “the man behind the curtain.”  The glitter has rubbed off.  Other fascinations have endured.  For example, I can still stare at the moon with awe and wonder, or look at a space photo of the Earth and try to comprehend all the people that ever lived on it.  I can look at my own children and become lost in how amazing they are.  I also find more awe and wonder in my relationship with God as I grow older.

Recently, I have gained a greater appreciation for the union of the material and the spiritual.  There are many Christians that adopt a sort of dualism into their faith that can become rather cynical.  Life becomes all about getting out of this “bad” material world and into the next “good” spiritual world.  But that’s not really the goal of a Christian.  The goal is to be transformed in body and in soul so that we can live in the world as it is and as it will be.  In the resurrection we will get new bodies.  We will not be disembodied “ghosts.”  We will not be pure spirits like the angels.  We will continue to be the unique bridge between pure spirit and pure material, a hybrid of sorts (1Cor 15:51).  We will still be human, just changed humans.  There will be a new Earth for us to stand on.  That which is material will not be completely going away, but it will be renewed (Rom 8:22-23).

These days I look upon the future new Earth and my future new body with childlike awe and wonder.  It is a playground for the imagination that I will never grow out of.  In fact, the older I get, the more fascinating it becomes.  The great thing is that it is not just a fantasy I have to eventually wake up from, like a book or a movie, but the reality of life.  In fact, it is the essence and purpose of life.  It’s not that this present world no longer holds my interest.  It’s just that I have realized that the boy I used to be has not been shelved in a closet of memories.  My boyhood fascination with life was just an appetizer for the ultimate experience of living.  I will always and forever be a child of God.  I’m growing younger.

(Partly inspired by “The Little Way” of St. Therese of Lisieux, The Little Flower)