Scripture: Lectionary 418. Joshua 24:14-29. Psalm 16: 1-2.5.7-8.11.
Perhaps, this very short passage from Matthew will be prayed by returning
to one of the verses used in our Psalm for the day, which is also the feast
of St. Jane de Chantal. St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, however, comes to
mind as we meditate on the Psalm and especially on the Gospel of Matthew
19:13-15. Here is the verse that helps us to ponder the Gospel in a
prayerful manner: “You will show me the path of life, fulness of joys in
your presence, the delights of your right hand forever.” This psalm is one
of the few that points to the afterlife and bodily resurrection. It is a
hymn of confidence and joy throughout. It lifts up our heart and spirits
because we realize happiness is a good gift from God and we can tap into it
through prayer and especially this Psalm which is a prayer.
The verse cited fits in with the scene of the little children coming to
Jesus and being embraced by him and blessed by his right hand :the delights
of God’s right hand and the fulness of joy from heaven is easily depicted
in the Gospel.
Jesus told us a few days ago in the same Gospel that the kingdom of heaven
is made up of such children who are surrounded by their angels.
The scene recalls the person of St. Theresa of Lisieux whose name and
spirituality are based on the simplicity, joy, wonder, and peace of a child
resting on the Lord’s bosom. She influenced more soldiers and missionaries
during the time before and after World War I than any other saint. She had
easy access even by the name she had chosen for herself, “Theresa of the
Child Jesus and of the Holy Face.” Many believers are still attracted by
her journal “Journey of a Soul” and learned dissertations have been written
on it. She is the patroness of Russia, of florists, and of missionaries and
soldiers. People could identify with her practical spirituality that was
moderated by the gentleness of children. We can turn back to the Gospel
and get the delightful scene of the children on Jesus’ lap looking into his
face with joy and wonder–perfect contemplation at so early an age!
We may also wish to think of one of the famous statements that many of her
devotees have experienced: “As long as there are souls to be saved, I will
send a shower of roses upon them.” John Paul II who loved children so much
was the Pope who declared Theresa of Lisieux a doctor of the Church on Oct.
19, 1997, the centennial of her death.
We are truly blessed not only by Jesus but also by this great “little”
Saint who died at age 24. Amen.