The “Little Flower” of Lisieux

Luke 9: 46-50
Job 1:-22 / Ps 17:1-3,6-7

Whoever is least among you, is the one who is the greatest.
(Luke 9:48)

Lord, make me be like St. Therese,
Your “Little Flower” undefiled;
Not for glory seek to increase,
But to follow You like a child.

One day, an argument arose among them as to which of them might be the greatest. But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by his side, and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives Him who sent me; for whoever is least among you, is the one who is the greatest.” Then John said in reply, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow in our company.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:46-50)


The apostles would rather argue among themselves about who was the greatest than try to understand what the Lord meant when He said, “Pay attention to what I’m telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men” (Lk.9:44). Fresh from their “transfiguration experience” of Jesus on the mountain, how quickly Peter, James and John seemed to have forgotten God’s voice in the cloud, saying, “This is My chosen Son; listen to Him” (Lk.9:35). To hold their attention to the lesson Jesus was imparting, He took a child aside as their model, saying, “Whoever is least among you, is the one who is the greatest.”

How often we fail to follow the Way of the Cross, or understand the true meaning of God’s Word because we were too absorbed with our position or our ministry. We can fall into the “status trap” without being aware of it when we start feeling that our efforts in our community are not being appreciated, or we aspire for a higher rank in the organization “to show them” how things should be implemented.

Today is the feast day of St. Therese of Lisieux, the saint known as the “Little Flower.” As a cloistered Carmelite nun, her convent life lasted less than ten years, as she died of tuberculosis at the young age of 24. She never went anywhere, never founded a religious order, or performed any miracle. The only book she wrote was an edited version of her journal entitled “Story of a Soul.” And yet within 28 years of her death, because of public demand, she was canonized. By her example she showed that doing small sacrifices instead of great deeds was the way to greatness in our ordinary lives. St. Therese of Lisieux is one of the patron saints of the missions, even though she never went anywhere, because of the prayers and letters she gave in support of missionaries. She was like the child that Jesus presented to His apostles who could do almost nothing, but because of her faith, the little things that she did kept God’s kingdom growing.

Lord God, we remember Your precious “Little Flower” on her feast day today; we pray with her that we may also see that true greatness in Your kingdom is doing the menial things that others shun, but leads to holiness because they please You. Amen.

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