Opportunity Offered

Today is the Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, Doctor of the Church. She is my Patron Saint, I love her Little Way, which is doing the little things with great love. I don’t know about you but sometimes I can’t see beyond the nose of my face to what the other person might need. This call, this Little Way requires a setting aside of what I think I need, to respond to the needs of others. Further it’s a Yes to God fully and completely.

A reading from the Gospel of Luke: Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
Abraham replied,
‘My child, remember that you received
what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go
from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father,
send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers,
so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'”

*Readings from USCCB

There is a practice of prayer, Lectio Divinia or Divine Reading, it is a way of placing ourselves in Scripture, meditating on it and allowing it to water deeply our parched soul. This Scripture is rich with meaning, needing the Wine of Life to cut through, giving depth, cutting through the usual to the sublime.

The other day while celebrating our 27th wedding Anniversary I had a glass of Malbec. As you know wine and food pairing can be sublime. This tannic, acidic Malbec would pair wonderfully with a thick cut steak with Gorgonzola crumbles. Then there’s the popcorn with salt and pepper, oh dear me. There are moments when trying wine and food together the flavors work, and complement one another in amazing, indescribably beautiful ways and other times not so much. Much like this scripture, on the surface there’s the story of a rich man, a poor man, and lost opportunity.

While driving around I heard someone share on this Gospel, one point sticking out so very clearly. In his current status in the place of suffering which he chose by his own thoughts, words and deeds, the rich man wanted the poor man to come and take care of his needs, because he “suffered in torment because of these flames.” In some ways ya gotta give it to him, he knew well enough what he needed in this moment of suffering. This guy might have learned a lot from St. Therese.

Even now we have the gifts that should bring us closer to the Lord and to one another. Sacred Scripture is readily available in our homes as close as a click or two on the internet; the writings of the Saints are available in much the same way. Jesus broke it down for us, ” Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Just like this rich guy we have everything, all the teaching, the will, and sometimes even the financial or physical means, we need in place to make the choice to love God and our neighbors to embark on the journey of sainthood we are called to live out. Even the ones we don’t like. You know the ones next door who irritate the stuffin’ out of you me.

I will add this too, we are each called to different ways of service. St. Therese was called to become a Carmelite nun. My Sweetie and I have served in a variety of ways, a good friend of ours has as well. Some write, some are theologians. Some work directly with people in a variety of ways from nursing and doctoring to sharing and teaching faith. One of my gifts is listening and sometimes providing feedback for people. Just as the rich man could have chosen to help Lazarus in his needs, thereby choosing Abraham’s bosom rather than eternal torment we have the opportunity to treat people well, here, now in whatever way we’re called to do that.

God bless,

Teri

3 thoughts on “Opportunity Offered

  1. What a lovely post! I’ve been seeing and hearing many things about St. Therese lately. Her “little way” is so inspiring.

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