Many devotees of Thérèse have discovered that her intercessory power is enormous. Even before her canonization many miracles, both great and small, were credited to Thérèse, and these miracles, in fact, contributed to her quick canonization. Rome, it was then said, must canonize Thérèse rapidly, simply tyo catch up with the devotion of the faithful. And since Thérèse was canonized miracles have not ceased.
But perhaps the most significant miracle associated with Thérèse, was that she was remembered at all after her death.
By all standards, her memory should have simply passed out of history, just as the memories of the vast majority of holy people have vanished into oblivion.
Actually very few people ever got to know Thérèse during her lifetime. Only a small group of people attended her funeral; and the number of people who knew her in any personal way at the time of her death might have been less than 100. Most of us get to know more people in a year than got to know Thérèse in her lifetime.
Even the sisters she lived with for nine years in Carmel did not get to know her well. At the end of her life one of them thought that she had not done anything really noteworthy during her religious life, and most did not think that she should be remembered in any special way.
It was really her writings and then the miracles that followed her death that attracted attention to her, moved her to canonization, and led to her becoming the most famous saint in modern times. The writings – autobiography, letters, and poems - alone would probably not have drawn her much recognition, since in many ways they are not outstanding literary compositions. The miracles worked at Therese’s intercession wee important in bringing her to the attention of the public. And the most significant thing about that is that no one controls miracles.
Many have lived the essence of Thérèse’s Little Way before and after her lifetime, and they are in fact “saints,” though not canonized. But with Thérèse, it was as if God needed one little soul to teach the Church again that holiness does not lie in the extraordinary. The Church had begun to forget that fundamental spiritual truth.
Thérèse proclaims that holiness consists in the faithful, ordinary willing response to God’s will unfolding at every given moment in our life. This faithful response comes from our willing cooperation with grace, Thérèse teaches, as we realize at some level that we are united with God and that our life, in its trials and joys, is a call to rejoice and give thanks for that union.
The greatest miracle associated with Thérèse, God’s greatest gift to the Church through Thérèse, was God’s stooping down and to lift Thérèse up so all of us would know again that we too are united to God and that our willing, faith-filled acceptance of our littleness is our little way to sanctity.
--Brother Joseph Schmidt, FSC