St. Therese de Liseux, by Michael D. O’Brien; saint of the "Little Way"
PERHAPS you have been following these writings for some time. You have heard Our Lady’s call "to the Bastion " where she is preparing each of us for our mission in these times. You too sense that great changes are coming to the world. You have been awakened, and feel an interior preparation taking place. But you may look in the mirror and say, "What have I to offer? I am not a gifted speaker or theologian… I have so little to give." Or as Mary responded when the angel Gabriel said that she would be the instrument to bring the long awaiting Messiah into the world, "How can this be…?"
THE OIL IN YOUR LAMP
Throughout salvation history, it is the little ones whom God has consistently used to confound the wise, from the child Joseph, to the aged Abraham, to the shepherd David, to the unknown virgin Mary. All He asked of them was the great "yes." Yes to let Him accomplish His will through them. And what is this "yes?"
It is Faith.
Faith which is willing to walk in darkness. Faith which will face giants. Faith which will say yes to impossible odds and conditions. Faith which will trust even when surrounded by chaos, famine, pestilence, and war. Faith that God will accomplish through you what has been planned from the beginning of time. In each of the lives of the aforementioned souls, they had no reason whatsoever to believe that they in themselves could accomplish what God intended. They simply said, "yes."
Faith is the oil which filled the lamps of the Five Wise Virgins (see Matthew 25). They were prepared when, like a thief in the night, the Bridegroom came. Remember, all ten virgins had intended to meet the Bridegroom (Matt 25:1), but only five of them had filled their lamps with oil. Only five of them were prepared for the darkness when the time came….
I believe Jesus gives us a greater understanding of the role of the Five Wise Virgins within the parable of the talents which immediately follows…
THE GREAT GIFTS
Jesus transitions from the story of the virgins to the talents as such:
Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
It will be as when a man who was going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. (Matt 25:13-14)
"It will be as when…" The "when" is perhaps answered in verse 26 when the man returns:
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter…
At the time of the harvest. I believe we are at the very threshold of a Great Harvest. As I have said before: you were born for this time. Jesus has entrusted you with His gifts to accomplish your mission, most importantly, the gift of the Holy Spirit who has been poured into your heart.
I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think, but to think soberly, each according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned. (Rom 12:3)
Yes, we should think humbly of ourselves. But this does not mean we should be timid.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. (2 Tim 1:7)
To some, God has measured out "ten talents", to others "five," and others "one." But do not think that the one with ten is somehow greater in the kingdom. To both the one with five and the one with ten, Jesus says:
Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters… (Matt 25:21)
It was a "small matter" for both. That is, if God has given one the gifts to minister to tens of thousands, then it is a "small matter" because he was created and equipped for this task whereas the person with "one" talent may be equipped and called to only minister at home or work. What God expects from either is to simply be a "good and faithful servant" with whatever talents He has given them. That could mean that your life’s work consists in saving the soul of your spouse, or bringing a co-worker into the Kingdom. Or it could mean singing and preaching to tens of thousands. When you meet God face to face at the end of your life, He will judge you not on how successful you were, but how faithful. The greatest in the Kingdom will often be the least here on earth.
FIX YOUR EYES ON JESUS
I received this letter from a reader in California while I was writing this reflection:
I had a very interesting dream last night: I was lying in bed waiting for The Illumination. All of a sudden the sky turned white losing its color, and I knew The Illumination was coming. I heard the Lord’s voice and I hid because I was afraid. Then the whole world was like a centrifuge, spinning around. Everyone was remaining in their place, except me. I was being pulled, thrown and propelled out. I saw the other people and wondered about them. I am not sure if I was happy or sad that they were still in position. And the Lord (?) said something to the effect, "Still thinking about yourself?"
Will you say yes to Jesus? Will you enter the darkness of faith which trusts against all the odds stacked against you?
Trust that He will accomplish in you the works He has planned from the moment He created you. Fix your eyes on Him, and He will do miracles through you. By miracles I do not so mu
ch mean performing spectacular healings or other wonders, but rather something deeper and more lasting. You may be an instrument of grace through whom the Holy Spirit works to unlock a hardened heart or to draw a despairing heart to accept salvation. This is the greater, indeed, greatest miracle.
Afterwards Jesus himself, through them, sent forth from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. (Mark 16:20;) Shorter ending to Gospel of Mark; New American Bible, footnote 3.)
Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice, I am sending the Day of Mercy. —Diary of St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, n. 1588