Thursday, March 13, 2008

Little Way

Therese's relics just left our country. She was here for 58 days travelling all over Luzon and Visayas, performing miracles, touching hearts, inspiring lives and renewing faith. To those whose lives she has affected, her relics may have left us but her spirit, her miracles and most especially her teachings will have definitely stayed.

I may not have been as attached to her Pilgrim Relics as the entourage was especially the likes of Mario, Allan and Oel, but in her own little way, she has reached out to me. I do not cry tears of joy because of enlightenment, nor tears of sadness because of her departure. What I have is a quiet, humble joy. Joy at understanding her little way to spiritual childhood and at the renewal of her doctrine of the little way.

LOVE. The past few days, especially when we were busy with the preparations of the relics' farewell, I would find myself doing 'manual' labor like making flaglets, staying up late at night for some last minute stuff, braving the dust and pollution at the shrine (due to construction) and going up and down the stairs in heels just to make sure everything went well and errands had been done. Ate Rona and Elizza had their share of crunch time as they painstakingly 'designed' the photo exhibit of the Philippine tour of the Relics. Boydee and Japa went beyond the call of duty just to ensure the success of the relics visit. Our staff worked hard, doing overtime, handling tempers of bosses who were tense and stressed of the job ahead. But we all pulled through and with smiling, happy faces. That's because Therese was working her way in us. We did it out of love - for her, for each other, for our company, for our work.

I adopted a work mantra some time last year: If it's worth doing, then it's worth doing well. Through St. Therese's teaching, I have added an 'ad lib' of this mantra. "And doing it out of LOVE."

Any little thing that you do out of love is "like a petal, a flower that you offer to the Lord," this is what St. Therese's Mom, Zelie, instilled in her. I will try my best to offer petals to God by doing things out of love. I hope I will not stray nor forget this resolve.

Sacrifice and Suffering. When I was in elementary, our Christian Education teacher told us about St. Therese's teaching: that of offering your suffering to the Lord. She said, if we had a tummy ache, for instance, to offer it to Jesus if we love Him. At that time, I couldn't understand why I would want to offer or give or pass on to Jesus my tummy ache, but I did it anyway because I loved Him. I was thinking what kind of gift am I giving Jesus and if there were a lot of people who had tummy aches and offered it to Jesus, how tough it must be for Jesus to be suffering for us. Would it mean that Jesus would forever have some kind of ache?!

For years, that's how I thought. Give your tummy ache to Jesus so it will go away. Give your head ache to Jesus. Offer it to the Lord. Would you believe that it is only now that I fully grasp the concept of "offering" our suffering to the Lord?!? (blush blush).

To offer it to the Lord isn't to give it to Him. It is to embrace the suffering that our aches and pain entail and give to Jesus our sacrifice for bearing the pain. We take and endure the pain and dedicate it for our petition - be it for conversion of sinners, salvation of souls, healing of a loved one, or peace in the family. The pain will not go away but it will have made the suffering worth it.

Anything done out of love is an offering to the Lord. Love. It is the most important thing of all.

God doesn't call all of us to be heroes, martyrs or missionaries. He has different plans for all of us. Our universal calling is to love.

Therese said, 'My vocation is LOVE.' So is ours. Any simple thing, done out of love. That is her little way. To love God with abandonment like a child totally dependent on his parent. To use every opportunity to praise God. To be humble, to be little, to be selfless.

This is her path to God. It may sound simple but it is hard. There will be temptations. It will be a struggle. But I will try to live her teachings.

St. Therese may not have performed a great miracle in my life. But she showed me, taught me, made me realize the child-like, relatively do-able and accessible way towards going to heaven. This young girl who became famous only after her death; who was proclaimed Doctor or an Authority of the church even when she didn't earn a degree in her life; whose life story and teachings reached the whole world even if she was a cloistered nun from 15 years old til her death at 24. She taught me this.

More than a hundred years after her death, she is still very much alive, working her miracles in our lives. Thank you St. Therese for visiting us and sharing your Little way.

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