Monday, May 11, 2009

St. Therese of Lisieux’s First Communion by Sr. Kathy Smolik, OSB

“Ah! How sweet was that first kiss of Jesus! It was a kiss of love; I felt that I was loved, and I said: “I love You, and I give myself to You forever!” There were no demands made, no struggles, no sacrifices; for a long time now Jesus and poor little Therese looked at and understood each other. That day, it was no longer simply a look, it was a fusion; they were no longer two, Therese had vanished as a drop of water is lost in the immensity of the ocean. Jesus alone remained; He was the Master, the King” (Story of a Soul, p. 77).

Isn’t that the most beautiful account of the experience of a First Communion? Jesus gave Himself to Therese and Therese gave herself to Jesus - forever.

Perhaps we have had our own experience of Jesus in this most profound Sacrament of Love. But, even if we haven’t felt the joy and consolation Therese experienced we can still learn something from her. What can we learn? We can trust that the Jesus that came to Therese comes to us and is waiting for us every day and every moment of our ordinary life. He is waiting, too, to give Himself to us in the Eucharist. Even if we can’t sense Him, He is there. Our faith tells us this is true. Our faith brings us back time and again to the Table of the Eucharist and feeds us on our journey.

Our faith is paramount. At the end of her life Therese, too, could not see or feel Jesus. All was dark for her. She had offered herself to Jesus…to sit in darkness with her brothers and sisters who had lost faith through the abuse of grace. She wanted to suffer this terrible darkness in order that these souls who had lost their way would return to Jesus. With love burning deep in her heart she laid down her life for others.

Weak as we are we can ask Therese for her help. Do we need to return to Jesus? Let us pray most earnestly for forgiveness. He will take us back time and time again until the end of time. Do we desire Him with all our heart? Let us thank Him for this grace.

At this moment, Sr. Meg, another nun from this monastery is teaching in Ireland. She was given the great gift of being able to visit the relics of St. Therese. Sr. Meg writes, “She left not only her life as told by others and shared in her writings, but there’s a scent in the spring air that is “as if” she is still here. I sense her presence, not as a star or a celebrity but as a profound teacher. Her “Little Way” is a gift to suffer graciously for the benefit of others” (

Therese told her sisters as she was dying that she would return. She has kept her promise! Her “Little Way” is available for souls desiring to learn the science of Love. And may the dear little children who have just received their first Communion be our teachers of childlike simplicity and happiness.

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