Grace to you!
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (Theresa of the Child Jesus) left the modern time a rich example of religious tenderness and divine love lived in everyday life. From her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, we learn a simple, but profound, experience of a personal encounter with God’s Word.
Just like many of us struggling to figure out our vocation or unique mission in life, Saint Theresa, popularly known as The Little Flower, was constantly searching. Finding one’s niche in the world isn’t an easy task.
Like many, The Little Flower was torn between what others’ mission and identifying her unique calling. She tried to practice the asceticism of mystics like Saint Catherine of Sienna, but her weak health wouldn’t carry her through. The erudite examples of great masters of theology like Saints Augustine, Bonaventure and Aquinas were not an option either. Theresa wasn’t equipped for such, having had very little formal education. She tried everything she could. The harder she tried, the more frustrated she became.
One day, she came across a particular text in Scripture, the famous line from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians, chapter thirteen, whose theme is on love. As she read the text, it lit like fire in her heart. God was speaking to her personally, addressing her specific concerns. It was the right time and the right place in her spiritual journey. “I have found it: my vocation is to love,” she exclaimed.
Encounter with God’s word is ever revealing. Its piercing impact in the deepest part of our being is unequalled.
Scripture says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb 4:12-13).
God’s Word is first and foremost a person, “Before him no creature is hidden.” God’s Word is the Eternal Logos, Christ, who became fresh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Isn’t it why the metaphor used here in the Letter to the Hebrews is spot-on? No one who meets Jesus remains the same. In him, we find divine insights and better understanding of our inner struggles. In whose ever house Jesus comes, everything comes alive. He is alive forever.
Similarly, God’s words are divine messages spoken to humanity, some of which are documented in Scripture. When you read the bible, don’t you see how, from time to time, a particular text you may have read over and over again, comes at you with a fresh idea and piercing impact, validating the good you do and stirring your heart for a change if you are heading in the wrong direction.
Or consider when we are participants at the Eucharistic celebration; a divine whisper through the entire event uncovers the hidden realities deep within our soul. Those moments are precious. Sometimes we witness that goose-pimple impact of an encounter with God’s Word at Sacred Worship.
God’s Word is truly alive. If we encounter God’s word, we come alive. God’s word is alive and effectual. It always comes to pass. It never fails.
Lord, grant us the grace to hear as you continue to speak. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.