Although winding down, it still is Day 1 of the Little Flower Novena. As I had stated my intention to leave some Therese tidbits for daily sharing and inspiration, here is today’s tale.
I will briefly set the scene. Not yet fifteen years of age, Therese was considered too young to join the Carmelite order that she desparately longed for. In an attempt to gain the special permission required, she not only had meetings with the Bishop, but with the Pope himself. Waiting for the deepest desires of her heart to be fulfilled was a great source of mortification and suffering for the young girl. In her autobiography she descibes this test of faith quite poignently:
“My heart was broken when going to Midnight mass; I was counting so much on assisting at it behind Carmel’s grilles! This trial was very great for my faith, but the One who watches even when he sleeps made me understand that to those whose faith is like that of a mustard seed He grants miracles and moves mountains in order to strengthen this faith which is still small; but for His intimate friends, for His Mother, He works no miracles before having tried their faith. Did He not allow Lazarus to die even after Martha and Mary told Him he was sick? At the wedding of Cana when the Blessed Virgin asked Jesus to come to the help of the head of the house, didn’t He answer her that His hour had not yet come? But after the trial what a reward? The water was changed into wine…Lazarus was raised from the dead! Thus Jesus acted toward His little Therese: after having tried her for a long time, He granted all the desires of her heart.”
A few months after her audience with the Pope, special permission was granted by Therese’s Bishop to allow her early entrance into Carmel. God sometimes draws back to draw us forward. What an inspiring reflection on faith and God’s faithfulness. I hope that the richness of this message will minister to your hearts, especially if you can relate to Therese in the suffering of waiting on the Lord. Therese and I are “soul sisters” on this point, as I can relate. Yet, as I was encouraged by the message that I heard spoken by Nick Vujicic, a limbless man, in his powerful testimony on YouTube the other day: “If God hasn’t answered your prayer yet, perhaps He is strengthening your heart for something greater.” He doesn’t always have to move mountains, He may just be asking you and I to be patient, because it will be worth it.