It’s the Little Ways: A Reflection for St. Therese of Lisieux’s Feast Day

Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Little Things with Great Love
Today is the feast day of one of my favorite Saints, St. Thérèse of Lisieux! She always reminds me that you don’t have to do great things to be a great Saint. She entered a convent when she was a teenager and died when she was 24. The “Little Flower” teaches us that we can serve God in the littlest things that we do, as long as we do them with great love…

…but I forget this a lot.

Great Things Aren’t Always Great
I always keep myself busy with classes, rehearsals, meetings, homework, and more. There’s always a dozen things on my to do list, and because I rarely complete everything that I want to get done in a day, I get frustrated with myself.

I feel defeated when I forget to pray. I convince myself that if I don’t make it to daily Mass, or do a Holy Hour in the adoration chapel, or pray a Rosary, then I didn’t do enough for God that day. Fortunately, St. Thérèse of Lisieux reminds me that this isn’t the case.

It's the Little Ways
It’s the Little Ways: a Reflection for St. Therese of Lisieux’s Feast Day

Loving Him Like Little Children
Although the big things are nice, our Heavenly Father delights just as much in the little things that we do for him. St. Thérèse of Lisieux shows me to how depend on and turn to the Father with childlike love.

I recently began turning to God as soon as I wake up in the morning. I tell Him that I won’t make it through the day without Him, and I ask Him to help me and be with me in all that I do throughout the day. I turn to Him with a “Thank you, God!” when I’m spending time with my friends, and I pray “God, please help me!” when I get frustrated with an assignment. When someone comes to me with a prayer intention, I immediately pray a quick “God, please be with [name],” and I’ll also be more likely to write it down in my prayer journal and remember during a Holy Hour or a Rosary.

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Taking the Opportunities to Love in Little Ways
As we remember and celebrate St. Thérèse of Lisieux today, find ways to love God and your neighbors. Like she states in the quote at the beginning of this blog, there are so many things that we can do to love each other, and we can put so much love into everything we do. Don’t be afraid to give someone a smile and a kind word. You never know how much they might need it. Don’t hesitate to ask someone how you can pray for them. They might need your prayers but don’t know how to ask you. Don’t think twice about doing a favor or an act of service for someone.

Serving God and our brothers and sisters in Christ in the littlest ways surely adds up. St. Thérèse, the little flower shows us that the little things we do will lead us to holiness and sainthood.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux, pray for us.

Stay radiant!

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Being Thankful When the Answer is “No.”

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

— Jeremiah 29:11

I was certain I knew what God’s will for my life was.

For about a year and a half, I thought I knew what God wanted me to do with my life. After hearing His call so often and after so much time in prayer and talking to so many loved ones about it, I thought I knew God’s plan for me.

Being Thankful When the Answer is No
Being Thankful When the Answer is No

On a FOCUS mission trip to Nicaragua in March 2018, I first heard God call me to be a missionary. I kept praying about it and talking to the missionaries at SRU about it, and when I went to SEEK 2019 in Indianapolis, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that God was calling me to be a FOCUS missionary. It made perfect sense to me because of my great capacity to love and my desire to bring people to God. I could already imagine myself on a college campus meeting students and embracing them in authentic friendship. I would go to Mass with them, lead a Bible study, and light so many hearts on fire for God.

This was how I was going to do God’s will. When I told my friends and some of my family that I wanted to be a FOCUS missionary, they all affirmed that I’d be a great missionary. This path made sense for me.

I filled out my application and asked some of the FOCUS missionaries at SRU to help me with it. I spent hours making sure that it was what FOCUS wanted to see without compromising my authentic self. I submitted it with excitement, and one week later, I got an email from FOCUS.

They were not going to interview me.

It took me a minute to process that I wasn’t going to Recruitment Weekend. I wasn’t even getting a screening call. They decided not to continue with my application at all. I felt the strangest mix of emotions. I felt shattered, cheated, indifferent.

After I got that email, I sat in the chapel in the Newman Center for the longest time. I sat and gazed at the crucifix above the tabernacle not quite thinking anything but still trying to organize my thoughts. I came to God with all of my feelings of betrayal, disappointment, rage, and indifference. Finally, I bowed my head and said, “God, I thank you that FOCUS said ‘No.'”

That’s when a wave of peace that only He can give rushed over me.

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I realized that hearing “no” doesn’t mean that I’m not good enough. It doesn’t mean that I’ll never be a missionary. It doesn’t mean that I’m not holy or I won’t be a Saint or I’m not a beloved daughter of God. Hearing “no” means that God has even better plans for my future. He didn’t place FOCUS missionaries in my life or send me to Nicaragua or SEEK to get my hopes up. God doesn’t show us gold and then give us silver. By my Baptism, God wants me to be a missionary, but not a FOCUS missionary.

There’s another mission that God will send me on according to his perfect timing, and it’ll be the one that God created me to do. Hearing “no” doesn’t shake my trust in my Heavenly Father at all. During times like these, I find comfort in Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.'” I’m secure in knowing that He has beautiful plans for my life, and I’ll continue praising Him as I wait for Him to reveal them to me.

Stay radiant!

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