St. Therese is the voice we need to understand this Gospel message
Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
Today’s feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus places before us a page of the Gospel that is not only the key to understanding her whole life, but also fundamentally reminds us that, in order to understand this Gospel passage, we need to look at the experience of none other than this small and great Carmelite saint.
The insight that the Spirit gave this young woman was the understanding that the whole strength of faith lies in making oneself small. The little ones are the true depositaries of the kingdom, the true protagonists of God’s love, the ones who experience from the very beginning the power of eternal life, because they feel safe in the hands of the One who loves them:
“‘I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.’”
If only we tried for even one day to live entrusting ourselves completely into God’s hands, we would experience a peace that we may never have experienced before in our lives.
The work of evil consists entirely in constantly providing us with arguments not to trust, to live defensively, to save ourselves. The Spirit, on the other hand, constantly cries out within us, “Abba, Father!” (Rom 8:14). Spiritual childhood means making this voice prevail in us against all other voices that tell us instead that we’re alone and without anyone who can save us. Those who believe in this love accept to become small, because it’s precisely in that smallness that God’s omnipotence is manifested.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.