Thought for the weekend: A family living the message of God
I am writing this thought on the boat from Cherbourg, France, to Poole, England. My fellow traveller forgot to check our place of departure that was, in fact, to be from Roscoff to Rosslare.
However, the inadvertence allowed us to visit Alençon in Normandy - the birthplace of St Therese of Lisieux - and the site of the family home of her parents, Louis and Zélie Martin. The parents of St Therese are to be canonised on October 18 by Pope Francis in Rome - the first time a husband and wife have been canonised together.
In canonising a person or persons, the Catholic Church highlights their heroic virtues in living the Christian life and proposes them to us for imitation and encouragement. In these two particular new saints, the Church is underlining the importance of the family and marriage in God's saving plan for humanity.
In an ordinary home, far away from the glare of publicity, a mother, a father, with their children, lived out the message of the Gospel.
Louis and Zélie had five daughters. All of them would eventually enter religious life. The youngest, Therese, was destined to become one of the best-loved saints of all time.
The message of St Therese can be summed up as utter confidence in God. We can trust God completely and surrender ourselves to him totally because He loves us infinitely.
In that love of God for us, there is no need for fear or anxiety.
The seeds of St Therese of Lisieux's vocation to remind the world of this love about which we can be absolutely certain, were sown in her home as she witnessed the love of her parents for each other, for her sisters and for her.
The joint canonisation of this married couple is being celebrated during the Synod for the Family in Rome, in October. This gathering of the universal Church, with the Pope, will seek to strengthen the bonds of family life and love among all Christians and persons of goodwill. It was good to have visited Alençon.
I am glad we didn't check the tickets.