Strength

I was in church yesterday, praying to Lord as I stared up at the crucifix. I’ve been struggling with a lot of anxieties and just an… sense of great unease.  

I first thanked God for giving two of his most trusted saints, St. Therese and St. Joan. Thank you for giving me two amazing friends and heavenly siblings.

Then I went deeper. 

I won’t get into details, but there are things I’m considerably unsure about. Looking up at the crucifix, I pleaded to God, help me to understand. Please give me the strength I need to overcome these issues.  

I don’t know if it was a thunderclap or my own mind rationalizing everything. I had this one thing pop into my mind.  

It was just simply, “You can do nothing without me. I gave you a teacher and a guide. Listen to them, and they will guide you to me. They will help you.”

I pondered this in my heart. God, how can I follow their example? How can I walk in their footsteps? They are giants. They are too large, and I’m just a sinful nobody.  

I think I made some people mad.  

“Ask for their help, and they will help you.”

The answer was so simple and straightforward. Why didn’t I even think about it? How hard is it to ask for help? I felt like I was all alone, and God, St. Therese, and St. Joan were just right in front of me, waving their hands.

They got me thinking, though—this odd relationship. St. Joan guides me, St. Therese teaches me, and that’s something I wanted to reflect upon.  

What good is doing without knowing what you are doing, and most importantly, why? St. Therese has always taught us to remain small before God’s eyes, and He will lift us up.  

I was/am certainly not small. I felt like everything was all on me. It is through my sheer will that I will overcome these challenges. Yet this moment taught me something else.  

My will doesn’t matter. I need to stop relying on my “strength.” Instead, realize that I can do nothing without God and everything with God. The Lord is strength. He turns our nothingness into something.  

It’s a hard thing to let go of “self.” Even when I thought it was a “good” kind of self, I was wrong. So I started to think about St. Therese.

She often called herself a Little Flower. A flower that survived nasty storms. This flower did not boast about her color or smell. This flower did not acknowledge the beauty in her soul, nor did it deny the fact it came out with some bruises from the trials she endured.  

This flower merely accepted what she was; a mere flower in the garden of God. For this flower could do nothing without the gardener. This flower could sway in the breeze, drink from the water, or let out a fragrance without the gardener’s permission.  

That was the most beautiful and all inspiring thing to me. St. Therese did not boast in holiness. She said she was the weakest/littlest of all God’s creation. She didn’t say that out of sheer false humility. She spoke because to her, that was the truth.    

Her frailty was a gift of God. But, nevertheless, St. Therese never boasted about her strength. “I shall overcome by the Grace of God” Was not what she said. 

She would say, “By the Grace of God, He lifts me up.”  

Oh, you excellent and delightful teacher, help us to see ourselves as we ought to. Thank you, St. Therese. May your words be my words; my actions are St. Joan’s actions. 

My dear readers, I write this as a reflection of St. Therese. Her feast day will be coming up very soon! October 1. That day will be a very special day for all of us to remember a unique flower that looks out for us. 

Thank you, St. Therese.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your most wonderful teachings. St. Joan, guide us.

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