It Was Christmas Night
'Christmas night of 1886 is a very important
date in Church history because this was the
night when Therese (Saint Therese of Liseux,
whose relics were in Guam a few years ago)
snapped of her over-sensitivity that was
ruining her life. That day "I received
the grace of leaving my childhood".
The death of her mother, when she was five,
left a deep emotional scar in Therese. She
became asocial, very insecure. "I was
really unbearable because of my extreme touchiness;
if I happened to cause anyone I loved some
little trouble, even unwittingly, instead
of forgetting about it, I cried like a Magdalene
which made matters worse, and then when I
began to cheer up, I'd begin to cry again
for having cried."
Upon arriving home from the Christmas midnight
mass, Therese, now thirteen years old, went
as customary to the chimney corner to look
for the presents stuffed in the shoes that
she had left before she went to mass. Her
father was tired and uttered loudly, "Well,
fortunately, this will be the last year!"
"My heart was pierced" she admits,
on listening these words and normally, she
would have burst in inconsolable tears that
would continue for hours…
"But Therese was no longer the same."
Forcing back the tears, she took the slippers
and started opening the presents with obvious
glee. Her sister Celine could not believe
her eyes. As she herself confesses, "Therese
had discovered once again the strength of
soul which she had lost at the age of four
and a half, and she was to preserve it forever!"
The power of the grace of God! What she was
not able to do in eight years, God did it
in an instant. An enormous ray of hope for
those parents who have been praying for their
children who are spiraling out of control
in unhealthy relationships or drugs or rebelliousness.
God can shatter this destructive pattern
of your children in a second! Keep praying
What is amazing about Therese is her popularity!
Wherever you go, you find pictures or statues
of her! She died of TB when she was twenty
four years nine months. Everyone thought
that it was all over, but the publication
of three notebooks that she wrote, exposed
her to the general public. She was an immediate
Why? Not only because in heaven she started
working overtime sending graces ("roses'
as she endearingly called them) to many,
but also because she hands over to us a secret
that can relieve us from unnecessary complications.
Everyone tells us to be strong. In life only
the powerful and the strong are heroes. But
we constantly find ourselves weak and unable
to do what we are supposed to do. Even in
faith. We can try as much as we want but
we can never love God with all our hearts,
with all our minds, with all our strength
and our neighbors as ourselves.
Well, if I cannot do it, then He has to do
it, reasoned Therese. She uses the simple
image of the elevator... I cannot climb the
stairs of sanctity. But there is 'this startling
invention' now. I just go in and I shall
arrive at Him at no effort of mine. All the
effort is His.
God likes us goofy as we are! Isn't this
great? "How happy I am to realize that
I am little and weak, how happy I am to see
myself so imperfect." "Look at
kids," she writes to Celine, "they
break things, they tear up paper, they fall
even if they love their parents and their
parents keep loving them all the same."
"Make it clear, Mother, that if I had
committed all possible crimes, I would still
have the same confidence. I would feel that
this multitude of offenses would be like
a drop of water cast into a blazing fire!"
"We can never have enough confidence
in God who is so good, so powerful, so merciful."
No more then a question of becoming strong
but a question of being happy in our deep
The mother was shocked when her small daughter
told her that she likes telling jokes to
Jesus before she goes to bed. "Last
night I told him the joke about the chicken
crossing the road." "But He surely
knows that joke!" the mother remarks.
"Yes, but God told me that no one ever
bothered to tell it to Him!"
The world is dying because there are not
enough children! Happy uncomplicated Christmas!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright