by PRINCE RONSON SABADO and KATHERINE CHAN
CATHOLICS SHOULD look beyond superstitions and comprehend the life and spirituality of St. Thérèse of Lisieux for them to become true devotees, a Dominican priest said.
Santisimo Rosario Parish Church priest Rev. Fr. Paul Reagan Talavera, O.P. said belief in the female saint based on superstitions is not enough to understand her intercession.
“We should understand the life of the saint, understand the spirituality of the saint, then we could really say that we are devotees,” Talavera said in his homily during the mass for St. Thérèse on Thursday, April 13.
“For as long as our beliefs are superstitious, we are still lacking. We are still on the way,” he added.
A devotee of St. Thérèse, Talavera recounted his personal experiences that he described as “answered prayers” from the saint.
“I remember, I was reviewing for an exam and the exam was really hard and I did not have enough time to review. So I said, ‘St. Thérèse, I leave it to you.’ The following day, it rained [and] the examination was canceled. I told myself, ‘Wow, it was an answered prayer indeed.’ […] Ever since that, I always think that St. Thérèse is a very powerful intercessor,” he said.
Talavera also commended the Carmelites for setting an example on how Catholics should reach the “heights of perfection” through contemplation.
The parish priest concluded his homily by citing a letter from the late Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz, who had viewed St. Thérèse as God’s instrument in showing that “holiness is available to each person.”
“Through her little way of confidence and love, she teaches us that by entrusting ourselves completely and obediently to our Father who loves us and by doing and enduring all things for love of God, we can also attain holiness and serve the salvation of the world,” the letter read.
The pilgrim relics of St. Thérèse were opened to devotees for veneration at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church after the mass. Her relics’ arrival in the country last Jan. 2 marked her fifth Philippine pilgrimage since her first visit during the Great Jubilee in 2000.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux, a Carmelite saint and the youngest Doctor of the Church, is honored by her devotees for exemplifying a life of holiness at a young age through her way of “spiritual childhood.” She is known for her memoir entitled “Story of a Soul,” which depicts her spiritual development and pursuit for holiness. F