Reflections from St. Therese of Lisieux


In the second manuscript of her autobiography, St. Therese posed the question: “O Jesus, your little bird is happy to be weak and little. What would become of it if it were big?”

St. Therese knew that the eagles she spoke of were the great saints in Heaven. Our dear little bird, Therese, calls on the saints to help protect her from anything that might take away her littleness. St. Therese believed that while she was called to holiness, that God was going to lead her up the mountain of perfection by a different and simple way. So, she remained small and loved with the capacity God had given her- childlike trust.

Her little way is not about performing acts for the sake of recognition and glory; but rather that every action should be for the love of God. St. Therese preferred to live a secluded life doing simple duties all for the sake of His glory.


Pope Francis’ Homily: Feast of Corpus Christi

« Do this in remembrance of me » (1 Cor. 11 :24-25).

Twice the Apostle Paul, writing to the community in Corinth, recalls this command of Jesus in his account of the institution of the Eucharist. It is the oldest testimony we have to the words of Christ at the Last Supper.

“Do this.” That is, take bread, give thanks and break it; take the chalice, give thanks, and share it. Jesus gives the command to repeat this action by which he instituted the memorial of his own Pasch, and in so doing gives us his Body and his Blood. This action reaches us today: it is the “doing” of the Eucharist which always has Jesus as its subject, but which is made real through our poor hands anointed by the Holy Spirit.

“Do this.” Jesus on a previous occasion asked his disciples to “do” what was so clear to him, in obedience to the will of the Father. In the Gospel passage that we have just heard, Jesus says to the disciples in front of the tired and hungry crowds: “Give them something to eat yourselves” (Lk 9:13). Indeed, it is Jesus who blesses and breaks the loaves and provides sufficient food to satisfy the whole crowd, but it is the disciples who offer the five loaves and two fish. Jesus wanted it this way: that, instead of sending the crowd away, the disciples would put at his disposal what little they had. And there is another gesture: the pieces of bread, broken by the holy and venerable hands of Our Lord, pass into the poor hands of the disciples, who distribute these to the people. This too is the disciples “doing” with Jesus; with him they are able to “give them something to eat.” Clearly this miracle was not intended merely to satisfy hunger for a day, but rather it signals what Christ wants to accomplish for the salvation of all mankind, giving his own flesh and blood (cf. Jn 6:48-58). And yet this needs always to happen through those two small actions: offering the few loaves and fish which we have; receiving the bread broken by the hands of Jesus and giving it to all.

Breaking: this is the other word explaining the meaning of those words: “Do this in remembrance of me.” Jesus was broken; he is broken for us. And he asks us to give ourselves, to break ourselves, as it were, for others. This “breaking bread” became the icon, the sign for recognizing Christ and Christians. We think of Emmaus: they knew him “in the breaking of the bread” (Lk 24:35). We recall the first community of Jerusalem: “They held steadfastly… to the breaking of the bread” (Acts 2:42). From the outset it is the Eucharist which becomes the center and pattern of the life of the Church. But we think also of all the saints – famous or anonymous – who have “broken” themselves, their own life, in order to “give something to eat” to their brothers and sisters. How many mothers, how many fathers, together with the slices of bread they provide each day on the tables of their homes, have broken their hearts to let their children grow, and grow well! How many Christians, as responsible citizens, have broken their own lives to defend the dignity of all, especially the poorest, the marginalized and those discriminated! Where do they find the strength to do this? It is in the Eucharist: in the power of the Risen Lord’s love, who today too breaks bread for us and repeats: “Do this in remembrance of me.”

May this action of the Eucharistic procession, which we will carry out shortly, respond to Jesus’ command. An action to commemorate him; an action to give food to the crowds of today; an act to break open our faith and our lives as a sign of Christ’s love for this city and for the whole world.

Pope Francis’ Homily for the Feast of Corpus Christi (FULL TEXT)

Pope to Deacons: ‘you are called to serve, not to be self-serving’

Please find below the full text of the Pope’s homily for the conclusive Mass of the Jubilee for Deacons:

“A servant of Jesus Christ” (Gal 1:10).  We have listened to these words that the Apostle Paul, writing to the Galatians, uses to describe himself.  At the beginning of his Letter, he had presented himself as “an apostle” by the will of the Lord Jesus (cf. Gal 1:1).  These two terms – apostle and servant – go together.  They can never be separated.  They are like the two sides of a medal.  Those who proclaim Jesus are called to serve, and those who serve proclaim Jesus.

The Lord was the first to show us this.  He, the Word of the Father, who brought us the good news (Is 61:1), indeed, who is the good news (cf. Lk 4:18), became our servant (Phil 2:7).  He came “not to be served, but to serve” (Mk 10:45).  “He became the servant (diakonos) of all”, wrote one of the Church Fathers (Saint Polycarp, Ad Phil. V, 2).  We who proclaim him are called to act as he did.  A disciple of Jesus cannot take a road other than that of the Master.  If he wants to proclaim him, he must imitate him.  Like Paul, he must strive to become a servant.  In other words, if evangelizing is the mission entrusted at baptism to each Christian, serving is the way that mission is carried out.  It is the only way to be a disciple of Jesus.  His witnesses are those who do as he did: those who serve their brothers and sisters, never tiring of following Christ in his humility, never wearing of the Christian life, which is a life of service.

How do we become “good and faithful servants” (cf. Mt 25:21)?  As a first step, we are asked to be available.  A servant daily learns detachment from doing everything his own way and living his life as he would.  Each morning he trains himself to be generous with his life and to realize that the rest of the day will not be his own, but given over to others.  One who serves cannot hoard his free time; he has to give up the idea of being the master of his day.  He knows that his time is not his own, but a gift from God which is then offered back to him.  Only in this way will it bear fruit.  One who serves is not a slave to his own agenda, but ever ready to deal with the unexpected, ever available to his brothers and sisters and ever open to God’s constant surprises.  A servant knows how to open the doors of his time and inner space for those around him, including those who knock on those doors at odd hours, even if that entails setting aside something he likes to do or giving up some well-deserved rest.  Dear deacons, if you show that you are available to others, your ministry will not be self-serving, but evangelically fruitful.

Today’s Gospel also speaks to us of service.  It shows us two servants who have much to teach us: the servant of the centurion whom Jesus cures and the centurion himself, who serves the Emperor.  The words used by the centurion to dissuade Jesus from coming to his house are remarkable, and often the very opposite of our own: “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof” (7:6); I did not presume to come to you” (7:7); “I also am a man set under authority” (7:8).  Jesus marvels at these words.  He is struck by the centurion’s great humility, by his meekness.  Given his troubles, the centurion might have been anxious and could have demanded to be heard, making his authority felt.  He could have insisted and even forced Jesus to come to his house.  Instead, he was modest and unassuming; he did not raise his voice or make a fuss.  He acted, perhaps without even being aware of it, like God himself, who is “meek and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29).  For God, who is love, out of love is ever ready to serve us.  He is patient, kind and always there for us; he suffers for our mistakes and seeks the way to help us improve.  These are the characteristics of Christian service; meek and humble, it imitates God by serving others: by welcoming them with patient love and unflagging sympathy, by making them feel welcome and at home in the ecclesial community, where the greatest are not those who command but those who serve (cf. Lk 22:26).  This, dear deacons, is how your vocation as ministers of charity will mature: in meekness.

After the Apostle Paul and the centurion, today’s readings show us a third servant, the one whom Jesus heals.  The Gospel tells us that he was dear to his master and was sick, without naming his grave illness (v. 2).  In a certain sense, we can see ourselves in that servant.  Each of us is very dear to God, who loves us, chooses us and calls us to serve.   Yet each of us needs first to be healed inwardly.  To be ready to serve, we need a healthy heart: a heart healed by God, one which knows forgiveness and is neither closed nor hardened.  We would do well each day to pray trustingly for this, asking to be healed by Jesus, to grow more like him who “no longer calls us servants but friends” (cf. Jn 15:15).  Dear deacons, this is a grace you can implore daily in prayer.  You can offer the Lord your work, your little inconveniences, your weariness and your hopes in an authentic prayer that brings your life to the Lord and the Lord to your life.  When you serve at the table of the Eucharist, there you will find the presence of Jesus, who gives himself to you so that you can give yourselves to others.

In this way, available in life, meek of heart and in constant dialogue with Jesus, you will not be afraid to be servants of Christ, and to encounter and caress the flesh of the Lord in the poor of our time.

Pro-soccer player turned priest reunites with fans in Chile

.- With a Mass celebrated in the chapel where he used to pray, former soccer star Chase Hilgenbrinck was reunited recently with the faithful, friends and fans – not as a soccer star, but as a priest.

An American, Chase Hilgenbrinck was a successful pro soccer player who spent four seasons in Chile before returning to the U.S. He played for the New England Revolution before experiencing a call to the priesthood and leaving behind his soccer career to enter seminary.

In 2014, he was ordained a priest in the diocese of Peoria, Illinois, where he currently serves.

After being away from Chile for nine years, Father Chase returned to the city of Chillán in the southern part of the country, where he played on first division teams for three years.

He thanked the more than 600 faithful who attended the Eucharist he celebrated on May 7 in Santa Ana chapel, “especially the Chillán community that supported me before and who feel part of my soccer experience, and also now that I am a priest.”

After the Mass, Father Chase spoke with the community and fans of Ñublense, the Chillán team where the former left back had been key to achieving first division in 2006.

“Everything I learned in sports – such as the sacrifice of training hard, solidarity, working as a team – are things I also have to do in the Christian life. What I experienced in soccer helped me a lot to have all the virtues to lead a good Christian life,” Father Chase told the daily Crónica Chillán after Mass was over.

“When we make a commitment to something important in life everything is going to change. When you get married, life changes. The change isn’t bad, it’s something natural; if we’re not committed, life has no joy or sacrifice to it,” he said.

In response to the media frenzy caused by the news of his visit to Chile, the priest made it clear that “I didn’t come to make news, but I thank the journalists who like the story of what God has created in my life.”

“Hopefully on a national level this will be a beautiful story for the history of the Church and of God,” he added.

Father Luis Rocha, pastor of San Juan de Dios parish, where the Santa Ana chapel is located, told CNA that “although a lot of years have gone by, the people still remember Chase with a lot of affection.”

“The community welcomed him with a lot of joy and gratitude because they had already known him as a lay person, and he actively participated in the Liturgy of the Word at the Sunday Masses,” he said.

During his brief visit to Chile, which Chase described as a “tour to say thanks,” he was accompanied by his parents Mike and Kim, who had educated him in the Catholic faith since he was a child. The priest said he hopes to return to Chile for the 100th anniversary of the Ñublense team in August this year.

By Bárbara Bustamante

Never Give Up

Father Frassinetti offers this advice to those who desire moral perfection: “Do not allow this your desire to be chilled by the pernicious thought that you have perhaps more than once before endeavoured to tread in the path of Christian perfection and have not succeeded, and that consequently you would not succeed now were you […]