Merry Christmas to everyone! I can still say this because Christmas is such an important Solemnity that Catholics celebrate it for eight days – the Octave of Christmas. I hope that everyone had a holy and happy Christmas with family and friends and didn’t eat too, too much!
We can recall when the angel greeted the shepherds in the field on that first Christmas night. “And the angel said to them, ‘Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased’!” (Luke 2: 10-14)
On another Christmas night in 1886 St. Therese experienced her complete conversion. Even though she had grown up in a devout and loving Catholic household, Therese admitted that she was prone to oversensitivity, moodiness, and a certain emotional immaturity since her mother’s death in 1877 when Therese was four. She had tried very hard to overcome these defects through her own efforts without success. She knew that she needed a miracle from God to extricate her from her difficulties.
This miracle was granted by God after the Midnight Mass. Being the youngest in the family Therese still practiced the French custom of receiving gifts from the magic shoes on Christmas – a custom similar to the American tradition of children receiving gifts in their stockings. Louis Martin, Therese’s father, was tired at the late hour and made an off-handed remark about hoping that it would be the last year for the tradition of the magic shoes because Therese was getting too old (almost 14). Therese overheard the comment and her eyes immediately welled up with tears due to her hypersensitivity. Celine, Therese’s older sister, knew of her difficulties and advised Therese not to go to the magic shoes because it would be too difficult for her because of her father’s comment. This is where the miracle happened!
Therese describes what happened in her Autobiography. “But Therese was no longer the same ; Jesus had changed her heart! Forcing back my tears , I descended the stairs rapidly; controlling the poundings of my heart, I took my slippers and placed them in front of Papa, and withdrew all the objects joyfully. I had the happy appearance of a Queen. Having regained his own cheerfulness, Papa was laughing; Celine believed it was all a dream! Fortunately, it was a sweet reality; 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!” (Story of A Soul, p. 98)
The Lord loves to give spiritual gifts at Christmas, so pray that He grant you gifts and graces that you need. Pray to St. Therese and she will certainly intercede to the Lord for your special requests.
Enjoy the remaining three days of the Octave of Christmas and have a Happy New Year!