Very often, the proper prayers of the Mass for the feast of a saint tell us about the saint we remember and ask for the graces found in them. The prayers for the Feast of St. Therese do just that:
“The Lord led her and taught her
and kept her as the apple of his eye.
Like an eagle spreading its wings
he took her up and bore her on his shoulders.
The Lord alone was her guide.” (Entrance antiphon)
Therese saw herself as loved by God, she was the apple of God’s eye. Jesus alone was her guide. No matter how close she was to her family or her religious community, Jesus was her teacher and guide. In her autobiography she speaks of herself as a little bird hardly able to fly, but she has the desires, the heart of an eagle, and she prays that God give her wings. God gave her what she sought. “Like an eagle spreading its wings, he took her up and bore her on his shoulders.”
In the Collect, the opening prayer of the Mass for her feast, we ask God to “lead us to follow trustingly in the little way of Saint Therese, because God invites those who are humble, little ones, into his kingdom:
“O God, who open your Kingdom
to those who are humble and to little ones,
lead us to follow trustingly in the little way of Saint Thérèse,
so that through her intercession
we may see your eternal glory revealed.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.”
In the prayer over the offerings we say:
“As we proclaim your wonders in Saint Thérèse, O Lord,
we humbly implore your majesty,
that, as her merits were pleasing to you,
so, too, our dutiful service may find favor in your sight.
Through Christ our Lord.”
Therese insisted at she began writing her autobiography that she was proclaiming the wonders of God in her life, not her own accomplishments. As we bring ourselves to God in the bread and the wine, we proclaim God’s goodness to us in Jesus Christ. We give thanks to the Lord, our God.
After communion we remember what Jesus taught, so that he accomplish his teaching in us:
“Thus says the Lord:
Unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
In the prayer after Communion we pray:
“May the Sacrament we have received, O Lord,
kindle in us the force of that love
with which Saint Thérèse dedicated herself to you
and longed to obtain your mercy for all.”
We know how much this saint loved God. It was also a love that reached out to the whole world as God’s merciful love does. We ask that the Lord “kindle in us the force of that love”, to love him and love others with his merciful love.