I was at a cafe, comfortably ensconced on my high chair having, well, coffee, and indulging in a slice of sinful dark chocolate cake. Earlier in the day, I had planned on hearing the 5 PM Mass after an early afternoon business meeting. I haven’t gone to Mass in weeks, or is it months? But, while at the cafe I decided not to go. I don’t know, maybe I was still in a mood. The holidays, December to February, are especially difficult. It’s when, despite putting up a resistance, I feel most vulnerable; when I make tampo with God- because I feel He’s let me down in that aspect of life (although deep down I know God being this silent invisible presence makes for a convenient reason to get “angry” at and the moment He actually speaks I’d probably die of fright). But, I felt a much stronger pull to go and at least visit while I was downtown. Fine. Duty is my weakness. I finished up the last bites of the cake and drained my coffee.
I got to catch the last statements of the homily. “We must believe that God has something good in store for us,” the priest was saying. Ha ha! Now that was something I needed to hear. Having settled in my place, I saw that there was something installed facing the altar and a large B&W image of a couple, man and woman, displayed near it.
I learned, toward the end of the Mass, that it was the relics of Saints Louis and Zelie Martin. Who were they? The names didn’t ring a bell. At home, I remembered to search online. And, my god, crazy me, I should’ve known! They’re the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux. My Carmelite BFFs would’ve whipped me for my ignorance! I quickly muttered an apology.
I spent the night reading up about the life of this blessed couple. I learned that they lived their life, an ordinary life, with faithfulness which was what made them extraordinary and eventually earned them sainthood. Louis, after his days as a soldier, had wanted to be a priest, and Zelie, lacking affection from her own family, a nun, but the vocation wasn’t in their stars. Instead, venturing into businesses of their own after failing to get accepted into religious life, Louie in watchmaking and Zelie in lacemaking, it was how they met one another. As a married couple, they lost three of their children, Zelie had breast cancer, and Louie a mental breakdown, but despite all that they hoped, lived, and loved fully. A life to draw strength from. I’m glad I let myself be pulled away from my coffee.