Fulfillment of St. Thérèse of Lisieux Prayers
“When I die, I will send down a shower of roses from the heavens, I will spend my heaven by doing good on earth.”
The Built For God Handbook follows the same principles of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, “The Little Way” or “The Little Flower.” What excited me about St. Thérèse is her desire to be a missionary in North Vietnam, the country where I was born and the land my great grandfather and grandmother built, the Catholic Church, Phuong Duc.
St. Thérèse prayed to be cured of her illness and be free to travel to Vietnam. There was a request for more sisters to help, and St. Thérèse was one of the first to volunteer. She was eager to be a missionary and was nearly sent to Vietnam. Thérèse talks about it in a letter she sent to a French priest.
“This will perhaps surprise you; is it not a dream that a Carmelite think of leaving for Tonkin? Well, no, it is not a dream, and I can assure you that if Jesus does not soon come looking for me for the Carmel of Heaven, I shall one day leave for that of Hanoi, for now there is a Carmel in that city, the Saigon Carmel recently founded it.”
St. Thérèse also wrote a letter about missionary St. Théophane Vénard, who was beheaded in Tonkin, North Vietnam in 1861. She writes:
“I have read the lives of many missionaries. One I have read is the life of Théophane Vénard, which interested me and touched me more than I can say. I like Théophane Vénard even more than St. Louis de Gonzaga, because the life of Saint Louis de Gonzaga was extraordinary and Théophane Vénard’s was quite ordinary. . . . My soul is like his. He is the one who has best lived my way of spiritual childhood.”
It wasn’t God’s will for St. Thérèse to spend her life in Vietnam as a missionary, as did St. Théophane Vénard, but instead to shower the world with roses from Heaven. In 1897, she died from tuberculosis at the age of 24. St. Therese last words were, “My God, I Love You.” Pope Pius XI canonized St. Thérèse in 1925 and declared her Patron Saint of the Universal Missions in 1927. She is best known as “The Little Way” or “The Little Flower” of Jesus Christ. Her special message, “Way of Spiritual Childhood”, paved the way for the Second Vatican Council; a return to the Word of God. In her quiet, simple way, she brought about a spiritual revolution, which marked the transition from a Jansenist, God of fear and vengeance, to a God who is the essential source of Love, Life, and Joy.
“I feel that my work is just beginning, my work of making people love God as I love Him, of giving my “Little Way” to other souls.” – St. Thérèse de Lisieux
Pope Pius X (1903-1914) described Sister Thérèse “the greatest saint of modern times.” On June 2, 1980, Pope John Paul II, put it strongly: “The `Little Way’ is the way of `Holy Childhood’. It is a way to confirm and renew the most fundamental and universal truth. After all, which of the Gospel’s truths is more fundamental and more universal than this, God is our Father and we are His children?” Carmelite Father Marie Eugéne declared, “She, a little child, will teach the souls who will make up the army of the last days to give themselves over entirely to God’s mercy. We are at the start of her mission. The great works are still to come, and they will show her at last for what she really is, great among all the saints!”
Her trust in God gave hope to St. Faustina Kowalska when she fell very ill, speculated to be tuberculosis. In 1932, St. Faustina dreamed of St. Thérèse, who told her she must trust in the Lord, Jesus, and three days later, she was healed. St. Faustina’s spirit is still very much alive and continues to help save countless souls to know God’s Love and Mercy.
I had no knowledge of St. Thérèse until my first visit with Fr. Barry on October 1, 2019. Immediately after our meeting, as I was walking down the building’s outdoor ramp, my cousin and I smelled a shower of roses surrounding us. We both looked around, and not a single rose was in sight. I didn’t know the significance of the miracle but later learned it happened on St. Thérèse of Lisieux Saint’s Day (The Little Flower), October 1 in 2020. Fr. Barry and I met later that month. During our second meeting, he said I reminded him of St. Faustina. I felt very humbled and honored, but I didn’t have any knowledge of St. Faustina as well. Shortly after, I asked my family to watch a new movie release about St. Faustina at our local theater. After the movie ended, I asked my kids their thoughts, and they commented that I am like St. Faustina. The kids recognized the trust St. Faustina had for Jesus, is what I also desire for myself, even when the narrow road can be full of many uncertainties.
“Jesus, I trust in you.” – St. Faustina
Since 2007, I have gone through many difficult challenges to complete the Christian Edition of the Tao Te Ching, Built For God Handbook. I made it my first priority to complete the work in five years and begin my mission to share it with the world. Unfortunately, it led to my financial crisis, uncertain future, and poor health. My father was puzzled about how I was always smiling during these challenging years and asked, “Why are you so happy? You lost your status and wealth, not focused on your business, doing things that don’t support your family financially, people criticized your choices, lost respect for you, and ignored your request for help.” I responded, “The suffering you see is the joy I experience. I am more intimate with God. I can now better understand His sacrifice for us on the cross. The loss of God’s Son and the suffering of Jesus is much greater than any pain I can possibly feel. We are God’s children, and Jesus showed us on the cross the love He has for us. The closer I get to Him, the more joy I feel. So, the suffering you see in my life is the goodness of God to fulfill His promise in me. Please don’t worry about me but pray for those who don’t know God.”
“It’s true, I suffer a great deal–but do I suffer well? That is the question.” – St. Thérèse de Lisieux
However, I was worried my body would not be able to endure the long work hours that caused a lot of physical stress. I shared with my wife that if something happens to me, please continue my mission to restore the Truth. What I feared became a reality. I neglected my body for too long, ignoring all the health signs. In 2019, I found myself in the ER room, and doctors rushed me into the surgery room a few hours later. After preparing me for the surgery, my body was too weak, fearing more complications. The doctors decided to wait the following day before starting the 5-hour surgery to save my life. On May 29, 2019, while I was waiting for my surgery, I received a call from my wife to share a surprising message. The message came from a calendar she gave to me on my birthday.
Max Lucado May 29 Calendar Message:
You’ll get through this waiting room season just fine.
Pay careful note, and you will detect
The most wonderful surprise. The doctor will step out
Of his office and take the seat next to yours.
“Just thought I’d keep you company while you are waiting.”
Not every physician will do that, but yours will
After all, he is the Great Physician.
After hearing these words, I felt God wanted me to know everything will be OK, similar to how St. Thérèse spoke to St. Faustina in her dreams to trust Jesus when she was very ill. Not only my health was completely restored, but the business I stepped away from to complete the Christian Edition of the Tao Te Ching was miraculous restored beyond my expectations.
During my journey, I learned my great-great-grandfather, Hoang Lenh Thu, died a martyr for the Faith. Following his martyrdom, my great grandfather and grandmother Riem built the Catholic Church in North Vietnam, Phuong Duc. Is it possible my mission is to fulfill St. Thérèse’s prayers for North Vietnam?
“When I die, I will send down a shower of roses from the heavens, I will spend my heaven by doing good on earth.” – St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Today, I am joined with Bishop Kevin W. Vann, Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie, Fr. Michael Barry, Fr. Bao Thai, Fr. Michael Khong, Caterina Krai, and my wife, Tracy, to restore the Truth of our Faith in the same way as St. Thérèse’s Little Way of loving God, a path anyone can follow. We know Wisdom is found only in the Truth, and we share this Truth in the BFG Handbook. It will unite us to begin a meaningful dialogue without emphasizing rules and regulations or religious and political differences because the core principles share a universal truth. It is a common and familiar language of the truth people can easily understand to live a fulfilling life. It will integrate with the morality and cultural Truth of today’s modern society to renew our spirit by discovering the beauty, goodness, and Truth of our Faith.
“I can nourish myself on nothing but truth” – St Thérèse of Lisieux
The Truth in the Bible is unfamiliar to non-Christians, so we must find a way to explain a simple way of living that is good for all, not as rules or laws. “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:31. Non-Christians have their own Truth and forcing our own Truth on them will create more resistance. It doesn’t matter if they are Christian or non-Christians; specific laws are difficult to accept, even for practicing Catholics. Loving one another is the heart of the law. God knows the human heart. In cleansing the heart of a non-Christian, God makes no distinctions, and putting God to the test by placing our own understanding on a non-Christian is not right. Christians should not use laws to put a burden on non-Christians but instead, find a way to communicate our differences with a universal Truth that is simple to understand.
The BFG Handbook is the solution to communicate this universal truth for healthy relationships between different cultures and the creed of the other faiths. St. Thérèse de Lisieux share this common understanding, finding it much easier to reject rules and laws but harder to reject a friendship, so we can begin a dialogue. Thus, it is a simpler way to discover the fundamental truth of our faith for our modern times. It is the essential tool that uses St. Thérèse principles “The Little Way”. “The Little Way” is not reserved for normal people or a sophisticated way for getting into Heaven. It is a modern realization of God’s Word, paving the way for a demoralized society to turn again to the Gospel. St. Thérèse’s path to sainthood is a source of comfort and inspiration to countless victims of emotional or other crises today. For she has promised to work for us here on earth, “to the end of time”. Her way is a simple path anyone can follow. She did not study theology and was named a Doctor of Church by St. John Paul II in 1997. St. Thérèse wanted to make things simple when it comes to our Faith. It was not about reading theology or praying with beautiful words but believing there is an alternative way to reach God, a much simpler way. A path that anyone can follow without reading theology. The BFG Handbook follows these same principles to restore the truth of our faith. This is an important call from the church to build God’s army of saints for a New Evangelization. Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie, co-author of Built For God writes, “it is not a different gospel, but a presentation of the gospel that is new through its agents, through its methods, through its ardor.”
The truth revealed in Built For God will help us recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit, which makes evangelization possible. This is an important call from the church to build God’s army of saints for a New Evangelization.
“God would never inspire me with desires which cannot be realized; so in spite of my littleness, I can hope to be a saint.” – St. Thérèse de Lisieux
Christian Edition of the Tao Te Ching, Built For God
“This book is a personal journey to the spiritual common ground between East and West – an important quest for humanity, and a worthy goal for all of us.” – Derek Lin, Award-Winning, Bestselling Author in the Tao Genre.
St. Thérèse de Lisieux
Pray For Us!