We oftentimes reflect upon the sorrow of our Blessed Mother.  She is, indeed, our Lady of Sorrows…she whose heart was “pierced with a sword”, who lived, loved and mourned in the shadow of the Cross.  And yet, she is also our Lady of Joy.  For who among us can claim the singular joy of this title:  Mother of God.  Who among us has lived in such intimacy and loving union as she who cradled the Infant Christ in her arms and upon her breast?  Our Lady must have lavished so many sweet smiles and kisses upon her baby boy…her face would have reflected pure radiance.

We have a beautiful record of the loveliness of our Lady’s smile and the generous gift which accompanied it, from a holy saint and Doctor of the Church, St. Therese of Lisieux:

As a child, St. Therese had an encounter with Mary that forever changed the course of her life.  As a young girl in France, she became quite ill. The doctor informed Therese’s father that nothing more could be done for her. Her family was no stranger to suffering.  They had just lost their mother from breast cancer.

Her father arranged for Mass to be said for her healing at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Victories.  He also moved into Therese’s room a statue of the Blessed Virgin known as Our Lady of the Smile (a favorite of the Martin children who used to shower it with kisses)

On May 13, 1883, Therese recovered. She ascribed her healing to the presence of the statue:

“Suddenly, I have never seen anything so attractive. Her face was alive with great kindness and tenderness and she smiled a most ravishing smile. At once all my pain left me and I cried two large tears which slid down silently down my cheeks. Yes! I thought, the virgin has smiled on me. How Blessed I am!”

Her sister Marie was there at the time, and much later at the hearings for Therese’s beatification, she testified to what had happened when saw Therese in ecstasy. “I knew at once she was looking at no mere statue but that she saw the Blessed Virgin herself. It lasted about five minutes. I knew she would be cured.”

Our Lady smiled upon her precious child, and in accordance with God’s will, St. Therese was healed.  How much love we convey with such a simple act of the will…

Today’s challenge?  Smile!  Generously, warmly and joyfully smile upon your children and spouse…and watch the love and healing that follows!  There is nothing quite as contagious as a sweet smile…