My Hero Academia is a massive franchise. As of today, there are 31 books, 5 anime seasons (with the 6th announced), a movie, a video game, musical, many spin-offs, and enough merchandise to fill a home. Personally, I have only read the first two books and watched a few episodes of season 1.
In this post, I am only going to discuss the first book. The basic premise is a world where the majority of people have Quirks (or superpowers). The story follows a boy Izuku Midoriya who is born without a superpower. However, he desperately wants one, so he can help people. He spends his time following superheroes and watching them save people, daydreaming the entire time that he will one day save people as well.
He suffers because he doesn’t have a Quirk. Other kids his age with Quirks mock him often. He feels he can never satisfy the desires of his heart. He spends a lot of time in the beginning crying and feeling sorry for himself. I will admit, that annoyed me. I even asked my children, “When does he stop whining and crying?” But, he never gives up on his dreams.
Then one day, a villain comes, and no one with Quirks is willing to fight the villain. Izuku attempts to fight the villain even with no powers. He impresses another superhero because though lacking in a Quirk, he has the heart of a superhero. This superhero decides to pass his powers onto Izuku, which allows him to finally have a Quirk and go to school with other superheroes. Then the entire franchise follows the school of superheroes.
I chose to do this book today because it is the feast day of Saint Therese of Lisieux, and one can draw a lot of similarities. She had a huge desire to do great things for Jesus, suffered greatly, and had to accept serving the world in a different way – known as “The Little Way.”
St. Therese was born the fifth daughter of a very devout Catholic family (her parents are also saints – St. Louis and Zelie Martin). Her mother died of cancer when she was very young. This sort of caused her to become very childish. She cried a lot, threw tantrums, and expected her entire family to treat her as the stereotypical “baby of the family.” Finally, one Christmas Eve, she, at 13, overhears her father, stating that she should have outgrown childish Christmas traditions. Her first reaction is to through her typical tantrum, but she says Jesus changed her heart instantly. She calls this the “Christmas Miracle” that changed her life.
Her sufferings consist of her mother dying young, then having her older sisters, her surrogate mothers, leave to enter the convent. She wants to join the convent young but is told no. She even tried to pull strings by asking the pope, and the answer was still no she has to wait. She wants to be a missionary for Jesus but is also told no – her role will be to stay in the small convent and pray for missionaries. Next, her father develops a mental illness and has to be institutionalized. Finally, she gets tuberculosis and dies at the very young age of 24.
If we evaluate her life according to worldly view, she was from a small village in France, joined a small convent, lived a pretty depressing life, and died at a young age. She didn’t really do anything. Yet, today she is a Doctor of the Church and one of the most well-known and beloved saints.
Her writings teach us to serve Jesus and accept His will in our SMALL daily trials. Not many are called to change the world in obvious profound ways, but all of us are called to love God and neighbor in our daily lives. This doesn’t seem grand because we don’t always see the fruit of our labor or any concrete outcomes. I know in my personal life that the smallest acts of love are the hardest for me and most of the time, no one but God and me know I did them. We don’t get the acknowledgment that our human egos crave. We don’t get to be the known superhero.
“I can prove my love only by scattering flowers, that is to say, by never letting slip a single little sacrifice, a single glance, a single word; by making profit of the very smallest actions, by doing them for love.”Story of a Soul
St. Therese is the patron saint of missionaries, even though she never went on a mission because her intercessory pray for missionaries during her life and in heaven is known to be great. This is how she wanted to spend the afterlife.
I have just finished a novena (with others) to St. Therese for my friend’s father, who has been in the ICU with COVID for the past 5 weeks. Today he woke up after not having consciousness for the past 3 weeks. I continue to pray that this is a sign he is on his way to recovery.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your love and saints like St. Therese, who can teach us to love you more each day and unite their prayers with ours. Thank you for your healing power, and I ask you to continue to heal those with COVID in any ICU around the world. In your holy name, I pray.
St. Therese of Lisieux – pray for us.