The fog was thick that New Year’s Eve as we drove my daughter to the…
Little One: A Reflection on the Little Way of Saint Therese of Lisieux
My office recently decorated our new working space with a selection of inspirational quotes from individuals who inspire our work in educating children to make healthy choices. I chose to use a quote by the lovely St. Therese of Lisieux, taken from her autobiography, Story of A Soul. “My vocation is love!” she exclaimed enthusiastically during one of her reflections of God’s will for her life. October 1st is the Feast day of Saint Therese, a time when many pray to the little flower saint for a rose from the heavenly garden, perfumed with her profound spirituality and wisdom.
Therese has inspired my work with children because she herself discovered the key to the knowledge of God’s kingdom by becoming a spiritual little child. But what is the knowledge of the Kingdom of God and how do we obtain it? Therese discovered this answer after she grappled with a personal dream that seemed out of her reach. She desired to become a saint. She loved Jesus with all her heart, but she considered herself too imperfect and her life as a nun to ordinary to do anything as brave and selfless as some of the other saints she had admired.Therese has inspired my work with children because she herself discovered the key to the knowledge of God’s kingdom by becoming a spiritual little child. Click To Tweet
I wanted to find an elevator which would raise me to Jesus, for I am too small to climb the rough stairway of perfection. I searched, then, in the Scriptures for some sign of this elevator, the object of my desires, and I read these words coming from the mouth of Eternal Wisdom: “Whoever is a LITTLE ONE, let him come to me.” And so I succeeded. I felt I had found what I was looking for. But wanting to know, O my God, what You would do to the very little one who answered your call, I continued my search and this is what I discovered: “As one whom a mother caresses, so I will comfort you, you shall be carried at the breasts, and upon the knees they shall caress you.” Ah! Never did words more tender and more melodious come to give joy to my soul. The elevator which must raise me to heaven is Your arms, O Jesus! And for this I had no need to grow up, but rather I had to remain little and become this more and more. (Story of a Soul, Autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux)
Therese had discovered the key to the knowledge of God’s Kingdom is His unfathomable mercy; His arms which will pick us up as we fall over and over again. To obtain this knowledge however, we must humble ourselves to His mercy, simply accepting His generous love for us despite our imperfection. We must become like children who innocently trust in their parents to provide the way for them.
I fell in love with The Little Way of Saint Therese because of the freedom and rest it provides. How generous is the Lord to delight in our trustful surrender to Him? Like children, He wants us to dream and experience the joyful playfulness of the endless gifts He gives us in our lives. When we are tired and weary, unable to find an answer to our deepest concerns, He asks that we accept his outstretched arms as our place of rest and let him take care of everything.I fell in love with The Little Way of Saint Therese because of the freedom and rest it provides. How generous is the Lord to delight in our trustful surrender to Him? Click To Tweet
When my son was a little boy, I used to watch him run back and forth across the living room, so intently absorbed in the present moment. I would ask him what he was thinking about, and he would say I’m playing “supperheroes”! Little ones often like to play superheroes, imagining that they are conquering the bad guys in the name of virtue and goodness. I like to imagine Therese in this childlike way, dressing up as Saint Joan of Arc (yes, she really did!), confidently proclaiming that she wanted to become a saint and believing she could with the Lord as her superpower! Therese relied on Jesus to make her a saint, not herself. She humbly admitted how helpless she was to climb the stairway to perfection, yet she was not discouraged by her weaknesses, trusting that God’s grace and mercy was sufficient.
The Lord created us and has gone before us, already experiencing every moment of our lives. He is aware of our hardships, sufferings, and weaknesses. Yet, He is our Father, and His Mercy is meant to absorb our suffering and weakness. For my yoke is easy and my burden light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Even in the darkest nights, we are free to hope and rejoice in gratitude, because when we call out for our Father, He is always there with outstretched arms, asking us to accept and trust in His goodness.
Copyright 2018 Kate Huhn
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So beautiful, encouraging, uplifting, and relieving! Thank you, Kate, for sharing the joy of the little way! 🙂 <3+