December 18, 2016

Why St. Thérèse's 'Little Way' is an Immense Insight

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

When a cause of sainthood is opened to determine whether a person is worthy of the approbation "Saint", an exhaustive examination of their lives ensues. Should they be found to have led a life of "heroic virtue" (along with the prerequisite miracle attributed to their intercession) they are thereafter beatified and called "Blessed" (the penultimate step toward canonization).

To many, the notion of living a life of heroic virtue seems a daunting if not impossible task. Indeed, we are all called to be saints, or as the Baltimore Catechism succinctly states:

Q: Who made you?

A: God

Q: Why did He make you?

A: God made me to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him in this life, so as to live with Him forever in the next.

Fortunately, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the 19th century French cloistered Carmelite nun shows us that sainthood is possible for everyone. Six years after entering the cloister, determined to become a saint, Thérèse saw the limitations of her efforts. She remained diminutive, far from the selfless love she aspired to. It was on this very littleness that Thérèse learned to ask for God's help. This spiritual mindset of humility and simplicity is the 'Little Way. St.Thérèse describes it thusly:
The most trivial work, the least action, when inspired by a love, is often of greater merit than the most outstanding achievement. It is not their face value that God judges our deeds, even when they bear the stamp of apparent holiness, but solely on the measure of love we put into them.
St. Thérèse encourages us to live each moment of our lives in service to God and others. This will require great devotion and tremendous fortitude over a long period of time for us to develop the habit. Far too often, we get busy, distracted and overwhelmed. O God, who opens your Kingdom to those who are humble and to little ones, lead us to follow trustingly in the little way of Saint Thérèse, so that through her intercession we may see your eternal glory revealed. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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