"My Little Way"

Thérèse's spiritual journey was a solitary one. The Holy Spirit indeed mapped out a way of truth for her. "I have never looked for anything but the truth"; showing her the depths of the Holy Trinity's love and a "way" of uniting herself with it which had nothing to do with classroom learning; but rather was rooted in everyday life. It was through divine intervention that her prioress (Mother Marie de Gonzague) asked her to record her life in writing and entrusted novices to her care, in turn revealing a spirituality unparalleled in one so young.

At the age of 22, a long period of searching came to an end. The "Way of Spiritual Infancy", which was to symbolize her contribution, was revealed to her. As a young girl, she energetically sought holiness. "I must become a saint," she wrote in 1888 but was continually frustrated by her own helplessness and weakness. After reading in St. John of the Cross, that "God never inspires a wish that cannot be fulfilled", she found new courage (and this after 7 years of religious life). Conscious of her own weakness, but willingly trusting in God's merciful love, which finds its way even to the humble, she came to love her poverty. Her offering of herself to merciful love begins with these words; "God is asking me to do something, I cannot do it on my own, so He will do it for me" (June 9, 1895). From this moment on Thérèse lived the daring surrender of herself. A totally dependent child has no choice but to surrender itself completely to its father's merciful love.

Again, Thérèse discovered the truth of Jesus' words, "If you do not become as little children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven" (Mt 18:3). The way of "spiritual infancy" is Jesus' own way as a son, the supreme son, living only for his Father. Who is more fully an adult but Jesus or more fully a child? From this point on Thérèse lost her fear of sin, of falling asleep during prayer or any other imperfection; love had burned everything away. In her autobiography, Story of a Soul, Thérèse writes about this "love".

"The practice of charity, as I have said, dear Mother (Mother Agnes, her sister Pauline, the prioress at the time), was not always so sweet for me, and to prove it to you I am going to recount certain little struggles which will certainly make you smile. For a long time at evening meditation, I was placed in front of a sister who had a strange habit and I think many lights because she rarely used a book during mediation. This is what I noticed; as soon as this sister arrived, she began making a strange little noise which resembled the noise one would make when rubbing two shells, one against the other. I was the only one to notice it because I had extremely sensitive hearing (too much so at times). Mother, it would be impossible for me to tell you how much this little noise wearied me. I had a great desire to turn my head and stare at the culprit who was very certainly unaware of her "click". This would be the only way of enlightening her. However, in the bottom of my heart I felt it was much better to suffer this out of love for God and not to cause the sister any pain. I remained calm, therefore, and tried to unite myself to God and to forget the little noise. Everything was useless. I felt the perspiration inundate me, and I was obliged simply to make a prayer of doing it without annoyance and with peace and joy, at least in the interior of my soul. I tried to love the little noise which was so displeasing, instead of trying not to hear it (impossible). I paid close attention so as to hear it well as though it were a delightful concert, and my prayer (which was not the Prayer of Quiet) was spent in offering this concert to Jesus."

…… St. Thérèse of Lisieux

 
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