Therese de Lisieux (2 January 1873 – 30 September 1897) is one of the greatest Saints from the 19th century. She received a very early call from God to be a Carmelite nun, which she was from her 15th till her 24th year, when she died a tuberculosis-death.
She was also called by the modest name of The Little Flower of Jesus, emblematic of her humility, her purity and her simplicity.
“Our Lord has deigned to make me understand that by simple obedience I shall please Him best”
I am very intrigued by her short but Jesus-seeking and –loving life of simple spirituality and servanthood.
Therese felt all along that she was destined to become a Saint and this is what she said about it:
“Instead of being discouraged, I concluded that God would not inspire desires which could not be realised, and that I may aspire to sanctity in spite of my littleness. For me to become great is impossible. I must bear with myself and my many imperfections; but I will seek out a means of getting to Heaven by a little way – very short and very straight, a little way that is wholly new.”
The depth and novelty of her spirituality, called the theology of the little way has inspired many believers around the world.
In Wikipedia we read about the Little Way:
Thérèse is known for her “way of confidence and love”, commonly known as “The Little Way”. In her quest for sanctity, she believed that it was not necessary to accomplish heroic acts, or “great deeds”, in order to attain holiness and to express her love of God. She wrote,
“Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.”
So the little way for Therese didn’t consist of being martyred for Christ’s sake, but instead of dying to her flesh, making sacrifices daily, leading a holy everyday life to please her beloved Lord of Lords: Jesus Christ of Nazareth and to love others as herself.
“Now I have no desire left, unless it be to love Jesus even unto folly! It is Love alone that draws me.”
She performed hidden acts of kindness for her Sisters, for which only Jesus could praise her.
She led a very simple life among her Sisters, she prayed, she worked; she struggled everyday struggles of dry spells in her spirituality, doubt, fear, irritation with her Sisters. But she always came back to Jesus to walk with Him.
At last I want to mention the Little Way approach to prayer. This is what she said about it:
“For me, prayer is a movement of the heart; it is a simple glance toward Heaven; it is a cry of gratitude and love in times of trial as well as in times of joy; finally, it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus. . . . I have not the courage to look through books for beautiful prayers…. I do like a child who does not know how to read; I say very simply to God what I want to say, and He always understands me.”
In this blog I want to encourage you as well as myself to look for that little way to lead a holier life.
I am inspired by Therese to live a holier life, by:
- praying from my heart directly to Jesus
- performing simple acts of kindness to people
- living a more sober and simple life with less posessions and desire for materialistic things
- letting go daily of pride and striving to be humble
- being pure and be myself
- not gossiping
The pursuit of a holy life is such an adventure and I want to take you along.
You can buy The Story of A Soul by St. Therese de Lisieux on Amazon or Bol.com (for Dutch readers)