Today we remember and celebrate the feast of one of the best loved Catholic saints of the 20th century – Therese of Lisieux, known as “The Little Flower.” In our sophisticated secular 21st century, saints are not as popular, but they still have much to teach us.
Therese was born in Alencon, France, in 1873, and died as a cloistered Carmelite nun in the convent of Lisieux in 1897 at the young age of twenty-four. During her life time she was seen as “ordinary” but devotion to her spread like wild fire after her death. This is attributed to her autobiography which she wrote at the command of her superiors. People all over the world came to recognize, accept and develop their potential for sanctity by adopting what Therese called her “little way.” Her spirituality was driven by a powerful metaphor: In our relationship with God we are very small children. We always will be. There is no need to be anything else. Therese insisted that we accept this fact. Surrender, not achievement, is what our spiritual journey is all about. Surrender to the Will of God. This “little way” is not easy. It is for maturing adult Christians. The challenge is not to seek out extraordinary forms of sanctity but to do the ordinary, daily routine things of life – and do them as best as we can putting all our efforts into the Hands of God, our loving Father. We are all called to holiness especially those of us who are wounded. Therese writes:
I realized that our Lord does not call those who are worthy, but those whom He will. – that is you and me!
St. Therese of Lisieux pray for us and help us develop a right understanding of sanctity.