Monday, September 17, 2007

The Little Way, by John A. Hardon, S.J. Publishe in the issue of the Catholic Faith dedicated to the memory of St Therese of Lisieux on the one hundredth anniversary of her death in September 30th 1997.

Shortly before she died, she wrote, “I have never given the good God anything but love, and it is with love that He will repay. After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses. I will spend my heaven in doing good upon earth. My ‘little way’ is the way of spiritual childhood, the way of trust and absolute self-surrender.” The rise and spread of devotion to the Little Flower has no parallel in modern history. The miracles worked through her intercession drew the eyes of the whole Catholic world upon her. One thing that she teaches us is her definite and conscious intention to become a saint. Undiscouraged by the apparent impossibility of attaining the height of detachment from creatures that other saints had practiced, she said to herself, “The good God would not inspire unattainable desires. I may, then, in spite of my littleness, aspire to holiness. I cannot make myself greater; I must bear with myself just as I am with all my imperfections. But I want to seek a way to heaven, a new way, very short, very straight, a little path. We live in an age of inventions. The trouble of walking upstairs no longer exists; in the houses of the rich, there is an elevator instead. I would like to find an elevator to raise me to Jesus, for I am too little to go up the steep steps of perfection.” St.Thérèse found support for her ambition to become a saint in the words of Isaiah the prophet, who quotes the Lord, “Whoever is a little one, let him come to Me” (Isaiah 66:13). How we need the inspiration of this simplicity to achieve sanctity in our sophisticated age.

to be continued.