Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why St. Therese?

She called her Little Way the way of spiritual childhood. Why is this significant for vocation and spiritual growth? There’s a story, I heard, about a man who went to a monk’s monastery to consult about spiritual things. The monk invited him to a cup of coffee and as he poured coffee to the brim it almost spilled over. The visitor reacted. And he was told: “That’s your first lesson. Unless you humbly listen and open yourself, you will not be able to learn new things.”

That’s somehow the gist of St. Therese’s Little Way. We can precisely avoid many mistakes in life and vocation if we try to follow such way of spiritual childhood. And why? Yes, why is it important for life and vocation? So you can learn the path to life. For how can a proud heart learn, thinking it already knows everything? When you lose that childlike awe and inquisitive wonderment, you tend to stagnate in ignorance or false delight. Mind you, Jesus kept on that advice – “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened for you…everyone who seeks always finds” (Mt. 7:7).

God’s infallible word in Scriptures makes it clear in various places. “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. I tell you solemnly, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Mk. 10:15; see also Mt. 18:1-4, Mt. 19:13-15; Lk. 18:15-17). That’s how we learn; with the simplicity and openness of a child. St. Therese has become the most popular saint of modern times: she has shown innumerable people that sainthood is attainable by anybody, however obscure, lowly, untalented, ‘ordinary’, by the doing of small things and the discharge of daily duties in a perfected spirit of love for God.

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