St. Thérèse of Lisieux is a French Carmelite Nun who is best known for her “little way,” which is a pathway to holiness that does not focus on grand acts of heroism, but simple and ordinary gestures of love.
St. Theresa went on to write extensively about it in her autobiography which is a Story of a Soul, where she also reveals the “secret” to joy, happiness and peace that is so elusive to many of us.
Her life held much suffering, such as the loss of her mother at a tender age and an arduous battle with tuberculosis. Still, Thérèse found a “hidden way” that gave her an enduring peace, which was capable of preserving her soul from utter despair.
She further said, “if weak and imperfect souls like mine felt what I feel, no one would despair of reaching the summit of the Mountain of Love, as Jesus does not ask for great deeds, but only for gratitude and self-surrender. ”
Thérèse however, goes on to explain how even if she were conscious of all the sins of the world, it would still not take away peace from her soul.
She says “I feel that even if I had on my conscience every crime one could commit, I should lose nothing of my confidence: my heart broken with sorrow, I would throw myself into the Arms of my Savior. I know that He loves the Prodigal Son, I have heard His words to St. Mary Magdalene, to the woman taken in adultery, and to the woman of Samaria. No one could frighten me, for I know what to believe concerning His Mercy and His Love. And I know that all that multitude of sins would disappear in an instant, even as a drop of water cast into a flaming furnace”.
Thérèse believed firmly that this self-surrender to God, was in match with an equal gratitude for his great gifts, it was a pathway to a true and lasting peace that does not end, “Amidst the disciples of the world, He meets with nothing but indifference and ingratitude, and then, among His own, how few hearts surrender themselves without reserve to the infinite tenderness of His Love. Happy are we who are privileged to understand the inmost secrets of Our Divine Spouse.”
Dear brethren, next time you feel tempted to despair, especially when you think that you are incapable of many great deeds, just remember these words of St. Thérèse.
Then surrender yourself to God completely and thank him for his many gifts to you.
Try those two things and you will be on the pathway to a peace and joy that will never cease.