The Little Way

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“Remember that nothing is small in the eyes of God.  Do all that you do with love!”  

This is one of my favorite quotes of one of my most favorite saints…St. Thérèse of Lisieux.  I would be amiss if I did not take some time to reflect on this beautiful saint during the week in which we celebrate her feast day, on October 1.   

I was someone who came late to the game in building relationships with the saints.  I was in my early twenties before I even came close to understanding what a relationship with a saint even looked like.  Though I went to Catholic grade school and high school we talked more about our relationship with God and did not spend much time talking about the saints who intercede on our behalf.  I knew that Catholic church canonized saints, I knew how they were canonized, but I did not know how to have a personal relationship with a saint. 

Since I discovered what a relationship with saints can do for my own faith, I have spent a lot of time studying different saints and reading their works to help me grow in my own faith.  I was 28 when I discovered St. Thérèse.  It was October 1, 2006, the day my very first child entered the world.  It was a very rough pregnancy with an emergency delivery, followed by several platelet transfusions and a few moments of doubt if I was going to survive.  At the end of an exceptionally long day, I decided to see what saint could intercede for me and my health.  I found out it was the feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux and I asked her to give me strength enough to make it through the night.  I remember praying that she would stay by my side to protect me in hopes that I would make it to the next morning so that I could watch my beautiful baby girl grow up.  I felt her there with me that night, and I feel as though she has never left my side. 

I did not know a lot about dear Thérèse on October 1, 2006, but since then I have done much research and have devoured most of the books ever written about her or by her.  If you do not know St. Therese well at this point in your life I beg you to get the book, “The Way of Trust and Love, A Guided Retreat by St. Thérèse of Lisieux” by Fr. Jacque Philippe.  I have read that book at least 20 times, always learning more and more each time I pick it up.  I think my copy of that book must have more outlines, underlines, and highlights than any other book I own.  The book truly gives a glimpse into the heart of our dear sister in Christ, St. Thérèse. 

St. Thérèse’s claim to fame is her example and teaching of the “little way”!  The Little way is about being both small and doing the smallest actions with great love.  True humility at it’s best . Thérèse teaches us that we should bring God into our smallest and most mundane tasks.  One of the examples that she often wrote about was how much care she put into folding napkins at the dinner table.  She states that she completed the task with so much love and attention that it was as if Jesus himself were coming to dine with her! 

In my morning prayers I often ask St. Thérèse to be with me.  I often feel that the tasks of my day as mom and wife are pretty mundane.  I balance schedules, I cook meals, I teach some classes, I do laundry, I laugh, I cry…you know, normal daily activities, but I ask Thérèse to help me do all of these things with as much love as possible.  She is the expert in humility and I long to be like her…in all ways. 

As my oldest child has grown, she is currently preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation.  She has chosen (all on her own, mind you, as she doesn’t even know my whole story with Thérèse) St. Thérèse to be her saint.  She had to write a report on St. Thérèse and she shared it with me to proof read.  As I read it, I cried.  I cried tears of joy.  Among all of the facts of St. Thérèse  life she writes:  “There are many ways in which I can imitate St. Thérèse  in my relationship with God.  Some ways are, I can offer up my suffering to God,  I can receive every obstacle given to me with great joy, and I will never give up on things relating to my vocation and my faith!”  My heart melted.  My daughter has a personal relationship with a saint at the age of 13…she is so far ahead of her mother…thank you Jesus. 

Right now, in our world we are probably doing a lot of mundane things.  Our lives have slowed down, and we may not be traveling and running near as much.  Is it time for you to learn about a new saint?  Is it time for you to develop a relationship with someone who can change your life in ways you never imagined possible?  St. Thérèse was that saint for me.  I am a better person because I know her, and she knows me.  Thankfully, St. Thérèse has taught me so much, especially this, “Jesus does not ask for great achievements, only surrender and gratitude!”  St. Therese…Pray for Us!

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