Many people today still pray to St. Therese of Lisieux, more than a century after her death. Very early in her youth, St. Therese consecrated herself to Jesus Christ: she harbored a powerful and profound love for Him, and dedicated her young life to getting as close to Him as possible. In doing so, St. Therese opened the way to a new form of spirituality. She was convinced that her mission was to: “making others love God as I love him, [...] teaching [her] little way to souls.”
But what exactly is the “Little Way” of St. Therese of Lisieux?
Oh St. Therese of the Child Jesus,
you discovered the little way to Heaven, by placing yourself in the arms of Jesus: lead me to it.
You knew so well how to abandon yourself fully to the Father: show me the way.
You knew how to make yourself small to give all the room to Jesus: show me the way.
Open your Little way to me, who stumbles on the path to humility too often.
Open your Little way to me, who cannot completely open my heart.
Open your Little way to me, who can often think too highly of myself.
Oh dear little Therese, to whom The Virgin Mary smiled at the height of your distress, look upon me and intercede on my behalf to the Father.
Oh dear little Therese, you experienced a dark night of the soul, yet never ceased to profess your love for Christ, intercede on my behalf to the Father.
Dear St. Therese of Lisieux, with your powerful intercession may God teach me to love, as He taught you during your pilgrimage on the Little Way.
With your powerful intercession, may God strengthen my faith and hold me firmly in His love: allow me to always act with love, for the love of God.
Dear little Therese, may God turn favorably His eyes to me, through your powerful intercession.
St. Therese started developing her own spirituality while serving as an assistant to the novice mistress of the Carmelites. Her “Little Way” is what granted her the status of Doctor of the Church: it is the spirituality she developed to answer her call to holiness.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face found that the path to holiness was long and difficult, and wanted to find a short, direct “Little Way” to Heaven. She found her answer in the Holy Scriptures: “Let all who are simple come to my house!” (Proverbs 9: 4). Everything became clear! She understood that she must make herself small, like a child, and let the Father bring her on His lap: “The elevator which must raise me to heaven is your arms, O Jesus!”.
Walking the Little Way means living in total humility, and she makes her heart entirely available to the Lord Him. She offered herself to God as a child, filled with love in the arms of her Father. She made an effort to find love in every action and every thing: “do small things with great love.” This childlike approach to spirituality was a source of aspiration for many of the other novices of the Carmel, and it is still an inspiration today.
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Pray to St. Therese of Lisieux on Hozana: say a novena to St. Therese, learn to live in love for Jesus Christ by praying for nine successive days. Reflect on the spirituality of St. Therese by joining a community to discover daily quotes from the Little Flower.