Yesterday the Catholic Church celebrated the feast of St. Thérèse, a lovable little saint whose example of humility and abandonment is a reminder of the strength that can be found when we embrace the limits of our human nature and place all our hope and trust in God who is “more tender than a Mother.”
Humility is nothing more than recognizing the truth of who we are as human beings. Namely, that we are children of a good and gracious God. And children is precisely what God has called us to be like:
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. -Mt. 18:2-3
This was the basis for Little Flower’s “little way.” Little children are so small and weak that they depend on their parents for absolutely everything. To become child-like, then, is not to be childish, but to accept weakness and vulnerability in order to be strengthened by the power of Christ:
“My grace is sufficient for you for power is made perfect in weakness. I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me, for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinth 12:9
Thérèse lived this out in every aspect of her life, but it was especially evident in her approach to suffering. What Thérèse understood, perhaps more than any other soul in modern history, is the infinite love that God has for each one of us, regardless of his or her physical capabilities or situation in life, and that this love alone is what gives value and meaning to every human life.