Littleness and Poverty

“This is the theological light we find in St. Therese of the Child Jesus: since it is the little one who receives the most, precisely because it is little and poor, her goal would be to cultivate littleness and poverty. She rejoiced in every experience of impoverishment, which showed her her own littleness.”

“This littleness and poverty which attracted God was of course joined to effort. Therese pictured the way of perfection as an elevator: it is God who lifts us up, not we ourselves. But until the elevator came, Therese stood at the bottom of the stairs and ‘lifted her little foot.’ She could not go up, her foot fell back, but she never stopped calling out to God with the cry, ‘Papa!’ Such was her confidence, linked to her experience of poverty. After a while, she said, God will come down, take us up in his arms, and carry us to the top.”

“A minor incident in her life illustrates this. One of the novices, seeing her great patience, said to herself, ‘This patience of hers gets on my nerves.’ One day the novice provoked Therese for an entire morning, but never succeeded in making her lose patience. In the end she threw herself at Therese’s feet: ‘How did you ever become so patient?’ Therese answered: ‘At first I was like you, but one fine day God picked me up and set me there.’ This was her whole secret: desiring perfection, she simply awaited this gesture of God, and he picked her up and set her there.” (Under the Torrent of His Love – Therese of Lisieux, a Spiritual Genius, p. 27-28)

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