The Little Way

As the disciples of Jesus argue about who is the greatest among them, we pause to ask: Are we different from them? Don’t we also desire glory, recognition, and success? Who does not want to be “somebody” whom others admire?

How appropriate that the Church presents to us a model of humility in St. Therese of the Child Jesus, whose feast we celebrate today. She is the “Little Flower” and Doctor of the Church, teaching us her “Little Way,” the doctrine of spiritual childhood. To be like St. Therese is to be little, to seek the last place, to be forgotten. Let us allow her to teach us true humility. She wrote: “The only thing that is not envied is the last place which is not vanity and affliction of spirit. However, `the way of man is not within his power’ and we surprise ourselves at times by desiring what sparkles. So let us line up humbly among the imperfect, let us esteem ourselves as little souls whom God must sustain at each moment. When he sees we are very much convinced of our nothingness, He extends His hand to us. Yes, it suffices to humble oneself, to bear with one’s imperfections. That is real sanctity! Let us take each other by the hand and let us run to the last place – no one will come to dispute with us over it.” She continues: “To be little is not attributing to oneself the virtues one practices, but to recognize that God places this treasure in the hands of His little child to be used when necessary; but it remains always God’s treasure. Finally, it is not to become discouraged over one’s faults, for children fall often, but they are too little to hurt themselves very much.”

Truly, the least is the greatest in the kingdom of God. He who humbles himself will be exalted, for true humility pleases God.