St. Therese of Lisieux, (January 2, 1873- September 30, 1897) lived to be 24 years. Unlike St. Therese of Lisieux, most of us don’t devote our life to God at three nor did we make a pilgrimage to Rome at fifteen so we could become a member of a religious community.
When it comes to teaching the theology of a little child, St. Therese is the best.
Therese wrote her life’s mission statement as follows: “For some time now, I had been offering myself to the Child Jesus as His little plaything, telling Him not to treat me as the sort of expensive toy that children only look at, without daring to touch. I wanted Him to treat me like a little ball, so valueless that it can be thrown on the ground, kicked about, pierced and left lying in a corner, or pressed close to His heart if He wants. In other words, I wished only to amuse.” (cf “The Story of a Soul, The autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux”}
- “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” (Mark 10:10-13)
- “Man’s days are like those of grass; like a flower of the field he blooms; The wind sweeps over him and he is gone, and his place knows him no more.” (Psalm 13-14)
- “Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.” (Matthew 11:25)
St. Therese sums up the theology of God’s body in a way only she could write and live:
“So it is in the world of souls, the living garden of the Lord. It pleases Him to create great Saints, who may be compared with the lilies or the rose; but He has also created little ones, who must be content to be daisies or violets, nestling at His feet to delight His eyes when He should choose to look at them The happier they are to be as He wills, the more perfect they are.
“I saw something further: that Our Lord’s love shines out just as much through a little soul who yields completely to His Grace as it does through the greatest. True love is shown in self-abasement, and if everyone were like the saintly doctors who adorn the Church, it would seem that God had not far enough to stoop when He came to them. But He has, in fact, created the child, who knows nothing and can only make feeble cries, and the poor savage, with only the Natural Law to guide him; and it is to hearts such as these that He stoops.
“What delights Him is the simplicity of these flowers of the field, and by stooping so low to them’ He shows how infinitely great He is. just as the sun shines equally on the cedar and the little flower, so the Divine Sun shines equally on everyone, great and small. Everything is ordered for their good, just as in nature the seasons are so ordered that the smallest daisy comes to bloom at its appointed time. (cf. The Story of a Soul)