5MM: The Little Flower is no wilting violet

I used to think that St. Therese’s “little way” was an easy ticket to heaven. I would hear her quotes about doing little things with great love and think it meant I didn’t really have to try to be holy. All I really need to do is love and that’s it! Great!

Then I read her book. And I got married. And two of my kids died.

I began to realize that the big sufferings in my life were actually easier to handle with love. How can you not love a baby in the PICU? The sheer magnitude of the situation brought us to our knees and required great dependence on God.

What is much harder, I have found, is doing some of those little things. Remembering to put pickles on my husband’s sandwich because that’s how he likes it. Calling back the high-maintenance parent at work right away. Wiping off the counter and stovetop for the umpteenth time this week. These things are the stuff of life, and they matter.

Not all of us will be called to do exotic or amazing things. But we all have an abundance of daily things that we hate to do. Doing these things generously out of love for Jesus and our families is, I believe, what Therese is getting at. When you read this little nun’s diary, you can see what she conquered on this plain. She is one tough cookie!

So let’s not just “practice random acts of kindness”, but premeditated acts of great love. And St. Therese, 33rd Doctor of the Church, pray for us!!

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