"The elevator which must raise me to heaven is Your arms, O Jesus! and for this I had no need to grow up, but rather I had to remain little and become this more and more."
I love St. Therese of Lisieux. When I was first introduced to the idea of the communion of saints, I was slightly puzzled by the idea that each and every person in heaven loves each and every person here on earth; that the saints actually want to speak with and pray for us. But St. Therese made this tangible for me. She has taken me by the hand in some of my darkest moments and led me straight to Jesus. She even sent me roses during a novena! I have never seen her with my eyes, but she is a dear friend. And I can only imagine how much she must love to have the opportunity to pray for every little one who will ask for her intercession on this, her feast day.
Everything in our society tells us that we'd ought to be self-sufficient, strong, and independent. This tendency is a special source of turmoil for women, in particular, I think because the feminist movement has told us all over and over again, "Don't be weak. Do it for yourself. Don't depend on anyone." But here, in the midst of that struggle, is St. Therese, small and dependent. "I am astonished at nothing. I am not disturbed at seeing myself as weakness itself. On the contrary, it is in my weakness that I glory, and I expect each day to discover new imperfections in myself." She is not ashamed in her weakness. On the contrary, it is precisely this weakness which is her strength. She spent her whole life hidden within a convent; she had no worldly power; but she had something better--the love of God--true strength. It's funny how, after years of believing the lie that I'd ought to be strong and independent, I now smile to myself each time I fall with the confidence that Jesus will pick me back up again. He always does. St. Therese has much to teach us, if we'll let her.
I'm going to do a series of posts on this issue--self-sufficiency vs. dependence--because, like any fundamental conflict, I've found that it pervades every aspect of our lives. May St. Therese, the beautiful Little Flower, protect them with her powerful prayers.