What is Meant by Her "Little Way"?

Thérèse saw herself as a child of God. She liked to keep things simple and focused as a child does. Trust, especially trust in God, is a childlike virtue. Some spiritualities have stressed complicated practices and extraordinary journeys of the soul as it responds to God's grace and love. Thérèse's spirituality is simple and she calls it her "little way". She believed and teaches us that life presents enough challenges and opportunities for grace. She teaches us that God is everywhere - in every situation and person - and in the ordinary, simple details of life.

"Everything is grace" is probably the theme song of her spirituality. Her "Little Way" teaches us to do the ordinary things of life with extraordinary love. A smile, a note of encouragement, a phone call, suffering in silence, always having a positive word, a simple unnoticed task to brighten the life of another, and so many other simple deeds, done with love - these are the examples of her spirituality. The smallest action, done with love, is more important than great deeds done for personal glory, gratification or simply out of obedience. Thérèse teaches us that Jesus is everywhere and is the power for love and goodness operating within us. Such is the power and presence of grace. Thérèse's life was hidden. To many, even in the convent, she seemed like such an average, ordinary person. Her greatness showed in the constancy of her love for others in the most simple ways.

Even in prayer, Thérèse teaches simplicity; talking to God and Jesus in direct, personal and heartfelt ways. She did not like long prayers. She fell asleep during community prayer. She disliked the rosary. She prayed from her heart as a child speaks honestly and trustingly to a parent they love. God calls us to respond to Divine Love in a childlike relationship of love, trust and bold confidence to "Abba" (which literally means "Dad'), and by doing the simple things for others, well and with love.

Thérèse was faithful to the Gospel of Jesus and the core of his message. She invites us to join in her "spiritual childhood" or "little way". The power, appeal and simplicity of her message is why the Church declared her a Doctor of the Church in 1997.

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