On this day we remember St. Therese of Lisieux, the “Little Flower of Jesus.” I used to have a love-hate relationship with her when I was younger because of her claims to be such a “horrible sinner,” which I always felt was such an exaggeration since she is such a great saint. I still don’t quite “get” her meaning of this, but I have learned to greatly admire her wisdom and appreciate so much her “little way,” which I’m sure so many people know.
Therese has many teachings of wisdom, but the one that has spoken to me the most, especially lately, is “If you are willing to bear serenely the trial of being displeasing to yourself, you will be for [Jesus] a pleasant place of shelter.” I have that saying posted next to my desk – as a reminder of my own weaknesses (which I don’t need to be reminded of) and how I can find peace in those same weaknesses by remembering that Jesus still accepts me and loves me.
I think we spend a great deal of time in our lives wasting much of it and worrying about our weaknesses and the things we cannot control. We waste a lot of time rejecting ourselves because we are not perfect or even better than someone else as we imagine we “should be.” I think our lives would be so much better, more peaceful and open to the joy that is around us, if we could just remember that even with our weaknesses and failings, we are still loveable and loved by the One who is Love.
As I like to remind those whom I teach and have in retreats, “If God loves us totally and completely with our weaknesses and failings, who are you to not love and accept yourself? Are you more than God to reject yourself?” It is this lesson that I am reminded of by Therese’s words of wisdom and one I try to live out each day, especially when my weaknesses are so apparent to me. Even then, I am still loveable and loved. And so are you.