I read people's posts on Facebook, the comments on news sites, and I'm always struck by the way people communicate how overwhelmed they feel by the darkness that's in our society. People, especially people of my generation, tend to feel that, "I'm just one person, what difference can I make?" That's why today I'm going to focus on a Saint that answers that question for everyone. Her name is St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She's the champion of the little guys in life, the people who feel like what they do just isn't making a difference because it's not big enough or grand enough.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux became a saint, not because she did great things in her life, but because she focused on doing the little things in life with great love. She became a Doctor of the Church because her writings taught people that doing the ordinary out of love for God and for our fellow man was itself a path to true holiness. We don't have to be giants in history, or heroes in the eyes of men, to turn the tides of darkness back. We just have to love God with our whole heart, mind, and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves. That is enough to do it.
I used to be a person who wanted to do great things for God, and so I thought I needed to focus my energies on becoming famous, rich, and powerful so that people would see my example and follow me. As I got to know St. Thérèse better and to understand her Little Way, though, I received great clarity in this matter. If I change the life of one person for the better, I have changed the whole world for the better. I have altered the course of human history for the better, even though no one else may ever know it was me who did it. Now, I know that I don't need to be rich, powerful, or famous to make a difference. In fact, those things can be an impediment to my mission. What I need is to be willing to love courageously all those who enter my path, but especially those who seem least worthy of the love.
I am content to be where I am, as I am, because I know that where I am is where God wants me to be and where He can use me best. He has called me to be a teacher to others of how much God loves them, and to be the best teacher I can be, I must be the best student I can be. In my poverty, I have learned to trust God's providence better. In being humbled, I have learned that my power and strength are in my God, not in my circumstances.
The feast day of St. Thérèse is October 1st. She was only 24 when she died of tuberculosis. The video above is of her incorruptible body, which can be viewed publicly in France. She looks like she is just sleeping, doesn't she?