A good friend is someone who you enjoy spending time with, the conversation is always great, and the memories are a plenty; but a spiritual BFF (best friend forever) is someone who knows your heart, hears your struggles and victories, and ministers to you as Jesus himself would. A few years ago . . . alright, many years ago . . . one of my favorite undergraduate professors mentioned in passing that Saint Therese is known for stalking those who she wants to be friends with. Odd, I thought, and moved on with my life.
From that moment on, I would see St. Therese quotes everywhere. One time I bought a used book off of Amazon and when I opened it, a St. Therese prayer card fell out. Turns out she does pursue those who she wants to advocate for. Fast forward a few years, and she really took my petitions to Jesus during my rough twin pregnancy, and He listened. Praise the Lord. So, my hope is that today is the beginning – or the continuation – of friendship with this beautifully wise saint who wants to “spend [her] heaven doing good on earth.”
Here are some quick one-liners (or two) from your spiritual BFF to give you that little boost to keep fightin’ on!
Quit the comparison game!
“I understood that every flower created by Him is beautiful, that the brilliance of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not lessen the perfume of the violet or the sweet simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all the lowly flowers wished to be roses, nature would lose its loveliness. And so it is in the world of souls, where each one has its own mission and is different from the others in its qualities and sanctity.” (emphasis added)
St. Therese has a lot to say about gardens, and she’s not wrong. While a field of roses is beautiful and probably smells amazing – it’s pretty much one note. Think of a field of wildflowers; the combination of all the different sweet smells, plus the different colors and shapes and sizes reflect a symphony. One note is beautiful, but the perfect combination of notes elevates the soul to something beyond itself, which leads to her next nugget of wisdom:
If something is worth doing…
“You cannot be half a saint; you must be a whole saint or no saint at all.” (emphasis added)
Did your parents ever tell you not to half-a** a job? Turns out St. Therese was the inspiration behind that phrase.
A little goes a long way
“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”
Just think of how one smile or wave can change someone’s day. It doesn’t have to be a huge act, like paying for coffee; just acknowledging their existence with a smile is enough to let a stranger know they matter.
The greatest of all is…
“Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, or even at their difficulty, as at the love with which we do them.”
This advice is gold. The disposition of our heart matters. I could pick up some trash on the sidewalk with a heart full of pride, hoping that someone recognizes my good deed, or I could pick up the trash with a humble heart and the disposition of being a good steward of the land like God called us to in Genesis. Same deed, same outcome, different interior posture. One is more pleasing to the Lord, and ultimately will cultivate a deeper love of the Lord within me.
“The world is thy ship and not thy home.”
Life happens, right? Tires deflate, some days you run late, the kids find the crayons and decorate your walls. In the moment, these events can seem overwhelming, especially if they all happen in a close period of time, but at the end of the day, the only thing that will count is our reaction to each situation. In closing, St. Therese is calling you closer to Jesus. Without Him, we have nothing.
“Only God can see what is in the bottom of our hearts; we are half-blind.”
“It is your arms, Jesus, which are the elevator to carry me to Heaven.”
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