St Therese of Lisieux: As Secular Carmelites, what can we learn from this beautiful Carmelite saint?

by Alex Arias, O.C.D.S.

We can learn her simplicity in prayer – talking to God in a direct, personal, and heartfelt ways. She prayed from her heart as a child speaks honestly and trustingly to a parent they love.

Her “little way” teaches us to do ordinary things with extraordinary love, like smiling at a stranger, or writing a note of encouragement to someone we know who needs it, calling someone we haven’t spoken to in a while, and so on.

To have greater dependence on God. Our culture is constantly pushing us to rely on ourselves, to be totally self-sufficient. We can learn from St. Therese to offer God our weakness, and to see our weakness as an opportunity to rely on Him completely.

What did St. Therese find extremely important in her spiritual growth and relationship with God, that we as secular Carmelites can learn from? She had great and innocent confidence in the loving promises of God. She lived in union with God’s plan for her life. She loved God so deeply. She was faithful to God unto the moment of her death.  Despite her great suffering during her life, St. Therese still trusted deeply in God.

What can we as secular Carmelites do to follow in her footsteps? We can imitate her “little way” which is simply the idea of seeking holiness in the ordinary and in our everyday lives. Her “little way” teaches us to do ordinary things with extraordinary love. We can bring peace and love to the world through faithful endurance in love for God.

For St. Therese, prayer was a way of walking with God, and it can be like this for us.