"I am resigned to being always imperfect, and I even find happiness in it.
I keep an eye on myself to see if I can discover any new imperfections."
- Therese to Mother Agnes of Jesus
Patroness of the no
She kind of is, you know. Little Therese really, honestly, truly thought she was the worst of sinners - despite the fact that Jesus preserved her from mortal sin. Was she just pretending to be humble and account herself as nothing? Not a few really, really devout Catholics believe that - not just about Therese but other saints as well. We can think we know so much from studying mystical writers and theologians, but it seems to me rather pretentious to claim to know their conscience, their intimate being before the Divine Light.
Little Therese was fond of saying that she wished to be found at the 'table of sinners'... astonishingly expressing that sentiment in the depths of the dark night, her trial of temptations against the faith before she died. In that abject state, she experienced the faithlessness of the atheist, the bitter taste of rancor and envy of the unbeliever, even the hollow, vacuous, hopelessness of those who hate the faith. Like her Master, "who had not known sin, yet became sin," thus she, who was innocent (as she had been once assured she had never committed a mortal sin), became sin, as it were. Not in the exact same sense of Christ of course, but she shared, or imitated His redemptive suffering in and through that experience... seated with Christ crucified, at the table of sinners. True to her word, there was no attitude of condescension whatsoever - she found herself annihilated and in need of mercy. That is the secret of St. Therese.
“Do not be afraid of holiness, of letting yourself be loved and purified by God. … Let us allow God's holiness be transmitted to us. Every Christian is called to holiness; and holiness does not consist, first and foremost, in doing extraordinary things, but rather in letting God act. It is the encounter between our weakness and the strength of His grace”. - Pope Francis
H/T to Angela. Happy birthday Little Therese!