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Thursday, 19 November 2020 07:00

Growing Like the Little Flower

 2020.51.The Little Flower imageIn my own ordinary little way, I want to share how much I appreciate, love and continue to be inspired by the extraordinary example of St Therese of Lisieux, also known as the Little Flower. She is the saint for all missionaries and one of my mini personal missions in life is to spread God’s love through her. There is so much in her spirituality that I have been drawing from in my faith journey. Here are some of the highlights.

 Graces from Staircases

I continue to learn from Therese that “everything is grace”. She recognised a grace given by God as she descended her family stairs one Christmas Eve. She didn’t have her usual “childish outburst” after hearing frustrating words from her father and knew this was something she couldn’t have done on her own.

We have three sets of stairs in our house. The first one is to enter our main door, the second one inside the house and connects to the living areas, and the last one is at the back of the house leading to the garden. I recognise that these staircases connect me from one area to another, and that each step I take is a gift. There are many difficult times when we hesitate to take a step and situations that cause us to stop in our tracks. But the Little Flower’s humility encourages and gives me the grace to move. She prayed for an elevator to Jesus because she recognised her incapacity as a child. Weak and little, Jesus can scoop us up in his arms and can take us upstairs to heaven.

Certainly it is grace when we are raised up by Jesus. Therese teaches me transformation that only God can give in my brokenness. As I take each step to climb and descend the stairs, I feel the Lord fortifies my soul to be simple and to appreciate the journey. Every step is a moment gone, but e2020.51.The Little Flower 2very step takes me to a new time and place where I can receive God’s love for me. Every step in these staircases is a determined, trusting effort towards following his will for me.

Flower Power

Therese described herself as a flower in a garden being planted by our Lord. She says that each of us are flowers. God and I have this thing with sunflowers. Aside from roses and lilies, the sunflower truly brightens my day and reminds me of God’s love for me. I’m learning garden chores and even the smallest task of making my way downstairs to the compost bin have become truly enjoyable. To be a part of Jesus’ garden as a flower is such a beautiful way to describe my soul. It tells me the truth of who I am - that I am a Beloved daughter of God. I am me and I am uniquely different.

The Little Flower teaches me every day that perfection in the eyes of the Father is doing my best to grow in love for him and others, and to have faith that God is changing hearts. All the conversions will be done by him.

Love is OUR Vocation

I was at a community friend’s house recently and was met by her three toddler boys by the door. Children don’t need to do anything to make you love them. They just make you happy instantly don’t they? I think that God the Father sees and loves us in this way. Having the heart of a child, Therese teaches us that whoever is little can come to Jesus (Pr 9:4) When we stay “little”, we depend totally in God our Father to take care of all our needs. This total confidence in the Father is the way of spiritual childhood. Therese emphasises that to remain a child is a discovery of our nothingness and look to the goodness of God in all circumstances.

Ultimately, Therese is teaching me an invaluable way of loving others. She amazingly developed a love for the taste of dirty water instead of telling a sister she was getting all splashed up while doing the laundry! Whatever vocation we find ourselves called to, I pray we all be reminded that God lives in us. When faced with a struggle, I ask myself the hard question, how can I better love? Therese inspires me with the stories of her little hidden kindnesses. But it is not these small acts that are important, it is recognising my need for God to be able to do it.

Angela Uybarreta