Jesus was willing to show me the way to whirlpool of fire called love and that is resting in the arms of the heavenly Father without fear like surrendering ourselves to the Lord (St Therese of Child Jesus).
St Therese of Child Jesus who is popularly known as St. Little Flower paved a new path in the Sainthood through her unique spirituality of Spiritual Childhood. This Spiritual Childhood is what sets her apart from other saints. Who are the saints? They are the ads given by Heaven. The ads we see in the media are the ones who expose us to the material products. Many manufacturing companies have brand ambassadors. In the same way the saints are the brand ambassadors of Heaven. They emulate and spread heaven.
Saints differ in their way of life and spirituality. Some like Francis of Assisi practiced severe penance; Damian was involved in social reforms. St Therese of Avila attained the peaks of spirituality. We address all of them as saints and there is a reason for that. Today we have cardiologist to treat heart ailment, dentist to treat the ailments associated with teeth, ophthalmologist for eyes and oncologist for cancer and so on. They are all doctors but what separates them is the specialization. The same way the saints are also specialists in their own sense. The path they chose to attain heaven is what sets them apart. Some chose sufferings, some love and some chose penance etc.
It is during this time that we understand the uniqueness of St. Therese. Many of us cannot receive the Stigmata like Padre Pio nor be like Francis of Assisi roll on a bed of thorns. We often wished to fly like some of the saints when in prayers. While we can’t do all these things we still harbor a strong desire to become saints. For people like these the path chosen by St. Therese’s “Spiritual Childhood” is the easiest to flow. She specialized in Spiritual Childhood.
We must bear in mind that this short cut is not a path leading us wayward. This path is different from the ones we often use to attain our desires and wishes. Let me remind you that we are not talking about these paths. St. Therese knew that it was impossible to do severe penance and paths chosen by other saints. What did she do then? She stood at the bottom of the stairs of heaven and cried like a child. The Lord heard her cries and came down from heaven and cradled her in His arms.
That was actually a conversion. She knew she was a child on the path to Sainthood and was weak, hence realized that the only thing that could save her was to entrust her life completely to God. Spiritual Childhood in short can be described as depending on God for every little thing in life. Here God is my dad and I am his child. I can ask him anything; I can climb on his shoulders and thus become a child of God and attain sainthood. And this is the short cut that St. Therese chose.
Let me explain this Spiritual Childhood citing an example. How much ever we water a plant it won’t grow beyond a point and will not flower as well. How much ever I try to attain sainthood by sacrifices, sufferings and penance we can’t be saint because there is a limit to what we can achieve by our own effort. But there is no limit for God, so if I surrender my life completely to God my growth will be limitless. All those who have ears let them hear.
Bro. Joyal Panachippuram CST