I've spent a lot of time dwelling on St. Therese lately because I have realized how much she has to teach me. Since becoming a mother my desire for holiness had multiplied time and time again and yet my prayer life has been almost completely shot. I am unable to take both kids to daily mass because of Kyle's schedule and the fact that, I humbly admit, I am completely unable to go to mass with both of them on my own. Most days I barely find time to eat or shower. This is why I turn to Saint Therese.
Saint Therese offered up each moment of her life as an offering to God. She looked at every second of every day as an opportunity to grow in holiness and when those moments slipped by, she was heartbroken. Even the simplest of acts was turned into a prayer. While we live very different lives, her as a cloistered Carmelite and myself as a stay-at-home mother, I feel as though this is the exact type of prayer life that would suit my vocation and allow me the chance to grow in holiness.
First of all, I tend to avoid small tasks that are displeasing to me. For instance, today I was at my sister's tennis game and had just sat down with Juliette on my lap to watch the match when my other sister came up to me asking me to go with her to the bathroom. I wanted to say no so badly. I was tired and my legs were sore from the walk I had taken earlier but I remembered Saint Therese saying, "But why be foolish enough to refuse treasures offered so generously?" Those treasures she spoke of were the small opportunities for holiness that people usually pass by or don't even notice. With that in mind I decided to go to the bathroom with her.
Another thing I can learn from Saint Therese is her desire to be small and hidden in Christ. So often I want people to notice me, especially the good things about me. It's even better if they praise me for those things. First of all, I shouldn't desire the praise of anyone besides the Lord and also my husband and kids who are Christ to me on this earth. Any good thing in me, if I look beautiful or tell a good joke or make an intelligent remark, it is all because of the Lord. Instead of wanting people to see me when those things happen I should want them to see through me to Christ in me who is making them happen. The whole of my existence is to love and serve the Lord and in serving the Lord I should be pointing people to Him and not to myself. If someone can look at me and see Christ than I am doing my job. If they see Sarah than I am failing.
The last thing I have been really meditating on about Saint Therese's Little Way is her joy in suffering. While I have no great crosses I have a lot of little ones. It can be tempting to use them to get attention or to just look at them as a burden rather than a blessing. Saint Therese knew that without a cross there was no resurrection and so she embraced and loved her cross until should could "no longer suffer because all suffering is sweet." I have been blessed with so many things, so much more than most people, and it blows my mind every time I think about just how much I have. This just means I really need to embrace my small crosses even more so I can be assured of a resurrection one day for myself.
Reading the writings of Saint Therese reminds me of just how far I have to go but I feel comforted because she gives me little ways to grow closer to Christ that can fit in with my own vocation as a mother. I can offer up my life as a prayer, I can let Christ shine through me instead of desiring to shine on my own, and I can embrace my small crosses. It is a lot more difficult than it sounds but luckily I have and amazing husband to call me on.