A recent article about Pope Francis and St. Therese of Lisieux has been on my mind since I read it a few days ago. Though I’m not Catholic, I’m fascinated by the Saints and, thanks to my employer, I have a lot of love for many aspects of the church.
Until now, I’d never heard of St. Therese. But she resonates with me. A lot.
“A Carmelite nun, St. Therese entered her convent at the age of 15 and dedicated herself to living a simple life of holiness, doing all things with love and childlike trust in God.
Although Therese struggled with life in the convent, she committed herself to making the effort to be charitable to everyone, especially those she didn’t like.
The saint performed small acts of charity throughout each day, and made little sacrifices regardless of how unimportant they seemed.”
St. Therese was known for her “little ways” of loving God and her neighbor. I think that’s one of the reasons this article grabbed my attention and hasn’t let go: little things are hugely important to me. Holding doors…smiling…saying hello…letting someone in line in front of you…saying thank you…spotting someone some extra change when he or she comes up short in the grocery line…none of these things are required. But how much better is the quality of life when you make kindness and courtesies such as these a priority?
But what I found fascinating was that St. Therese took it to the level of making an extra effort to extend goodness to people she didn’t like. Yikes, there’s a thought. I sure as heck don’t do that. Never even occurred to me. My circle of kindness encompasses friends, family, coworkers and strangers. Avoidance is my go-to strategy when I don’t care for someone. I wonder what would happen if I made an effort to be nice anyway — knowing that gesture would likely not be reciprocated or appreciated? I suppose it’s worth a try. Even if it is a scary thought. It’s a lot easier to cast kindness when you know you’ll be reeling it back.