Teresa of Jesus and Thérèse and the Child Jesus


child_jesus_by_therese.jpegTeresa of Avila and Thérèse of Lisieux with the Child Jesus


St. Teresa of Jesus, always traveled with her statue of the Infant Jesus when she was establishing new convents. Her devotion to the Infant Jesus was established after an very interesting incident. One day Teresa of Avila was coming down the steps of her convent when she saw a beautiful young boy. The Child spoke to her and said: "Who are you?" Teresa answered: "I am Teresa of Jesus, who are you?" The Child answered: "I am Jesus of Teresa!"

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus (to which she later added the title "and the Holy Face") was throughout her life particularly devoted to the Infant Jesus just as her great spiritual mother, Teresa of Avila, had been. Thérèse placed and Infant statue in the novitiate at Lisieux when she had charge of the novices, because she knew how many blessings the Divine Child brought to the Carmelite novices in Prague when it was placed in their midst. The same statue still stands in the cloister at Lisieux.

The spiritual teaching of St. Thérèse of Lisieux is often called the "Way of Spiritual Childhood". Her most simplistic approach to attaining holiness is deceptively simple but it has the power to make each one of us a Saint! The infancy of Jesus was for her a source of inspiration.

In teaching about her "little way" Thérèse writes in her autobiography:

"My mortifications consisted in breaking my will, always so ready to impose itself on others, in holding back a reply, in rendering little services without recognition, in not leaning my back against a support when seated, etc., etc."

In mortifying her own self-will she was offering herself to God through ordinary everyday living. She says:

"It was through the practice of these nothings that I prepared myself to become the financee of Jesus, and I cannot express how much this waiting left me with sweet memories."

She also wrote, "I went to war against myself in the spiritual domain of self-denial and little hidden sacrifices. I found humility and peace in this hidden combat in which selfish nature can get no hold."

With her teaching us the path to sanctity found in the midst of ordinary life Pope Pius X claimed Thérèse the "greatest saint of modern times" and on October 19th, 1997 Pope John Paul II declared Thérèse of Lisieux a Doctor of the Universal Church.