Little way. Therese of Lisieux
1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted (ἐὰν μὴ στραφῆτε), and become as little children (γένησθε ὡς τὰ παιδία), ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
“I will spend my Heaven in doing good upon Earth”
I feel that my mission is soon to begin — my mission to make others love God as I love Him … to each souls my little way …
I WILL SPEND MY HEAVEN IN DOING GOOD UPON EARTH.
Nor is this impossible, since from the very heart of the Beatific Vision, the Angels keep watch over us. No, there can be no rest for me until the end of the world. But when the Angel shall have said: 'Time is no more!' then I shall rest, then I shall be able to rejoice, because the number of the elect will be complete."
And what is this little way that you would teach to souls?
IT IS THE WAY OF SPIRITUAL CHILDHOOD, THE WAY OF TRUST AND ABSOLUTE SELF-SURRENDER.
I want to point out to them the means that I have always found so perfectly successful, to tell them that there is but one thing to do here below: we must offer Jesus the flowers of little sacrifices and win Him by a caress. That is how I have won Him, and that is why I shall be made so welcome.
The way of spiritual childhood, the way of trust and absolute self-surrender.
You know it has ever been my desire to become a Saint, but I have always felt, in comparing myself with the Saints, that I am as far removed from them as the grain of sand, which the passer-by tramples underfoot, is remote from the mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds.
Instead of being discouraged, I concluded that God would not inspire desires which could not be realised, and that I may aspire to sanctity in spite of my littleness. For me to become great is impossible. I must bear with myself and my many imperfections; but I will seek out a means of getting to Heaven by a little way—very short and very straight, a little way that is wholly new. We live in an age of inventions; nowadays the rich need not trouble to climb the stairs, they have lifts instead. Well, I mean to try and find a lift by which I may be raised unto God, for I am too tiny to climb the steep stairway of perfection. I have sought to find in Holy Scripture some suggestion as to what this lift might be which I so much desired, and I read these words uttered by the Eternal Wisdom Itself: "Whosoever is a little one, let him come to Me." (Prov. 9:4.) Then I drew near to God, feeling sure that I had discovered what I sought; but wishing to know further what He would do to the little one, I continued my search and this is what I found: "You shall be carried at the breasts and upon the knees; as one whom the mother caresseth, so will I comfort you." (Isa.66:12,13.)
Never have I been consoled by words more tender and sweet. Thine Arms, then, O Jesus, are the lift which must raise me up even unto Heaven. To get there I need not grow; on the contrary, I must remain little, I must become still less. O my God, thou hast gone beyond my expectation, and I… "I will sing Thy mercies! Thou hast taught me, O Lord, from my youth and till now I have declared Thy wonderful works, and thus unto old age and grey hairs." (Cf. Ps.70:17,18.) What will
What is "the little way of childhood"
This doctrine is derived from a re-discovery of the central teaching of the Gospel which may be expressed in this sentence: We are, in Christ, God's children and we ought to love our Father in heaven with a filial love full of confidence and abandonment.
Christ taught us that God is our Father. Saint Theresa adheres to this teaching with all her strength and gives to it its whole meaning.
She had a deep understanding of the truth that such a teaching has two complementary aspects: a keen realization of God's fatherhood toward us; and the need of developing in us a filial attitude of absolute confidence toward God our Father.
If the confidence of Saint Theresa in the goodness of her Father in heaven is absolute, this is because God is a father and this father is God. She comes to this basic affirmation: "We can never have enough confidence in God who is so good, so powerful, so merciful".
From this we can understand how on her lips the words "Papa the good God" are not childish. On the contrary they testify to the simplicity of her intimate relations with Him and to a confidence so absolute that she can dare to say: "I know what it means to count on His mercy".
One might be tempted to believe that such confidence was based on the assurance that had been given her that she "had never committed any mortal sins". But she hastens to correct this idea: "Make it clear, Mother, that if I had committed all possible crimes, I would still have the same confidence. I would feel that this multitude of offenses would be like a drop of water cast into a blazing fire" "How could there be any limits to my confidence?"
Saint Theresa had very great desires, yet she would never admit that she was a great soul or that she had the strength necessary to do great things, like the saints who had been proposed to her as models. So she had to find a way in keeping with this littleness of which she was so deeply conscious.
More than this: she sought a way that depended on this very weakness. Had not the Apostle said: "When I am weak then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12: 10). So that in searching the Gospels she found the words of the Master: "Let the little children be, and do not hinder them from coming to me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 19: 14).
Such a statement corresponded too well to her knowledge, both of her weakness and also of God's fatherly heart, for it not to have been a true light. It served, too, as a link between her spirit of childhood and her confidence in the divine fatherhood.
"I leave to great souls and lofty minds the beautiful books I cannot understand, much less put into practice and I rejoice that I am little because children alone and those who resemble them will be admitted to the heavenly banquet. I am glad that there are many mansions in the Kingdom of God, because if there were only those whose description and whose road seem to me incomprehensible, I could never enter there."
This, therefore, was her way. God Himself had pointed it out and declared its efficacy. On it Theresa was to advance unfalteringly and to draw all the necessary conclusions with courage.
No one will deny that weakness is the characteristic of little children. But this weakness is the surest of guarantees to those who care for them and love them. Teresa remembered a text of Isaias that she copied in a little notebook she used:
"You shall be carried at the breasts, And upon the knees they shall caress you. As one whom the mother caresseth, So will I comfort you" (Is. 66: 12).
 "Novissima Verba," p. 60.
 Letter of September 14, 1896.
 Letter of May 15, 1897 to Father Roulland.
Fr. Paul Marie de la Croix OCD