Sunday, October 20, 2002

The Little Flower, or how I climbed down and caught on

When I entered the Catholic Church in the mid 80's, I found a lot to love, especially what I would call the roominess of it. It's a much bigger place than the Episcopal Church is, in a lot of surprising ways. There were things though that bothered a deep Evangelical strain in me -- certain Marian feasts and doctrines, and certain saints, in particular St Therese. I don't know really what it was, maybe just the name "The Little Flower" that just came off a bit twee. Some of the statuary and artwork didn't help either, and I stalled (as many do) in the childhood section of her autobiography.

To be honest, there have always been certain things, for example the more mindless happy-clappy (what a wonderful British phrase that is) worship sing alongs that I have found distasteful and sometimes a bit embarassing And being a rather emotional person, I have always been cautious about the more emotional expressions of faith -- perhaps I feared the vulnerablility, the lack of control. But taste can get in the way of love, and it is holy humility that is the remedy for that.

It was later, reading Bishop Gaucher's biography, then Dorothy Day's book on Therese that helped me to start getting past that. I have found in her writtings the spiritual advantages of being little

To be little is not attributing to oneself the virtues that one practices, believing oneself capable of anything, but to recognize that God places this treasure in the hands of His little child to be used when necessary, but it remains always God's treasure. Finally, it is not to become discouraged over one's faults, for children fall often, but they are too little to hurt themselves very much.
Thank you St. Therese -- a few roses today would be welcome . . .

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