Tuesday, October 18, 2011

children and saints

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." ~Luke 18:16-17

The patron saint of the hermitage I stayed at this last weekend is St. Therese of Lisieux. She lost her mother when she was 4 years old, and when she was 15 she entered the Carmelite convent at Normandy France. She referred to herself as a "little flower" and she practiced what she called "the little way of spiritual childhood." Therese died of tuberculosis when she was 24. I wondered during my stay how a person can become a saint in such a short amount of time. Especially given that tuberculosis is a wasting disease that slowly debilitates before it finally kills you (there are treatments now, but none then) I wondered where this sick little girl learned so much about love.

I don't know much about how these kinds of things work, but I think I must have benefitted from Therese's influence around me. I felt very much like a child during my stay at Pacem. In fact, my most productive times of prayer really didn't consist of words at all. I would lay down on my bed and invite Jesus to be there with me, very much like a child who asks a parent to cuddle for a while as they fall asleep. I felt so much love and peace. I had no fear. I very nearly heard a quiet "shhhhhhh" as I fell asleep. This was the way I interacted with God when I was a very little child, and I miss it. So, so good. This is how silent prayer is for me. I don't have to know the right words. I don't have to sound smart or have everything figured out. I just have to be exactly where I am and trust that I am loved.

Maybe saints are just little children who don't know any better.


  1. I just love this image of you laying in bed, just being who and where you are, and Jesus being with you. Love that little "shhhh" ... such a calming gesture.


  2. ok, i love this one too. :)

    so freeing to not have to say a thing and know that God hears every word.

  3. i love that you ladies are here. truly.

  4. I LOVE this Terri...REALLY good...really powerfully simple...

  5. collapsing the need to put words to our prayers can feel daunting at times, but i do have to admit that the times when im just "there" w/ God are the best....

  6. heather: hi! i'm glad this was helpful for you. i actually thought about you a bit this weekend. :)

    dave: think about it. the best times between us are this way too. just being together. why should it be different with God?

  7. it seems like everywhere we turn there is someone or something saying we aren't good enough. it's so comforting that we can come to our Father exactly how we are and be more than enough.

    so glad you had such a meaningful time lady. :)