In preparation for a St. Therese Novena, I began a search of scriptural quotations about littleness, children, humility, and the like. There is a risk in sharing these quotes, in that St. Therese’s quest for littleness might be brushed off as simplistic or childish. On the contrary, the quest for littleness is a bold step towards uncovering humility. And it isn’t for the childish at heart! Thus, a few notes on humility before we begin our spiritual preparation for the Feast Day of St. Therese.
Isn’t it funny, how false humility annoys people? It seems we all display it to varying degrees. False humility is most insufferable when found amongst Christians, but even the secular world has a low tolerance for it. Go ask Urban Dictionary about the humblebrag. No humblebragging found in any copy of “Story of a Soul.”
Also important: keep in mind that St. Therese’s desire to become a little one was the result of her desire to be closer to God. She didn’t use her littleness as an excuse to avoid work, as a child might be unable to complete tasks, for she still strived to live a life of virtue. Her little way, her small acts of self-denial, opened her eyes to the needs of others around her.
Finally, a quote from Contemplative Provocations (a book I cannot recommend highly enough):
As the prospect of directly experiencing God tantalizes and sparks at times an infatuation with mysticism, the more subdued invitation of the gospel to die to self in service to others is often ignored. The impulse toward humble charity gradually weakens. A self-referential habit will be more evident in a life, which reflects the self-absorption that false types of prayer foster. The irony should not be missed. One can end up living less generously the life of charity as an aspiration to some form of spurious possession of God dominates one’s religious pursuit.
In paying a visit to my blog over the course of the next week and a half, consider that the Bible quotes you read are an invitation to reflect upon our littleness before God, as St. Therese understood it.