St. Therese, The Little Way, & Scripture

OK, you are a student at the Biblicum and the examiner gives you the following quote from the Holy Father: “The great scholar becomes a little one and for this very reason perceives the folly of God as wisdom, a wisdom far greater than all human wisdom.”


First, the “little one” is a double reference to Therese of Liseaux and the simile of the little child in Matthew 18:3. St. Therese was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1997, and her philosophy of theology is known as the “Little Way.” Here’s how she explains the Little Way: Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.

On the relationship between scholarship and Scripture, she says, Sometimes, when I read spiritual treatises in which perfection is shown with a thousand obstacles, surrounded by a crowd of illusions, my poor little mind quickly tires. I close the learned book which is breaking my head and drying up my heart, and I take up Holy Scripture. Then all seems luminous to me; a single word uncovers for my soul infinite horizons; perfection seems simple; I see that it is enough to recognize one’s nothingness and to abandon oneself, like a child, into God’s arms.

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