In Thérèse’s day, many people had a mistaken idea of holiness and thought that sanctity was a matter of willful effort well beyond the ordinary person. The mistaken idea of holiness often suggested was that sanctity was a matter of willful effort well beyond the ordinary person.
Holiness was portrayed as laboriously ascending the stairway of perfection, climbing the ladder of humility, struggling through the stages of virtue, attaining exalted levels of prayer, and scaling the rugged heights of severe mortification. Sanctity was not for the “little ones.”
The stairway of perfection, or the rough stairway of fear as Thérèse once referred to it, recalled to her mind the actual impossible stairway that she had faced as a two-year-old when she had tried to climb to the second floor of her family home. At that time, her mother had described Thérèse’s attempting the unattainable: She will not climb the stairs all alone, but cries at each step: “Mamma, Mamma!”.
Recognition of her personal inadequacy in her early convent days made her acutely aware that she simply could not, by her own efforts, overcome her weaknesses…
The full article is available to subscribers only
Access all articles, daily meditations and readings, as well as special resources, by becoming a subscriber. View subscription options.
Special Offer: 2 week free web-only trial subscription. Sign up now.
Existing Print & Web-Only Subscribers: Login for full access.