File:Image Thérèse Lisieux.jpg

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for a magic bullet to bring me closer to God. Let’s be honest: the Christian life can be a slog. Day in, day out, struggling against sin and making little measurable progress. I’m always looking for the secret to help me reach sanctity faster. But is there one?

St. Therese asked herself this same question. She sought a fast way to climb the ladder to Heaven, as it were. The Little Way of Spiritual Childhood was her discovery. She said that if she made herself little, Jesus could lift her up in His arms. His arms would be her elevator to help her advance quickly.

Why am I still not a saint?

But there is a catch. As much as we might think the Little Way means Jesus does all the work for us, we still have to strive against ourselves. The Little Way is not magic. We can’t just say a few words and be instant saints.

This is challenging. When I first committed myself to daily mental prayer, I thought I had found the magic bullet. After all, St. John of the Cross said that people who devote themselves to prayer “very soon” enter the dark night of the senses and the illuminative way.

But I have been praying faithfully for over twenty years now, and I’m still not there. What gives?

Last year I discovered St. Therese’s doctrine of trust. Well, really rediscovered it, because I had heard it many times. I just hadn’t lived it well. I thought trust was the thing that would make me an instant saint. It hasn’t happened yet.

I’m now realizing that I need to get back to detachment as well. John and Therese both assume detachment in their doctrines. And detachment is decidedly not magic. It’s hard work.

The Christian life is a marriage of God and the soul

God is too good to make me a saint without my participation. He respects me too much. He gave me a mind and a heart so that I could use them to come close to Him. He made them good, they were damaged by sin, and He redeemed them on the cross. Now He wants to sanctify them completely.

As parents, we know that our goal is to help our children grow into self-sufficient adults. We can’t do everything for them. And God does not do everything for us. And yet, in one way, He does.

God gives us the will to follow Him. He gives us the strength. He forgives us when we fail. He carries us when we can’t carry ourselves. Then He rewards us as though we’ve done it all.

But He will not tolerate our laziness. He won’t accept our excuses for not trying. He will not overlook unrepentant sin. He will not pry away our attachments against our will.

God wants to form a partnership with us. He wants us to be His Bride. God and the soul must work together. In other words, God will only sanctify as much of my heart and mind that I willingly give Him.

So, I must struggle against sin, peacefully, in His joy and love. I must be willing to accept His forgiveness. I must be willing to follow His lead. And I must be willing to wait, no matter how long it takes.

Love is better than magic.

Connie Rossini

 

Written by Connie Rossini

Hi, I’m a Catholic writer and homeschool mother of four boys. I practice Carmelite spirituality. Check out my Books page for publications to help your whole family grow in holiness.

    10 Comments

  1. elizabethtichvon February 11, 2014 at 7:09 am Reply

    great encouragement today, Connie!

    • Connie Rossini February 11, 2014 at 8:59 pm Reply

      I’m glad the Lord could use me in your life, Elizabeth. Blessings!

  2. melanie jean juneau February 11, 2014 at 5:25 pm Reply

    amen- well said!

    • Connie Rossini February 11, 2014 at 8:59 pm Reply

      Thanks, Melanie. This is a glimpse into my life.

  3. Elaine February 12, 2014 at 9:14 am Reply

    how wonderful…..this is a wonderful post! this is my first time here, and hope to find some spiritual nuggets for my kids…..

    • Connie Rossini February 12, 2014 at 10:30 am Reply

      Welcome, Elaine! I have lots of posts about teaching kids to pray, etc. Just use the search on the sidebar.

  4. Lydia February 12, 2014 at 4:36 pm Reply

    Wow. This is really powerful for me. It is really food for meditation.

    • Connie Rossini February 12, 2014 at 5:00 pm Reply

      I’m glad it speaks to you, Lydia. It’s a theme I see repeating itself in different ways in my life throughout the years.

  5. Christopher May 31, 2014 at 2:41 pm Reply

    Attachment is the problem but with God help we are able to break free. Thanks.

    • Connie Rossini May 31, 2014 at 10:18 pm Reply

      Christopher, thanks for your comment. Yes, we have to go beyond just struggling against sin and fight our attachments too. But it is hard work. I’m focusing on detachment in my spiritual life this year. God bless!

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