Everyone can be a saint

posted in: Prayer and Virtue | 21

The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of The Little Flower    -             By: St. Therese of Lisieux

I’ve been re-reading St. Therese’s autobiography, The Story of a Soul. Almost at the beginning she writes about her view of the “world of souls” as a flower garden. She is one little flower in it, surrounded by others. Each has its own size, color, strength, and beauty.

“[God] has created the great saints who are like the lilies and the roses, but He has also created much lesser saints and they must be content to be the daisies or the violets which rejoice His eyes whenever He glances down. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being that which He wants us to be.”

It’s easy to have spiritual envy. We read about the graces God gave St. Therese and think, “That’s not fair. Why didn’t He give such graces to me? I’d like to be a saint too.”

But notice that Therese does not mention any soul in God’s garden who was not made to be a saint–just greater and lesser saints. We all have different graces, but we are all called to be saints.

St. Paul wrote:

“If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single organ, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable…” (1 Corinthians 12:17-22).

Are you weak? You are indispensable to God’s plan for the Church!

God made you to be a saint, whether you are laid back or aggressive, spontaneous or practical;

whether you make friends easily, or find yourself often alone;

whether everyone or no one listens to you;

whether you are successful or an apparent failure;

whether you are a priest, religious, married, or single person;

whether you are old or young;

whether you are healthy or bedridden;

whether you are physically beautiful or plain or even deformed.

Since nothing but sin can separate us from the love of Christ (see Romans 8:35-39), only one thing can keep you from being a saint–refusal to do God’s will.

Being a saint is not glamorous. It means embracing God’s will right where you are today. Right where life is difficult or dull, where people misunderstand you or overlook your needs. It means a constant battle against yourself. It means more love and goodness than you can imagine.

Let us pray that all of us will open our hearts to embrace God’s will. God is ready for you to be a saint. Are you?

Connie Rossini

Note: My short e-book can give you some ideas about where to begin. It’s now free in most digital formats. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, you can read more about it here.


21 Responses

  1. SaintlySages

    Excellent post, Connie! The quotation you give from St Therese makes a very important point concerning the Christian’s journey through earthly life. Christ said, “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Mt 5:48). What sort of “perfection” is this? The original Greek used here is “teleios,” which means “completion of a process.” Accordingly, St Jerome translated “teleios” into the Latin “perfecti” in his Vulgate. The verb “perfecere” means “to complete, finish, bring about, accomplish.” A person acts to bring about this completion when he generously responds to God’s call to take up a particular task, whether it be great or small. In this way, he conditions himself to be what God wants him to be. And what is this? God revealed to Paul, who wrote to Timothy (1 Tm 2:4) that God desires we all be saved, that is, we all become holy ones, saints. But the completion of this process requires more than God’s effort; it also requires our effort, the assent of the human will, as Christ taught in Mt 5:48. God bless!

  2. Ruth Ann

    This morning I read a description of what Pope Francis carried in his carry-on black bag during his WYD trip.: “There is a razor, a breviary, my diary, a book to read – I brought one on St. Therese of Lisieux, to whom I am devoted … I always take this bag when I travel. It’s normal. We should be normal!”

    Lovely endorsement, isn’t it?

    • Connie Rossini

      It certainly is. I love that it’s NORMAL to carry a book on St. Therese. Yes, if we’re disconnected from the faith, that’s abnormal–no matter how common.

  3. Reclaiming the Sacred

    Well said. Yes, St. Therese was a great saint for all of us because she was so “normal” in so many ways. I like your list of all the different types that can be saints. 🙂

    • Connie Rossini

      Normal, but–oh, my–so blessed with special graces. The whole Martin family amazes me. But she certainly left a spirituality we can all follow.

  4. Michael

    How true, anything less than being a saint is failure to respond to God’s grace and mercy which abound for all who call upon Him.

  5. Sacred Library

    Connie, this post brought to mind a joyful memory. When I first returned to the Catholic Church, 11 years ago, I was planning a personal pilgrimage. I decided on the Washington, DC area – the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the Franciscan Monastery, the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, etc.. Yet, I also wanted to visit the National Shrine of St. Therese in Illinois that was nearly 700 miles west. Being a bit timid about driving 1400 miles (round trip) from the main area of pilgrimage, and having read about St. Therese’s “shower of roses”, I prayed, “St. Therese, if it is the Lord’s will for me to travel the distance to your Shrine, please send me a Rose.” About 20 minutes later there was a knock at my door. I opened it to see my neighbor standing there with a beautiful Yellow Rose. She said, “This is for you. A little thank you for helping me this morning.” (her garage door was jammed and when I saw her struggling I went out to help and we fixed it). I had forgotten all about it but Grace (her real name) didn’t and on her way home from work she bought the Rose. I excitedly told her about the prayer and everything and though she didn’t quite get it, she left feeling that she was a messenger from an angel – and she was! Needless to say, I understood how such a “small act for a neighbor” even when you don’t realize it, is pleasing to God, and that the Saints sure do hear our prayers. I drove the 1,400 miles feeling peaceful and safe in the Lord’s care. Thanks for dislodging this lost memory, for I truly needed it! God is good. (apologies for the length of this comment!)

    • Connie Rossini

      Thanks for sharing your memory. I’ve heard so many anecdotes like that. It’s not all coincidence. God is allowing Therese to do what she wanted to do in Heaven.

  6. nancycarabiobelanger

    The Little Flower is a wonderful role model for boys and girls with the spirituality of her Little Way. As a Catholic author, I spend a lot of time talking to children in schools and homeschooling groups about St. Therese, and they love to ask me how they themselves can follow the Little Way. I tell them that showing their love for Jesus can be done in many small, simple ways, just as St. Therese teaches us. Children can relate to her struggles as a child and as an adult in the convent (getting along with others, wanting to please Jesus, and even falling asleep while praying the Rosary, as she was known to do!). My prayer is that all children will come to see St. Therese as their special friend in Heaven, ready to intercede for them before God. As I tell them all of the time, she likes to be busy, so ask her to help you! St. Therese, special friend of children, ora pro nobis!

    • Connie Rossini

      That’s wonderful, Nancy! I’ll have to check out your work. As you know if you’ve been visiting here a while, I love to make the spiritual life accessible to children.

  7. Maureen O'Riordan

    Thinking of how children can follow Therese’s way, for it will come more naturally to them than to adults, I remember that she is reported to have said one day “When I’m in heaven, you will have to fill my little hands with prayers and sacrifices to give me the pleasure of casting them on souls.” That saying may sound a bit sentimental, and I believe Therese knew that the essence of the way was the prior gift of oneself, of which prayers and what we “offer up” are an expression. As she said “To love is to give everything; it’s to give oneself.” Yet I love to think of children and adults being partners with her in that mission “to work still for the Church and for souls” and allowing her to redistribute the energy and prayers we offer to God.

  8. Nancy Ward

    Connie, I love this post because it makes no excuses for NOT being a saint. Grace is always available for the asking, and God uses our weaknesses to show us our need to ask.

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