The Little Flower

What are we supposed to do in our life?

If we will have to leave this world one day, what kind of things we do could make our life worthwhile? Our small self is always thinking of what we do and worrying about what we should achieve in this world, even though we will leave here with nothing.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

1 Timothy 6:6-7

Meister Eckhart tells us:

People should not worry so much about what they do but rather about what they are. If they and their ways are good, then their deeds are radiant. If you are righteous, then what you do will also be righteous. We should not think that holiness is based on what we do but rather on what we are, for it is not our works which sanctify us but we who sanctify our works. 

Meister Eckhart

Bluntly, nothing is indeed worthwhile if we are not righteous. On the contrary, whatever we do should be valuable if our being is right.

He continues:

However holy our works may be, they do not in any way make us holy in so far as they are works, but it is we, in so far as we are holy and possess fulness of being, who sanctify all our works, whether these be eating, sleeping, waking, or anything at all. Little comes from the works of those whose being is slight. This teaches us then that we should make every effort to be good, and should worry not so much about what we do or the character of our actions, but we should be concerned rather about their ground.

Meister Eckhart

In other words, what we should concern is being, not doing. How can we be mindful about our being? What we need is not our extraordinary achievement, but our humility with His extraordinary love and grace.

It always reminds me of the story about the Little Flower, the life of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.

She was born in Rue Saint-Blaise, Alençon, in France on January 2, 1873, and at 15, she entered the Carmelite convent in Lisieux. She spent her religious life there. After her struggle with tuberculosis, however, she died on September 30, 1897, only at the age of 24.

Her life in this world was humble and short, and yet her being was filled with His amazing love and grace. In the beginning, she thought God was unfair, saying why His grace was so extraordinary towards those great saints like St. Paul, St. Augustine, and other Doctors of the Church. After prayers, reflections, and writings, however, she realized the precious value of the so-called little flowers in Jesus’ garden.

She wrote as follows:

These are the wild flowers whose simplicity attracts Him. When coming down in this way, God manifests His infinite grandeur. Just as the sun shines simultaneously on the tall cedars and on each little flower as though it were alone on the earth, so Our Lord is occupied particularly with each soul as though there were no others like it. And just as in nature all the seasons are arranged in such a way as to make the humblest daisy bloom on a set day, in the same way, everything works out for the good of each soul.

The Story of a Soul

In this realization, she felt so blessed with being such little flower that God takes care of. Because of these little flowers, she said, we could see the manifestation of His amazing love and grace.

She wrote:

And so it is in the world of souls, Jesus’ garden. He willed to create great souls comparable to Lilies and roses, but He has created smaller ones and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God’s glances when He looks down at his feet. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be.

The Story of a Soul

In her short life, she kept her journals addressing her sister. A year after her death from tuberculosis at the age of 24, on September 30, 1897, her wiring was published as The Story of a Soul (l’Histoire d’une Âme).

Every night before writing, she always prayed:

Before taking up my pen, I knelt before the statue of Mary (the one that has given so many proofs of the maternal preferences of heaven’s Queen for our family), and I begged her to guide my hand that it trace no line displeasing to her. Then opening the Holy Gospels my eyes fell on these words:

The Story of a Soul

Image by Hans Braxmeier

2 thoughts on “The Little Flower

  1. true. there is a little story. angels in the sky look down upon men and wonder ‘what’s with all the doing’. the men down on earth look up at the angels in the sky and wonder ‘what’s with all the being’. hehe.

    Liked by 1 person

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