Even though she never had complete access to the Old Testament, she undertook a revival in the meditation of the Word of God. Without any initiation, without any specific Biblical culture, she quoted the Bible more than a 1000 times in her writings. It was only when she was twenty-two years old that two texts from the Old Testament crystalized within her what she had been looking for: the illumination of the “way of spiritual childhood” which will symbolize her input.
“I want to be a Saint”
Thérèse, this fervent teenager was on her way to saintliness. She wrote to her father “I will glorify you by becoming a great Saint”.
However, in Carmel, she was confronted by her weaknesses and was powerless when she compared herself to the Saints. They seemed to her as big as mountains while she was merely a grain of sand. “It is impossible for me to grow bigger”, she says but without discouragement. As God placed the desire of saintliness within her, there must also be a route, a way up the “steep steps to perfection”.
The Word of God opened the path for her : « Let all who are simple come to my house” (Proverbs, 9,4) “So I came” simply wrote the little Thérèse asking what God would do to the little one who came to Him, she read Isaiah 66: then she understood that she would not be able to move up those steep steps alone and that Jesus would take her in His arms, and bring her as if in a lift.
From then on, Thérèse smallness was no longer an obstacle. On the contrary. The smaller she is and the lighter she would be in the arms of Jesus, the quicker he would be able to make her a Saint.
This is the way that Thérèse describes her discovery of her little way (Manuscript C,2).
First of all it was a discovery of who God is: essentially Merciful Love. From then on, she would see all of the Divine perfections (including Justice) through the prism of His Mercy.
This stirred within her an audacious confidence: “I want to be a Saint, but I can sense my own helplessness and I beg You, O my God! to be Yourself my sanctity”. Act of Oblation to Merciful Love
Letting God take over her life did not imply any simply immaturity. Thérèse did whatever she possibly could to show her love of God and for her sisters, and in a totally free manner, in a loving way.
In all situations and in everything she did in life, Thérèse “applied” this little way: God asked this of her, she felt unable, so He would help her accomplish it. An example: loving all of her sisters as Jesus would have loved them was impossible. So, uniting in Christ, He loved them through Thérèse. “Yes, I feel it, when I am charitable, it is Jesus alone who is acting in me, and the more united I am to Him, the more also do I love my Sisters” (Manuscript C, 13r°)
Here is a saintly way that is open to all, the little ones, the poor, the injured: accepting the reality of our weakness and offering ourselves to God as we are so He can act within us.
We can understand better now why such a sentence as this for example is the opposite of sentimentality and more so explains the evangelical childhood preached by Jesus: “Jesus deigned to show me the road that leads to this Divine Furnace, and this road is the surrender of the little child who sleeps without fear in its Father’s arms”. Manuscript B, 1 v°)
Her intuitions made her an announcer of the great truths brought back into light by Council of Vatican II: the pre-eminence of the Pascal mystery of Jesus over all other particular devotions, the way to saintliness for all baptized, studies on Mary that show her “more of a Mother than a Queen”, having experienced the trials of faith (see the Poem “Why I love you, O Mary”, May 1897), teachings on communion founded in the presence of Love (Holy Spirit) in the heart of the Church which brings life to all of the complementary vocations in the Communion of Saints in Heaven and Earth.
Revolution too in the idea of not resting after death but rather being active:
“I’ll spend my Heaven doing good on Earth.”
Thérèse, without knowing it, paved the way for ecumenism: her reading of the Books of Romans pleased the Lutherans; those of the Orthodox faith love her with Saint Francis of Assisi (the universal symbols used by these two saints help them to better understand other civilizations).