October 1, 2016 – Memorial of St. Therese of Lisieux
How did St. Therese become known as the “Little Flower”?
St. Therese loved nature, and often used the imagery of nature to explain how the Divine Presence is everywhere, and how everything is connected in God’s loving care and arms. Therese saw herself as “the Little Flower of Jesus” because she was just like the simple wild flowers in forests and fields, unnoticed by the greater population, yet growing and giving glory to God. Therese did not see herself as a brilliant rose or an elegant lily, by simply as a small wildflower. This is how she understood herself before the Lord – simple and hidden, but blooming where God had planted her.
Therese believed passionately that Jesus was delighted in his “Little Flower,” and just as a child can be fascinated by the grandeur of a simple flower, she believed that Jesus was fascinated by her as his “Little Flower.” Therese understood that she was just like the tiny flower in the forest, surviving and flourishing through all the seasons of the year. Because of God’s grace, she knew that she was stronger than she looked. Following the Carmelite tradition, Therese saw the world as God’s garden, and each person being a different kind of flower, enhancing the variety and beauty which Jesus delighted in. When various people tried to explain her powerful inspiration and her place within the Church, it always seemed to come back to one title “the Little Flower.”