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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

Wisdom and Spiritual Childhood

St. Therese of Lisieux is the champion of spiritual childhood in the Church. This kind of childhood has a heroic note -- the note of confidence in the Lord's Merciful Love. This kind of confidence trusts that through persevering in love of God and one another, no matter what happens, the Lord will be victorious - the more we trust in Him, the more His victory is realized, even in our failures and weaknesses. Before her illness and the spiritual trials that she endured at the end of her life, she entrusted herself to the merciful love of God, consecrating herself as a "victim of merciful love." Her self-offering contains this same radical confidence in the love of God -- if I will allow Him to do with me what He will, it will cost me everything, but such a price is worth it because of the immensity of His love. Those who make this same surrender enter into God's perspective of this life -- the purpose of which is to learn to love the way that He loves. This surrender challenges us to see our brothers and sisters with the resurrected eyes of Christ, eyes that always contemplate a reason for the hope that we have inside.


This kind of hope, the hope that comes when we surrender everything to Christ, even our own dreams about the kind of happiness that we think we want, gives God space in the world to accomplish beautiful things in the lives of others. By choosing this surrender, we allow ourselves to be pierced by the plight suffered in the hearts of those Christ entrusts to us. We feel in ourselves the desire not to allow our brothers and sisters to suffer alone just as God desired when He sent His Son for our sake. We are convinced about the dignity of our neighbor and willing to do whatever we can to protect his integrity no matter the cost just as Christ desired when He spread Himself on the Cross as a victim for our sake. Most of all, we feel gratitude for what the Lord has done for us and we know that whatever we do in return is nothing in comparison, yet we do it anyway because we love Him who loved us. When all our efforts end up in disaster and it seems that nothing we have taken up has made any difference at all, we have finally embraced the Cross on which Christ sanctifies everything and makes all things new. This is no wisdom of this world, but wisdom from above.

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