By Father Francois Jamart, OCD
Over a century ago, there lived a Carmelite nun, Thérèse of Lisieux. Although she was young and seemed to have no authority, she taught “a Little Way very straight and short” which would lead people to perfection. Others had declared that sanctity was hard to attain, but she said that it was easy. Thérèse maintained that in order to become holy, it was not necessary to engage in manifold practices, to perform rigorous penances, or to receive extraordinary graces. What was needed was simply that we acknowledge our “nothingness” and approach God with love and confidence. “Sanctity,” she proclaimed, “is an interior disposition which makes us humble and little in God’s arms, conscious of our weakness and trusting even to audacity in the goodness of our Father.”
Thérèse did not reveal new truths, nor did she teach new means for attaining perfection. Her doctrine was not a revelation of a new kind of sanctity, but a new way of revealing sanctity to us. What she teaches flows from the knowledge of God as He is revealed in the Gospel; she invites us to return to evangelical simplicity. The Church has endorsed her doctrine at the highest level: in 1999, Pope John Paul II declared her a Doctor of the Church.
Fr. Jamart wanted this book to be read not only by the initiated few, but by all Christians seriously interested in finding a sure and easy way to Christ. In the Complete Spiritual Doctrine of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, he presents her teachings in their original beauty, simplicity, and practicality.