One of the most enduring pieces of wisdom from St. Therese of Lisieux.
To be honest, most of us are not as daring as St. Francis of Assisi, ready and willing to give up everything for God, even the clothes on our back. Yet, that does not mean we can’t offer God something. God is pleased with even the tiniest sacrifice done with love.
St. Therese of Lisieux, a holy Carmelite nun of the 19th century, was a strong champion of this idea of offering little sacrifices to God. It started during her childhood, but remained a central part of her spirituality throughout her short life.
Writing in her autobiography, Story of a Soul, Therese found a letter from her deceased mother that illustrated a strong desire to make sacrifices during her childhood.
Even Therese is anxious to make sacrifices. Marie has given her little sisters a string of beads on purpose to count their acts of self-denial … it is more amusing still to see Therese put her hand in her pocket, time after time, to pull a bead along the string, whenever she makes a little sacrifice.
Thus was born the custom of having “sacrifice beads” to keep track of the sacrifices that one makes each day. While it may seem strange to keep a tally such as this, it is a powerful reminder throughout the day and helps us assess our spiritual life. Before retiring for bed, we can look at our sacrifice beads and see how we did and how much we need to improve. Making little sacrifices each and every day is a powerful way to grow in holiness.
Another way to put it is “baby steps,” making little steps along the road that will lead to greater acts of love in the future.
Therese wrote, “I must stir up in my heart fresh transports of love and fill it anew with flowers. So, each day I made a number of little sacrifices and acts of love, which were to be changed into so many flowers: now violets, another time roses, then cornflowers, daisies, or forget-me-nots—in a word, all nature’s blossoms were to form in me a cradle for the Holy Child.”
Each little sacrifice we make will add up in the end and make our heart a perfect place for Jesus to lay his head.