"You know, Mother, that I have always wanted to be a saint. Alas! I have always noticed that when I compared myself to the saints, there is between them and me the same difference that exists between a mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds and the obscure grain of sand trampled underfoot by passers-by. Instead of being discouraged, I said to myself: God cannot inspire unrealizable desires. I can, in spite of my littleness, aspire to holiness. It is impossible for me to grow up, and so I must bear with all my imperfections. But I want to seek out a means of going to heaven by a little way, a way that is very straight, very short, and totally new.
We are now living in an age of inventions, and we no longer have to take the trouble of climbing stairs, for, in the homes of the rich, an elevator has replaced these very successfully. I wanted to find an elevator which would take raise me to Jesus, for I am too small to climb the rough stairway of perfection." (The Story of a Soul, Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face)
Self-help books, and now blogs, have long enjoyed popularity in modern society. Their staying power emanates from the natural and good desire of every human being to better himself for his good and those around him. One is on the constant search, looking for an exact answer, a foolproof method, that will guarantee a desirous outcome to life's most pressing problems. In essence, we are looking for the shortcut to peace and happiness because an arduous climb is none too appealing.
St. Thérèse recognized this desire for an "elevator [to heaven]" because she herself had it. Her Little Way is so perfect because it can be traveled in every vocation and in every state of life. Yet, though it is simple, it is not easy. Why? Because it is not just saying yes to God once, it is saying yes, a thousand times a day. A large piece of marble cannot be sculpted into a beautiful statue with just one tremendous blow. Rather, it must be carefully and tediously chiseled until a perfect figure emerges. Similarly, a soul can not be perfected in one single act of bravery. Instead, it takes thousands of self-denials each day to chip away at the rough rock of our self-will so that the beauty within might shine forth.
Thérèse knew that she did not need to seek out suffering, but only accept the little inconveniences and annoyances that came her way each day. She sought to perform little acts of love by denying the urge to indulge even a small want, and relinquishing the right to simple comforts. In speaking to his brother bishops, St. Charles Borromeo once said:
"I admit that we are all weak, but if we want help, the Lord God has given us the means to find it easily. One . . . may wish to lead a good, holy life, as he knows he should. He may wish . . . to reflect heavenly virtues in the way he lives. Yet he does not resolve to use suitable means, such as penance, prayer . . . "Self-denial, prayer, patience and perseverance must be the companions of one's daily struggle; otherwise, any desires to increase in love for God and others will remain romantic ideals and not exterior realties.