St Thérèse of Lisieux
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict called St. Thérèse of Lisieux's autobiography, The Story of a Soul, a wonderful authentic "treasure" and invited everyone to read it.
The 19th-century Carmelite saint's teaching of "the 'little way" of holiness has been so influential in our time," he said April 6 at his weekly general audience.
St. Thérèse, who was born in 1873 in France, died at the age of 24 of bleeding of the lungs.
Her spirituality "centred on the contemplation of God's love revealed in the mysteries of the incarnation and redemption," the pope said.
The saint "sought to be little in all things and to seek the salvation of the world," he said.
"Thérèse shows all of us that Christian life is fully living the grace of Baptism," by fully giving oneself over to God and by living like Christ, he said.
The pope said "her example and prayers help us to follow 'the little way of trust and love' in spiritual childhood, abandoning ourselves completely to the love of God and the good of souls."
A childlike faith in God entails giving oneself fully to him and putting one's life completely in his hands, the pope said. Such faith is "inseparable from true love," which is a total giving of self.
The pope said the faithful need to tell God every day that "we want to live out our love for him and others."
St. Thérèse's life and teachings are "a guide for everyone" especially for theologians, he said, because she approached the sacred Scriptures with "humility and charity, faith and hope."