The Democratization of Holiness

Yesterday I wrote about visiting the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower, the Catholic Basilica devoted to St. Thérèse of Lisieux in San Antonio.

What's fascinating about Thérèse is that when she died at the age of 24, one of the Carmelite sisters, who had lived with Thérèse in the monastery for years, expressed concern that there wouldn't be anything to say or share at Thérèse's funeral.

That's how ordinary and unremarkable Thérèse's life had been to those who observed it. Nothing to see here.

And yet there you are, standing in a Basilica dedicated to her life, memory and devotion.

How do you square the two? Nothing to say at your funeral, your life was so boring, versus worldwide devotion and basilicas named in your honor?

It makes you face the question: Are there spiritual giants walking among us appearing as boring, ordinary and unremarkable people?

That's one of the great legacies of Thérèse of Lisieux and her Little Way, what Dorothy Day called "the democratization of holiness."

Anyone can be a radical follower of Jesus, even in the most mundane and ordinary of lives. You don't need an impressive story or testimony or life to be a spiritual giant. Look at Thérèse of Lisieux.

At your death your resume can be pretty thin, but cathedrals are built to remember you.

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