“WE WILL BE JUDGED ON LOVE” When Jesus returns in glory and we beg him one last time: “O take my soul, take it, Lord,” it is precisely on this true criterion of our love for God that we will be judged, and on this criterion only (Mt 25:31-46). In this sense, the spiritual master of little Thérèse, doctor of the Dark Night, Saint John of the Cross, said: “We will be judged on love.” In the spirit of the little way, we must be even more precise: we will be judged on Love, by Love. Let us not be mistaken, then: the little way of the love of God as actually walked by little Thérèse is terribly demanding. It is proposed to us as a path to be walked in our real life, in deeds and in truth and not in thought and in speech (1 Jn 3:18). It is a path desirable for its simplicity, its spirit of childhood and abandonment, but also difficult in the sense of being narrow according to the Gospel (Mt 7:13-14); a path where it is only a question of “giving everything and giving oneself”; a steep path that leads from conversion to conversion, from the love of God as we like to experience it (“spiritual riches”) to the love of God as God loves us and really gives himself to be loved until Jesus returns, that is, in the putting into practice of the new Commandment. A little way that consists of loving one’s own who are in the world and loving them to the end, to the point of giving one’s life for them. A little way that could turn out to be a way of the cross. 1. Céline Martin, Conseils et souvenirs, Cerf/Desclée de Brouwer, 1973. 2. “She was asked by what name we should pray to her when she was in Heaven: ‘You will call me little Thérèse’, she replied.” Céline Martin, ibid. 3. Notably on Christmas Day 1886. See page 62. 4. Thérèse herself would minimize her spiritual experiences to emphasize the simplicity of her little way: “humility, supernatural poverty, and trust in God.” In this sense, her sister Céline, Sister Geneviève de la Sainte Face in religion, writes: “The Summarium recorded this answer I made about [Thérèse's] spiritual gifts: ‘They were only very rare in the life of the Servant of God. For myself, I would rather she not be beatified than not give her portrait as I believe it to be accurate in conscience.’” Celine Martin, Ibid. 5. “It is the Gospel itself, it is the heart of the Gospel that she [Thérèse] rediscovered; but with what grace and freshness: ‘If you do not become like children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven’ (Mt 18:3)” Pius XII, Radio Message for the Consecration of the Basilica of Saint for the Consecration of the Basilica of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, July 11, 1954. 6. In the summer of 1897, Thérèse wrote to Mother Marie de Gonzague, “When I sing of the happiness of heaven, the eternal possession of God, I feel no joy, for I sing what I want to believe.” Thérèse de Lisieux par elle-même, Grasset/ Desclée de Brouwer, 1997. 7. Ibid. Thérèse meditated a great deal and commented on the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, Mt 7:21-23: Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?” Then I will declare to them solemnly, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.” 8. See page 178 the letter of Thérèse to Mother Marie de Gonzague (Manuscript C). 8