little way are the spirit of spiritual childhood,5 of total abandonment and, of course, finally, the only good solution to everything: Love. AN ULTIMATE CONVERSION: THE COMMANDMENT OF LOVE It is precisely with regard to Love that little Thérèse lived her ultimate “conversion,” at the last stage of her life, as an accomplishment. As she entered the terminal phase of the terrible illness that would take her away a year later, she did not even have the consolation of seeing the dark night of faith, in which she was immersed, light up with the slightest glimmer.6 And when her elder sister and godmother, Marie-Louise—in religion Sister Marie du Sacré-Coeur—asked her for her recipe for loving the good God as she loved him, Thérèse replied: “It is, in fact, spiritual riches that make one unjust, when one rests on them with complacency and believes that they are something great....”7 This warning, in the form of a testament, is also addressed to all of us who would like so much to follow Thérèse on her little path of Love, and to be accompanied by her, until the blessed fulfillment of our lives. From her own experience as assistant to the novice-mistress—an experience that shows that spiritual riches can divert us from the little way of Love—little Thérèse was to rediscover, so to speak, the extraordinary divinizing power of the new Commandment of Jesus. For Thérèse, loving others for the love of God has always been the privileged means of the little way, the only way to verify, in reality, that one loves God in act and in truth, and this even more so when she no longer feels the love of God. But in this final stage, the meditation on the new Commandment makes her realize that in putting into practice the Commandment of Jesus, “his own Commandment,” it is no longer a question of loving others for the love of God, but of the love of God itself.8 THERE IS ONLY ONE LOVE In fact, the little way of Love according to Saint Thérèse joins the way that surpasses all others, the one that Saint Paul designates in his epistle to the Corinthians (1 Cor 12:31). And Saint Paul categorically affirms that, outside of this way, all spiritual gifts are nothing (1 Cor 13:1-3). As we have seen, Thérèse goes so far as to warn that they can make us unjust. This way which, according to Saint Paul, is the only way to eternal life— the one he solemnly reveals in his “Hymn to Charity” and which little Thérèse so marvelously followed and promoted with her own genius and charisma—this way consists in the fact that by the grace of the New Commandment, our love for others is the manifestation of God’s love for others, of our personal love for God, and of God’s love for us personally: there is but one Love. That is why Saint John can truly say: The love of God is this, that we keep his commandments (1 Jn 5:3), and again: if we love one another as Jesus has loved us, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us (1 Jn 4:12). There is only one Love, because God is Love (1 Jn 4:8). “I want to make people love love,” said Thérèse. Her little way proposes no other goal than to lead us to make the Love of God reach its perfection in us. 7