One might be tempted to believe that such confidence was based on the assurance that had been given her that she "had never committed any mortal sins". But she hastens to correct this idea: "Make it clear, Mother, that if I had committed all possible crimes, I would still have the same confidence. I would feel that this multitude of offenses would be like a drop of water cast into a blazing fire" "How could there be any limits to my confidence?"
Saint Theresa could not have reached this point, it is certain, had she not had a deep experience of God's love. Even though she always claimed that she had not known extraordinary graces, and she never stressed the graces she did receive, it cannot be doubted that she had attained to a very high mystical life during a most painful night of faith.
But what might be illusory is that this mystical life was lived under the voluntarily obscure and detached sign of the little way of spiritual childhood. Was not Saint Theresa eager not to do anything that "little souls" could not imitate? What does this mean?
Saint Theresa had very great desires, yet she would never admit that she was a great soul or that she had the strength necessary to do great things, like the saints who had been proposed to her as models. So she had to find a way in keeping with this littleness of which she was so deeply conscious.
More than this: she sought a way that depended on this very weakness. Had not the Apostle said: "When I am weak then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12: 10). So that in searching the Gospels she found the words of the Master: "Let the little children be, and do not hinder them from coming to me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 19: 14).
Such a statement corresponded too well to her knowledge, both of her weakness and also of God's fatherly heart, for it not to have been a true light. It served, too, as a link between her spirit of childhood and her confidence in the divine fatherhood.
"I leave to great souls and lofty minds the beautiful books I cannot understand, much less put into practice and I rejoice that I am little because children alone and those who resemble them will be admitted to the heavenly banquet. I am glad that there are many mansions in the Kingdom of God, because if there were only those whose description and whose road seem to me incomprehensible, I could never enter there."
This, therefore, was her way. God Himself had pointed it out and declared its efficacy. On it Theresa was to advance unfalteringly and to draw all the necessary conclusions with courage.
No one will deny that weakness is the characteristic of little children. But this weakness is the surest of guarantees to those who care for them and love them. Teresa remembered a text of Isaias that she copied in a little notebook she used:
"You shall be carried at the breasts, And upon the knees they shall caress you. As one whom the mother caresseth, So will I comfort you" (Is. 66: 12).
Moreover, having learned from experience about this "motherly" goodness of God, and knowing that the smaller the child, the more it can count on merciful help and attentive care, Theresa intended to remain little, that is to say, she would no more be concerned about her powerlessness, on the contrary she would rejoice in it. "How happy I am to realize that I am little and weak, how happy I am to see myself so imperfect". She does not count on her works, or on her merits, she "keeps nothing in reserve" and she is not to be discouraged even about her faults.
"It is needful to remain little before God and to remain little is to recognize one's nothingness, expect all things from the good God just as a little child expects all things from its father; it is not to be troubled by anything, not to try to make a fortune. Even among poor people, a child is given all it needs, as long as it is very little, but as soon as it has grown up, the father does not want to support it any longer and says: "Work, now you are able to take care of yourself". Because I never want to hear these words I do not want to grow up, feeling that I can never earn my living, that is, eternal life in heaven. So I have stayed little, and have no other occupation than of gathering flowers of love and sacrifice and of offering them to the good God to please Him.Saint Theresa had very great desires, yet she would never admit that she was a great soul or that she had the strength necessary to do great things, like the saints who had been proposed to her as models. So she had to find a way in keeping with this littleness of which she was so deeply conscious.