St. Therese: Love Only, With Empty Hands


Thomas Griffin (10/1/20)

St. Therese: Love Only, With Empty Hands – Catholic Exchange (10/20/18)

Excerpt: “Her calling was not simply to perform deeds for God in an attempt to win his heart; she realized through his revelation that her calling in life was simple and profound: her calling was love. She noted that love is what drew on every man or woman to be good and do good. Love is what pushed forth all the great saints and love is what gave the martyr’s the ability to stand before the powers of evil and not be overcome. Love is what defines the divine and it is the reason why he must, must come near to us at every moment.

This love is also the reason for the second quote. Therese used an image of an infant at the bottom of a staircase and a father standing at the top. The baby obviously longs for intimacy and proximity with his father so he desperately attempts to climb the first step. However, the baby is barely able to crawl. Climbing the stairs fails no matter how hard he tries or how badly he wants to reach the top.

Therese wrote about this image not to place our faith in a cycle of despair, but in order to prove a point that is imperative for the life of a follower of Christ. The fact that we do not win his love or earn a better relationship with him by doing more or trying harder. Faith is not a contest in what we can do for God, it is a relationship founded on a Father who sees his children trying to find him and desperately be close to him. Viewing our position, he runs towards them and down to them to pick up his children and bring them into his arms.


Thomas Griffin teaches Apologetics in the religion department at a Catholic high school on Long Island and lives with his wife. He received a master’s degree in theology and is currently a master’s candidate in philosophy. He writes for several Catholic media outlets.


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