Firstly, I want to say that I know in my head that God loves everyone equally. At the same time, I struggle to understand why there is ‘inequality’ in the eyes of the world, and in my eyes too. Some people have more material comforts than others, some attain greater spiritual growth than others, etc.
Reading ‘Story of a Soul’ this morning gave me an answer to this question that goes beyond my expectation. St. Thérèse explains wonderfully why not everyone seems to receive the same degree of grace from the Lord. I am not only satisfied with her explanation, my soul delights now in seeing the beauty in ‘inequality’. The Lord’s ways are not our ways…
For a long time I had wondered why God has preferences, why He did not give the same degree of grace to everyone.
I was rather surprised that He should pour out such extraordinary graces on great sinners like St. Paul, St. Augustine and so many others, forcing His grace on them, so to speak. I was rather surprised, too when reading the lives of the Saints, to find Our Lord treating certain privileged souls with the greatest tenderness from the cradle to the grave, removing all obstacles from their upward path to Him, and preserving the radiance of their baptismal robe from the stains of sin. Also, I wondered why so many poor [souls] die without even hearing Our Lord’s name.
Jesus chose to enlighten me on this mystery.
He opened the book of nature before me, and I saw that every flower He has created has a beauty of its own, that the splendor of the rose and the lily’s whiteness do not deprive the violet of its scent nor make less ravishing the daisy’s charm. I saw that if every flower wished to be a rose, Nature would lose her spring adornments, and the fields would no longer be enameled with their varied flowers.
So it is in the world of souls, the living garden of the Lord. It pleases Him to create great Saints, who may be compared with the lilies or the rose; but He has also created little ones, who much be content to be daisies or violets, nestling at His feet to delight His eyes when He should choose to look at them. The happier they are to be as He wills, the more perfect they are.
I saw something further: that Our Lord’s love shines out just as much through a little soul who yields completely to His Grace as it does through the greatest. True love is shown in self-abasement, and if everyone were like the saintly doctors who adorn the Church, it would seem that God had not far enough to stoop when he came to them. But He has, in fact, created the child, who knows nothing and can only make feeble cries, and the poor [soul has not heard the Lord’s name], with only the Natural Law to guide him; and it is to hearts such as these that He stoops.
What delights Him is the simplicity of these flowers of the field, and by stooping so low to them, He shows how infinitely great He is. Just as the sun shines equally on the cedar and the little flower, so the Divine Sun shines equally on everyone, great and small.
– St. Thérèse of Lisieux, ‘Story of a Soul’, Chapter 1
I want to delight in what the Lord wants me to be, just as I am happy to be shaped into the submissive that my husband wants me to be.