The painting above is called "Young Woman in a Blue Hat" by Pierre Bonnard. It was done in 1908. Doesn't the lady look pretty in her blue hat? Guess who else had a blue hat that she simply adored? Yes, our dear St. Therese, when she was a child. In fact, she thought it was quite ravishing!
Therese loved that hat so much that she was worried. As Patrick Ahern wrote in his book, Maurice and Therese, "She wondered how she could love God so deeply and at the same time love that hat so much."
Makes you giggle, doesn't it? It made me smile to read that St. Therese, who was so spiritual and holy even as a young child, had a weakness for material things, just like you or me. But after all, Therese was a normal little girl in many ways. She had a cocker spaniel named Tom who she loved to take on long walks. She played checkers and ate jam sandwiches.
She even had temper tantrums. One time, Therese wanted something on a high shelf and politely asked the maid Victoire to get it for her. When Victoire refused, Therese yelled, "Victoire, you are a brat!" and ran out of the room. Victoire was not pleased, and ran about the house crying that Mademoiselle Therese had just called her a brat!
Have you ever done anything like this? Hmmm....maybe we'd better not go there! But that's okay; I'm sure you were eventually very sorry for it, like Therese was. She used to cry very hard when she had acted badly, and then cried even harder because she was crying in the first place! She was very sensitive as a child.
Therese knew she had flaws. But she also knew that God loved her in spite of them. So even though she worried that she loved her pretty blue hat too much, I believe that deep down, she knew she couldn't possibly love that hat more than God! And I think she knew that God doesn't fault us for liking material things. It's natural and normal to enjoy the things we have, and to be grateful for them. I have things I treasure. Does that mean I treasure them more than I do God, or my family? Of course not. As long as we keep things in perspective, and don't love material things MORE than we do God, it's okay to love the things we have.
And I bet Therese looked quite lovely in her pretty blue hat, don't you?