January 17, 2010

Excerpt Sunday....

From Descouvemont's Therese and Lisieux:
Therese had a keen sense of the absolute gratuity of the Lord's love for us. Like Luther, she often meditated on the passages where St. Paul affirms that we cannot acquire salvation by our own efforts...Is this to say that in the end Therese thought she had to eliminate from her spiritual world any idea of merit? Absolutely not. Throughout her life, she was excited by the thought that on the Last Day, when he would return in his glory, the grateful God would cry out, 'Now it is my turn! I owe them my eternal and infinite substance.' This was an expression she had found in 1887 in Canon Arminjon's Conferences. It encouraged her to bear all her sufferings patiently.

In other words, though Therese wanted to work only 'to please God,' and not to have a more beautiful crown in heaven, though she expected eternal happiness from him, she also knew she had to 'earn' his children's lives, to obtain their conversion by fidelity of her love. She went so far as to say: 'God must grant all my requests in heaven because I never did my will on earth.' Admirable equilibrium of this spirituality!

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Therese certainly did not scorn those souls 'who offered themselves as victims to God's justice.' She even thought this offering to be 'great and generous,' but she was not inclined to make it. And since 'there are many rooms in the Father's house' (Jn 14:2) - a gospel passage to which she often had recourse in order to legitimize the originality of her Little Way - she did not hesitate to surrender herself to God, as he increasingly appeared to her to be in that year of 1895: an inexhaustible reserve of tenderness and mercy. There was no pride in this attitude, but perfect docility to an inspiration of the Holy Spirit received...Note, moreover, the boldness of this young professed nun. She dared not to follow the example of Mother Genevieve, whom she did consider to be a saint and whose last tear she had collected with reverence.

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