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"Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Experience of a God both Merciful and Near to Us." September 21, 2017

 Statue of St. Therese in Lisieux. The phrase "omen novum" on the tablet she is holding is from a speech by Pope Pius XI the day after her canonization; he called her "a new omen, a Word of God in our time." Photo credit: Peter and Liane Klostermann

Therese of Lisieux,
Doctor of the Experience of a God Both Merciful and Near to Us

17. The rediscovery of the paternal-maternal face of God was the starting point of a new path to holiness that our sister trod, especially from 1894, as she experienced more and more her own weakness. Jesus showed her, as she says, that the road to follow is that of surrender to God with the confidence of a child sleeping fearlessly in it's Father's arms:

    Whoever is a little one, let him come to me. So speaks the Holy Spirit through the mouth of Solomon. This same Spirit of Love also says: For to him that is little, mercy will be shown. The Prophet Isaiah reveals in His name that on the last day…As one whom a mother caresses, so will I comfort you; you shall be carried at the breasts and upon the knees they will caress you. …Jesus does not demand great actions from us but simply surrender and gratitude.10

This experience of Thérèse of Lisieux is one of a God who is both Father-Mother; who has love even for the unjust and evil (cf. Lk 6:35); who knows what we need before we ask; who forgives our sins and asks us to forgive; who protects and looks after us (cf. Mt 6:8-9, 14-15, 26). Here we see the change from fear to confidence. We stand before God as sons and daughters before a father and a mother. God makes everything work together for our good, even our deficiencies and faults. Getting to know a God who is both Father and Mother requires the heart of a child that chooses to remain small:

    What pleases [Jesus] is that He sees me loving my littleness and my poverty, the blind hope that I have in His mercy. … It is confidence and nothing but confidence that must lead us to Love.11

God's initiative is at the root of every Christian vocation. Responding to God's invitation, those who are called trust in God's love and give their life unconditionally, consecrating everything, present and future, to God, abandoning it all confidently into his hands. All this is of capital importance in Christian spirituality for the third millennium.

 - excerpted from Therese, A Doctor for the Third Millennium, the joint pastoral letter written by the Carmelite superiors general,  Fr. Camilo Maccise, O.C.D. and Fr. Joseph Chalmers, O. Carm., when Therese was named a doctor in 1997.  For the footnotes, please follow the link to the complete document.  


Posted on Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 10:51PM by Registered CommenterMaureen O'Riordan | CommentsPost a Comment

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