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 Saint Therese of the Child Jesus

of the Holy Face

Entries in Offering to Merciful Love (2)

Marie of the Trinity offers herself to Merciful Love in the Lisieux Carmel: the First Sunday of Advent, December 1, 1895

On the First Sunday of Advent, November 30, 1895, St. Therese confided to her close friend, the novice Marie of the Trinity, that she had offered herself to Merciful Love on June 9, 1895.  Marie of the Trinity at once expressed a desire to do the same, and the two agreed that Marie would offer herself the next day.  Thinking it over, Marie told Therese that, because she was so unworthy, she needed a longer time to prepare for such an important act.  Saint Therese's face "immediately lit up with joy," and she replied:

Yes, this Act is important, more important than we can imagine, but do you know—the only preparation which the good God asks of us? Well, it is that we recognize humbly our unworthiness! And since He has given you this grace, abandon yourself to Him without fear. Tomorrow morning, after thanksgiv­ing, I will kneel near you in the oratory where the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed. And while you pronounce your act, I will offer you to Jesus as a little victim which I prepared for Him.

Circular of Sister Marie of the Trinity on the Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux.  Chapter IV.

So Marie of the Trinity offered herself to Merciful Love on December 1, 1895.  She was the second disciple of St. Therese to follow Therese in making the offering; Therese's eldest sister, Marie of the Sacred Heart, had offered herself in the summer.  About her experience on December 1, Marie of the Trinity wrote:

I was so flooded with graces on that beautiful day, the most beautiful day of my life, that all day long I experienced in a very tangible way the presence of the Eucharistic Jesus in my heart.  I confided this to Sr. Therese of the Child Jesus, who was not at all surprised and answered me simply:

"Is not God omnipotent?  If we so desire, it would not be difficult for him to make his sacramental presence in our souls remain from one communion to the next.  [Therese had, in fact, asked this favor in her offering:  "Remain in me as in a tabernacle . . ."]  Through this extraordinary feeling that you experienced today, he wishes to give you the pledge that all the requests you have made of him in the Act of Oblation will be granted.  You will not always enjoy these feelings, but their effects will be no less real.  One receives from God as much as one hopes for."

Therese of Lisieux and Marie of the Trinity, by Pierre Descouvement.  Staten Island, New York: Society of St. Paul/Alba House, 1997, pp. 68-69.  I recommend this book to everyone who wants to konw Therese as she was in her intimate relationships.  

May we, like Marie, let Therese encourage us, in this Advent, to forget our ideas of our own unworthiness and to abandon ourselves to God without fear.

Anniversary of St. Therese's Offering to Merciful Love, June 9, 1895

 

119 years ago today, St. Therese of Lisieux spontaneously offered herself to Merciful Love on Trinity Sunday, June 9, 1895.  I've prepared an anniversary gift for you.  Please help me by unwrapping it: click where I indicate to see several documents and photographs related to the Offering on the Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux.  Please bear with these paragraphs of unrelieved text, for the links are a doorway to beautiful images and words related to the Act.  These are but a taste of the treasures the Archives site is sharing with the world.

At the end of 1895, Therese wrote in her first autobiographical manuscript about the inspiration she had received to offer herself to Merciful Love. Thanks to the kindness of the Washington Province of Carmelite Friars and the Archives of the Carmel, you may see a photo of the handwritten manuscript and also read in English her description of how, on  the morning of June 9,1895, "I received the grace to understand more than ever how much Jesus desires to be loved."  She received this grace in the choir.  Within the next two days she wrote the Offering out; see the manuscript and the English text of her "Offering of myself as a Victim of Holocaust to the Merciful Love of God."   This prayer has often been called the "Act of Oblation," but, as you will see, that title is not from Therese; she wrote only "Offering of myself."  For all its solemnity, her written Offering retains its spontaneity; she did not write in formal terms like "Act of Oblation."  "We have nothing to fear from this Offering," she often declared happily.

To see Therese's appearance at about this time, see the photo of the Carmelites of Lisieux taken closest to this date; Therese is in the second row, second from left. 

The text of the Offering appears in Story of a Soul.  For a fuller understanding of the Offering and its significance in Therese's life and spirituality, I highly recommend the marvelous little book The Prayers of Saint Therese of Lisieux (Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 1996), which contains the text of the several copies and adds rich commentary.  I recommend it especially if you are thinking of offering yourself to Merciful Love with Therese and want to understand the offering better.  To "search inside" or for more information, please click on the text link or the image above.  The book also contains twenty other prayers written by Therese, and it brings her to life in a unique way.

To read more reflections on the offering right now, see my page "Offering of Myself to Merciful Love, June 9, 1895."  Blessings on the anniversary of this great day of grace.