St. Therese’s Act of Oblation to Merciful Love…

As I have written about in my two previous posts, God entrusted to St. Therese a most beautiful and astonishing revelation. It was truly a Divine response of Infinite Goodness to her deepest longing “…to love You as You have never been loved before.”

Therese, flushed with joy on Trinity Sunday, 1895, was inspired by her Beloved to offer herself as a victim to Merciful Love. No longer would God’s rejected Love have to remain “…locked up in Your Heart.” Therese would offer her entire being to receive these Torrents of Divine Love. She even hoped that they would consume her so that she would “…become a martyr to Your Love…”

But Therese knew that so great an invitation, springing from the depths of Infinite Tenderness, was not meant for her alone. She convinced several of the other nuns in her monastery to also make this Act of Oblation. And, she invites us too!

But lest anyone feel they are unworthy to make such an offering, please know that you are then the most worthy. I quote Therese: Is the choice of me worthy of Love? Yes, for in order that Love should be fully satisfied, it needs to stoop down, to stoop down to Nothingness and to transform this Nothingness into FIRE.

So, the least and littlest and the poorest souls are those which allow God’s Love to soar to the heights in manifesting Its Greatness and Magnanimity.

So, little souls, let us not be afraid. Therese thought of us long ago: I beg You to choose in this world a multitude of little victims worthy of Your LOVE!!!

ACT OF OBLATION TO MERCIFUL LOVE

J.M.J.T.

Offering of myself as a Victim of Holocaust to God’s Merciful Love

O My God! Most Blessed Trinity, I desire to Love You and make You Loved, to work for the glory of Holy Church by saving souls on earth and liberating those suffering in purgatory. I desire to accomplish Your will perfectly and to reach the degree of glory You have prepared for me in Your Kingdom. I desire, in a word, to be a saint, but I feel my helplessness and I beg You, O my God! to be Yourself my Sanctity!

Since You loved me so much as to give me Your only Son as my Savior and my Spouse, the infinite treasures of His merits are mine. I offer them to You with gladness, begging You to look upon me only in the Face of Jesus and in His heart burning with Love.

I offer You, too, all the merits of the saints (in heaven and on earth), their acts of Love, and those of the holy angels. Finally, I offer You, O Blessed Trinity! the Love and merits of the Blessed Virgin, my dear Mother. It is to her I abandon my offering, begging her to present it to You. Her Divine Son, my Beloved Spouse, told us in the days of His mortal life: “Whatsoever you ask the Father in my name he will give it to you!” I am certain, then, that You will grant my desires; I know, O my God! that the more You want to give, the more You make us desire. I feel in my heart immense desires and it is with confidence I ask You to come and take possession of my soul. Ah! I cannot receive Holy Communion as often as I desire, but, Lord, are You not all-powerful? Remain in me as in a tabernacle and never separate Yourself from Your little victim.

I want to console You for the ingratitude of the wicked, and I beg of You to take away my freedom to displease You. If through weakness I sometimes fall, may Your Divine Glance cleanse my soul immediately, consuming all my imperfections like the fire that transforms everything into itself.

I thank You, O my God! for all the graces You have granted me, especially the grace of making me pass through the crucible of suffering. It is with joy I shall contemplate You on the Last Day carrying the sceptre of Your Cross. Since You deigned to give me a share in this very precious Cross, I hope in heaven to resemble You and to see shining in my glorified body the sacred stigmata of Your Passion.

After earth’s Exile, I hope to go and enjoy You in the Fatherland, but I do not want to lay up merits for heaven. I want to work for Your Love alone with the one purpose of pleasing You, consoling Your Sacred Heart, and saving souls who will love You eternally.

In the evening of this life, I shall appear before You with empty hands, for I do not ask You, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is stained in Your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in Your own Justice and to receive from Your Love the eternal possession of Yourself. I want no other Throne, no other Crown but You, my Beloved!

Time is nothing in Your eyes, and a single day is like a thousand years. You can, then, in one instant prepare me to appear before You.

In order to live in one single act of perfect Love, I OFFER MYSELF AS A VICTIM OF HOLOCAUST TO YOUR MERCIFUL LOVE, asking You to consume me incessantly, allowing the waves of infinite tenderness shut up within You to overflow into my soul, and that thus I may become a martyr of Your Love, O my God!

May this martyrdom, after having prepared me to appear before You, finally cause me to die and may my soul take its flight without any delay into the eternal embrace of Your Merciful Love.

I want, O my Beloved, at each beat of my heart to renew this offering to You an infinite number of times, until the shadows having disappeared I may be able to tell You of my Love in an Eternal Face to Face!

Marie, Francoise, Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, unworthy Carmelite religious.
This 9th day of June, Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, In the year of grace, 1895.

(All emphases by St. Therese)

Reproduced with permission from Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux, translated by John Clarke, O.C.D. Copyright 1975 by the Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc. Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications.

You are invited….by St. Therese

With the approach of the Feast of my beloved St. Therese on October 1, I decided to prepare by posting several articles from the archives which focus on her remarkable insights into God’s desire for souls to offer themselves as victims to His Merciful Love.

I plan to post twice on this topic each week until her Feast Day, with new posts on other subjects featured during this period as well.

I pray that many who read these posts on Therese may experience God’s call to become little victims of His Merciful Love. 

During Holy Mass on Trinity Sunday in 1895, twenty-two year old Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face was given a most remarkable insight into the Merciful Heart of God.

Therese was so overwhelmed by this new inspiration of the Holy Spirit that she immediately sought out the Prioress, her sister Pauline (Mother Agnes of Jesus), who later described Therese as appearing “aglow with excitement.”

What transpired between God and Therese on that Trinity Sunday can best be described in her own words, written six months later and recorded in her autobiography, The Story of a Soul:

..I was enabled to understand more clearly than ever before how Jesus longs to be loved.  I was thinking of those souls who offer themselves as victims to the Justice of God, so that, by drawing it down on themselves, they turn aside the punishment due to sinners.  I thought this a noble and generous offer, but I was a long way from feeling that I should make it myself.

From the depths of my heart, I cried, “O my Divine Master, must it be only Your Justice which has its victims?  Hasn’t Your Merciful Love need of them too?  It is everywhere rejected and ignored.  Those on whom You long to lavish It seek a wretched, fleeting happiness in other creatures instead of flinging themselves into Your arms and welcoming the flames of Your Divine Love.

Must Your rejected Love stay shut up in Your Heart?  It seems to me that if You found souls offering themselves as sacrificial victims of Your Love, You would consume them speedily and would rejoice to unloose those torrents of infinite tenderness You hold within Yourself.  If Your Justice must spend itself, though It is concerned only with the earth, how much more must Your Merciful Love long to inflame souls, since, “Thy Mercy reaches even to the Heavens..” 

O Jesus, let me be Your eager victim and consume Your little sacrifice in the Fire of Divine Love.

Therese motioned for her sister Celine (Sister Genevieve of St. Teresa) to follow her as she went to find Mother Agnes.  Celine described Therese as too overcome with emotion to speak.  When at last she had located the prioress, Therese was able to breathlessly explain that she wished to offer herself as “a victim of holocaust to the Merciful Love of God.”

For Therese, her discovery was no passing whim or pious dream.  Nor was it to be merely a lovely prayer or an unattainable desire.

To this pure and passionate soul, who had never wished for anything but His Happiness, God revealed that He desired a new kind of victim — one who would place no limits on the Love in which He burned to immerse her.

Therese knew that the greatest Joy of God is to give Himself away…to be a fountain of Mercy and Love to all of His children.

Years before, she had noticed in a picture of Jesus Crucified that His Precious Blood was falling to the ground with no one to receive it.  She determined then that she would remain at the foot of His Cross to receive His Blood, and through her love, prayers and sacrifices, she would distribute this Blood to sinners so in need of it.

Now she beheld her God with His Love “locked up” in His Heart, with so few willing to notice or care.  But her Beloved had revealed to His little spouse a remedy.

No, she would not be a victim of Divine Justice.  She would instead become a victim of Merciful Love, allowing those rejected torrents of Infinite Love to fall upon her, to consume her, and in the end, she wished to “die of love.”

As I will share in the next post, Therese had already reached the heights of sanctity in 1895, but she did not hesitate to invite the novices in her care to also make the same Offering….and at the end of one of the three manuscripts which compose her autobiography, she exclaims to Jesus: I beg You to choose in this world a multitude of little victims worthy of Your LOVE!!! (sic)

And that includes you, and me…

“Leave in me only fire..” Fr. Jean Petit

The following is an excerpt from a little book which has been my companion this Lent. The holy religious priest (now deceased) who penned these passionate words, did so under the order of his superiors. Throughout his writings, he refers often to Therese, and shares deep insights into her Act of Oblation to Merciful Love (which is printed at the back of the book). Two kindred souls, I would say. Two hearts aflame with love for God at a white-hot intensity which few of us are ever privileged to reach.

Yet, to draw near to these flaming souls is to dream of catching fire, imploring the Holy Spirit to plunge us too into the Furnace of His Divine Love!

 ________________________________________________________________________

In the heart of Your child,  
O Father, stir up only flames,
for the sake of the whole Mystical Body.

Here is my desire, my sole desire. I live for it; I will die for it. I will live for it through all eternity. It pursues me during the day and illuminates my night. It is my nourishment, my health, my passion, and my immense happiness:

To give myself credit for nothing, to feel my total incompetence, to possess nothing as mine; and in proportion to this voluntary and acknowledged weakness, to be totally bound to live Your Life, to be abandoned unreservedly to the One Who is eternal– to my Father, Who loves me beyond all measure, and to the Holy Trinity, Who burns to make me participate in Its Divine Life; to be totally bound to wait for the One Who possesses all and Who desires to give all. What unspeakable joy!

I know it. I feel it. Your fire, O my God, surrounds me, pierces me through, insinuates its way into the most intimate fibers of my heart, fills to overflowing the almost infinite caverns of my soul, and responds to my littleness by making me a participant of Your Divinity.

My lips speak of daily events; my eyes behold houses and trees; my ears hear conversations. But in all of this my heart sees only shadows and illusions. You alone, adorable Trinity, are the reality. It is You Whom I seek; it is You for Whom I thirst. Toward You alone my lips, my eyes, my hands, and my ears aspire…..

From the book: Descending Fire, The Journal of a Soul Aflame, compiled from the writings of Father John Petit (pseudonym)
pp. 114-115

Will you be a victim….of Love?

During Holy Mass on Trinity Sunday in 1895, twenty-two year old Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face was given a most remarkable insight into the Merciful Heart of God.

Therese was so overwhelmed by this new inspiration of the Holy Spirit that she immediately sought out the Prioress, her sister Pauline (Mother Agnes of Jesus), who later described Therese as appearing “aglow with excitement.”

What transpired between God and Therese on that Trinity Sunday can best be described in her own words, written six months later and recorded in her autobiography, The Story of a Soul:

..I was enabled to understand more clearly than ever before how Jesus longs to be loved.  I was thinking of those souls who offer themselves as victims to the Justice of God, so that, by drawing it down on themselves, they turn aside the punishment due to sinners.  I thought this a noble and generous offer, but I was a long way from feeling that I should make it myself.

From the depths of my heart, I cried, “O my Divine Master, must it be only Your Justice which has its victims?  Hasn’t Your Merciful Love need of them too?  It is everywhere rejected and ignored.  Those on whom You long to lavish It seek a wretched, fleeting happiness in other creatures instead of flinging themselves into Your arms and welcoming the flames of Your Divine Love.

Must Your rejected Love stay shut up in Your Heart?  It seems to me that if You found souls offering themselves as sacrificial victims of Your Love, You would consume them speedily and would rejoice to unloose those torrents of infinite tenderness You hold within Yourself.  If Your Justice must spend itself, though It is concerned only with the earth, how much more must Your Merciful Love long to inflame souls, since, “They Mercy reaches even to the Heavens..” 

O Jesus, let me be Your eager victim and consume Your little sacrifice in the Fire of Divine Love.

Therese motioned for her sister Celine (Sister Genevieve of St. Teresa) to follow her as she went to find Mother Agnes.  Celine described Therese as too overcome with emotion to speak.  When at last she had located the prioress, Therese was able to breathlessly explain that she wished to offer herself as “a victim of holocaust to the Merciful Love of God.”

For Therese, her discovery was no passing whim or pious dream.  Nor was it to be merely a lovely prayer or an unattainable desire.

To this pure and passionate soul, who had never wished for anything but His Happiness, God revealed that He desired a new kind of victim — one who would place no limits on the Love in which He burned to immerse her.

Therese knew that the greatest Joy of God is to give Himself away…to be a fountain of Mercy and Love to all of His children. 

Years before, she had noticed in a picture of Jesus Crucified that His Precious Blood was falling to the ground with no one to receive it.  She determined then that she would remain at the foot of His Cross to receive His Blood, and through her love, prayers and sacrifices, she would distribute this Blood to sinners so in need of it.

Now she beheld her God with His Love “locked up” in His Heart, with so few willing to notice or care.  But her Beloved had revealed to His little spouse a remedy.

No, she would not be a victim of Divine Justice.  She would instead become a victim of Merciful Love, allowing those rejected torrents of Infinite Love to fall upon her, to consume her, and in the end, she wished to “die of love.”     (to be continued..)

….With the approach of Therese’s glorious Feast on October 1, I very much wanted to share this “discovery” which meant so much to her.  I will continue this post shortly, and will include the magnificent Prayer of Offering which Therese composed and used to make this Oblation of herself to the Merciful Love of God.

It is an extraordinary prayer borne from a most generous inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  But it is also a gift to us.  For we too are invited to make this Offering.

As I will share in the next post, Therese had already reached the heights of sanctity in 1895, but she did not hesitate to invite the novices in her care to also make the same Offering….and at the end of one of the three manuscripts which compose her autobiography, she exclaims to Jesus:  I beg You to choose in this world a multitude of little victims worthy of Your LOVE!!!  (sic)

And that includes you, and me…