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…

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8 thoughts on “You are invited….by St. Therese

  1. Thank you for this post Patricia! She is such an amazing saint. To be a victim of Merciful Love, to be consumed by that love and to “die of love.” Wow….what an example to try and follow, emphasis on TRY. Only by prayer and our Lord’s intercession for sure. I am looking forward to the next post about St Therese. Your writing about her is so lovely and such a gift honoring her I am certain she is smiling down on you. Many blessing for you dear lady…

    • Hi Cynthia. Yes, Therese is amazing, isn’t she? I love how she was so little and yet so bold in her desires. Have you read the text of her Offering to Merciful Love? I will post it next week. It’s so very beautiful. There is also a volume of her poetry available…just so lovely and again, so typical of her. I truly wish I could read the French edition. At least the translator spared us trying to incorporate the rhyme into English. 🙂 Peace and blessings, Cynthia!

    • Rebecca, I’ve noticed you are “back,” and have been reading your beautiful posts on Peace. Thank you! Yes, I love Therese’s concept of God’s Love “needing” victims. I could never be brave enough to want to be a vicim ot Justice! I think Therese’s understanding revealed her great insight into the tenderness of God’s Heart. So profound how she thought of His rejected Love being “locked up” in His Heart, and how awful that would be….having no release. “Consume me unceasingly….” So beautiful! Love in Carmel to you,my sister.

  2. Patricia,
    Here is where I will come to prepare for St Therese’s feast day…: )
    I’m so glad you will post on your dear patroness, for certainly you have inherited and well imitate her desire to see the Lord “locked up” in your heart.

    There is such depth in her I can’t hardly take it in when I read it. She was such a “pure and passionate soul’ and more importantly she knew how to channel it so that– rather than let the fire blaze out of control– she channeled it properly and look at the fruit it continues to bear.

    Love and Blessings always + .

    • Caroline, I love that Therese truly invites all of us to imitate her in her Offering to Merciful Love. She was a most pure and exquisite soul…although at the time, she had no idea just HOW BEAUTIFUL she truly was to God. But, she knew she was well on the road to perfection. She always said that “humility is truth,” and so never thought herself to be a great sinner. But, she knew that even the most lowly and impoverished soul should run to God and offer themself as a victim of Love as well. She understood that Love is at its greatest when it reaches down to those least worthy..and as she said, transforms them into fire. I love her! 😉 Love you too xoxo!

  3. Patricia,

    I read your post a couple of days ago but I was using my tablet. I hate commenting without a proper keyboard. I tend to say as little as possible! Anyway, I have returned!

    I have been thinking about St Therese a lot too recently, especially as we head towards her feast day. I’m reading for the millionth time Fr D’Elbee’s book I Believe in Love. When I finish reading it, I always go back and start from the beginning again! St Therese has so much to teach us and this book really explains her words so well.

    I remember shortly after Thomas died, I was given a prayer card which was actually an offering of one’s self to suffer for the salvation of souls. Oh I wanted so much to be able to do that. Nothing is more important than saving souls, but… I was already suffering so much I couldn’t imagine suffering for the rest of my life. I was so scared of making this offering. I didn’t feel strong enough to be a victim in this way. Anyway, it wasn’t long after this that I met St Therese! I suppose when we are victims of Love we can actually suffer for the salvation of souls. We are able to do anything if we have Love.

    Patricia, I hope you’re feeling better. Praying for you!

  4. Sue, I have I Believe in Love also. I haven’t read it in years, so maybe it’s time to take it out again and read with you 🙂 It was funny how I came to buy it many years ago. I was in an old Catholic bookstore and the books were all mixed up so it was hard to know where to look. I started praying to the Holy Spirit to help me find a good book, and suddenly I saw that little face sketched on the cover (if yours has the same cover as mine!) I thought the face was familiar, and then I realized it was Therese as a child. And…I knew I had the perfect book! And so it was.

    “We are able to do anything if we have Love.” Isn’t that so true? Like St. Paul says: Love never ends. Therese was so excited to realize that it wasn’t victims of His Justice that God longed for, but rather victims of Love….who would allow Him to pour out those “pent up torrents.” When I see the great glory He has bestowed on Therese…almost beyond any given to all but a few other Saints, it makes me think that He wants the world to follow her little way of Love.

    Therese said that she would never ask for more suffering, because she might not be strong enough. But if she just let God choose, He would have to supply the strength for what He gave her. I love her simplicity.

    I’m glad you didn’t ask for more suffering. You have such a heavy cross already. You are such a beautiful person. God loves you so very much! xoxo
    PS Yes, I’m feeling better. Thank you so much for your prayers!!! 🙂

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