Therese invites you to Love….

 I beg You to choose in this world a multitude of little victims worthy of Your LOVE!!! (sic)

In my previous post, Will you be a victim…of Love, I shared the account of how Therese had been seized with the desire to offer herself as a victim to the Merciful Love of God.

Therese saw her Offering as a means to relieve the suffering of God Whose Love must remain pent up within His Heart, because It is rejected and refused by so many.. Enlightened by the Holy Spirit, she resolved to offer herself to be “consumed unceasingly” by this torrent of Love. Her dream was to become a true “holocaust” of Divine Love, being so burned up within these Flames, that she would eventually become “a martyr to Your Love, O my God!”

But Therese knew immediately that this revelation from the Most Tender Heart of God was not given for herself alone. Only moments after having received the inspiration during Mass on Trinity Sunday, 1895, she shared the invitation with two of her blood sisters, Celine (Sister Genevieve of St. Teresa),  and Pauline (Mother Agnes of Jesus), who were nuns in the same monastery. In fact, Pauline was then serving as prioress.

Later, Therese invited the novices in her care to make the Offering as well. She also tracked down her other blood sister, Marie, (Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart) while she was working in the garden one day. Marie at first protested, thinking that to make such an Offering would be to invite additional suffering and punishment upon herself.

But Therese gently explained that was not the case: I do understand what you are saying, but to offer oneself to love is an entirely different thing to offering oneself to His Justice. One does not suffer more. It is a matter only of loving God more for those who do not love Him.

As in most things, Therese was victorious, and Marie agreed to also become a victim of Merciful Love.

Hence, Therese offers to each of us the same invitation….to love God for those who refuse to love Him… to remain beneath His Heart, and allow ourselves to be immersed in the waves of Tenderness pouring forth from that Divine Heart, so grateful for release. For to love God is most of all about allowing Him to love us.

“…..for God loves to be love, and love is His Ecstasy, His Life in the Trinity, His Mystery, and the Secret of His gratuitous creation, of redemption and of heaven.”  (from With Empty Hands, the message of St. Therese of Lisieux, by Conrad De Meester)

But now, let us return to June 9, 1895. And afterward, we shall see what God’s response to Therese’s Offering was…

Therese, accompanied by Celine, had explained to the prioress, that she wished to offer herself as a victim to the Merciful Love of God.  Mother Agnes, having such respect for the holiness of her little sister, immediately gave her consent.

Therese then set herself to the task of composing what truly must be one of the most beautiful prayers ever written by a Saint. It seems she wished to leave out nothing from her Offering, and so she proceeds to ask for all that Love can give.

Two days later, on June 11, Therese and her sister Celine, knelt before the statue of the Virgin of the Smile, and Therese read the Prayer of Offering that she had composed.

She neither asked for nor expected any sign from God in response to her offering.  She always sought the little, simple and hidden way in her life….the way of little souls.  Unlike her Holy Founders, St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross, lofty mystical experiences were not part of Therese’s life.  In fact, almost her entire nine years in Carmel were spent in a state of spiritual dryness.

However, on Friday, June 14, while alone in the chapel making the Way of the Cross, Therese suddenly found herself seized with a Love for God which burned so intensely that she thought she would die. I was on fire with love, and I felt that one moment, one second more, and I would not have been able to bear this burning without dying.

Her Divine Spouse had deigned to manifest to His little victim that He was indeed pleased with her Offering to His Merciful Love.

Theresian scholars describe this experience as the consummation of the Mystical Marriage or Transforming Union, the final stage of the spiritual journey and the deepest union with God one can experience this side of Heaven.

As for Therese, she said only that she believed God had confirmed His acceptance of her Offering.  Out of obedience, she disclosed the mystical experience to her prioress, but then said no more about it.

As for her Offering, she carried the written copy over her heart for the rest of her life, and she repeated the words often, even on her death-bed.

Her great dream had been to die of love for God, and one can hardly doubt that she did.

After months of unbearable suffering from the ravages of tuberculosis, when it seemed her death agony would drag on for hours, she picked up her crucifix and gazed at it tenderly, uttering with her last breath:

Oh, I love Him!  My God, I love Thee!

(Tomorrow I will post  the Prayer Therese wrote to offer herself as a victim of Holocaust to the Merciful Love of God.  Those who feel called are invited to follow her in this little way of LOVE).

Not with silver or with gold….

(From archives of April, 2011)

Jesus, Your Blood!  Why am I thinking so much of Your Blood?  Your Blood, so Precious, poured out for me, even from the deepest recesses of Your Divine Heart.  Blood from Your head, Your hands, Your feet, Your Beautiful Face. Was there no part of You that did not bleed for me?

Divine Blood, all for me…. soaking the wood of the cross, spilling down onto the ground.

Your eyes, gazing far into the future, seeing me and my sins. Your cry, “I thirst,” was a cry for my love. As You hung there covered in Your Blood, You hoped I would notice, would care, when the time came.

You would not drink the vinegar and bitter wine offered to You. You were looking down through the centuries, calling to me, as to the Samaritan woman: “Give Me to drink.”

Love alone can quench Your Thirst, this THIRST of Your Entire Being!

Your Blood, O Jesus! It is my Drink. Unbelievably, You nourish me on Your Own Flesh and Blood.  Divine Food, Transforming Food, given that I might partake more and more of Your Divine Nature.

jesus crucify

O Jesus, Buyer of souls! You Who own the universe, could You pay no Price but that of Your Own Divine Blood?  Measure of YOUR LOVE for us!

While I’m away…….

My sweet husband is taking me on a little Valentine’s getaway trip, so I will be away for a few days.

I chose a favorite post from last summer , to share again while I’m gone. And, I could think of nothing more beautiful to leave behind in my absence than a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Love to all of my blog friends…..and enjoy the holiday!

PS  I apologize for not having time to respond to a few comments before leaving, but I will do so when I return.  I cherish every comment, and especially the thoughtfulness and effort which goes into each one.  Thank you  all!

Love,
Patricia

 ________________________________________________________________

“Behold this Heart Which has so loved men, but which is so little loved in return.”

Will you love Me in return?

Will you choose Me above all others?

Confide in Me all your joys and sorrows?

Will you allow Me to love you as completely as I desire?

Will you rest your head upon My breast?

Will you believe in My Tenderness, in My Mercy?

Will you trust Me with everything?

Will you permit Me to embrace you at every moment of your life?

Will you believe that I never leave you?

Will you think of Me often throughout your day?

Will you plan “surprises” for Me? (I love when you wish to do something very special for love of Me.)

Will you receive Me with joy and with reverence in My Sacrament of Love?

Will you look at Me alone during those sweet moments when your little heart is joined to My Flaming One?

Will you visit Me in a chapel or church where I wait as a Prisoner of Love?

For love of Me, will you love your enemies?

Will you embrace those who hurt you and cause you sorrow?

Will you still smile at Me through your tears?

When all seems lost and broken in life, will you still trust Me?

Will you believe that I love you more than the infinite worlds I could have created?

Do you know I love you as if there were no one else to love?

Will you share every moment of your life with Me?

Will you tell Me of your love in a thousand different ways?

May I be the first One you think of in the morning, and the last One you remember as you drift off to sleep?

Will you believe in My Love? For I love you more than your most daring dreams could ever imagine!

O My precious child, if only you could know how much I love you, and how I long for you to love me in return! I could have created you such that you would have no choice but to love me. But, like all lovers, I yearn to be desired and sought and chosen. And so I made you free, so that you could choose to love me – or not.

There are so few who truly love Me. There are so many who give Me not one glance or one word for months and years, and yet I still wait for them. I am cursed and blasphemed and hated by those I only seek to love and lavish my gifts upon.

You at least, will you love Me? Will you try to make up for the others? Even pray for their salvation so that they too will love me one day? You see? I am a Divine Beggar, Who so thirsts for love!

O come to me, My child. Embrace me and permit Me to carry you in My Sacred and Merciful Heart all the days of your life, until at last I can pour out upon you the torrents of Love I must restrain now, lest they sweep you away in your frailty.

Please love Me, my Child. I died for your love!

And the last shall be first….

Most Beautiful God,
I adore You!
I love Who You Are.
I love Your Love for
The least among us–
But greatest in Your Eyes,
Those whom we often
Judge, shun, and despise.

I love Your Love
For Mary Magdalen, Zaccheaus
And the man born blind.
I love that You command us
to see You
In our brothers and sisters,
That You place such worth
On lowliness.

I love
The Mystery of You,
The Beauty of You,
The Wisdom of You.
I love that
You are Humility
Even though
You are LORD!

Jesus among us…..yesterday, today and forever!

JESUS…The Wonder of You!

I see You walking along dusty roads with Your disciples, Your hair blowing in the wind; Your eyes squinting at the sunlight. I see You eating and drinking and sleeping, just as I do.

And I am in awe!

You are God! You are the Alpha and the Omega; the Beginning and the End. You are Mighty God and Prince of Peace.
You are Lord of All. Yet, You have chosen to be also truly One of us.

In Your Adorable Person dwell both Perfect Humanity and Perfect Divinity.

I am fascinated! And I shall be lost in loving You, My Perfect One, for all eternity.

O Wisdom so Beautiful! O Mercy so Tender! O Goodness so Sublime!

My nothingness adores Your All!

Tonight, from a back pew at Mass, I watched at the Agnus Dei as Father raised Jesus, and we sang the sweet strains of “Lamb of God…”

My eyes filled with tears as I gazed at the True Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world…and I thought of what He was about to do.

I watched as people began to fill the aisle and form two lines, but not just people….God’s beloved children. In the priest’s hands, Jesus waited to become our Food. He waited with such Love, such Longing, such Thirst for us. Just as He had poured out Himself on the Cross, so now He would also pour out His Entire Being to become One with each of us.

What kind of God does such a thing? Hides His Glory beneath a tiny Host and allows Himself to be consumed by anyone who approaches Him?

My mind drifted back to a talk I had heard this morning, on the Humility of God, and how Satan so hated God for becoming Incarnate….a mere Man. But, the priest had continued, how much more does the devil hate the Holy Eucharist, for God’s Humility reaches Its most Sublime Expression when He assumes the appearance of mere bread that He might feed the children He loves with such Infinite Tenderness…with His Own Flesh and Blood.

And now, I too was in line…awaiting the Food of my soul, the Living Bread come down from Heaven. The Bread which gives eternal life. Food for the journey. His Glorified Body. His Real Presence. His Beating Heart. What wonders, what miracles take place in our souls when we receive Jesus with love. What joy for Him to be loved by His poor little ones. As Therese taught:  His Love reaches Its Height, when It touches lowliness with Its Fire.

Father, help me to love Your Son,
Jesus, teach me to love Your Father,
Holy Spirit, inflame me with love for
My Triune God!

Therese invites you to Love….

 I beg You to choose in this world a multitude of little victims worthy of Your LOVE!!! (sic)

In my previous post, Will you be a victim…of Love, I shared the account of how Therese had been seized with the desire to offer herself as a victim to the Merciful Love of God.

Therese saw her Offering as a means to relieve the suffering of God Whose Love must remain pent up within His Heart, because It is rejected and refused by so many.. Enlightened by the Holy Spirit, she resolved to offer herself to be “consumed unceasingly” by this torrent of Love. Her dream was to become a true “holocaust” of Divine Love, being so burned up within these Flames, that she would eventually become “a martyr to Your Love, O my God!”

But Therese knew immediately that this revelation from the Most Tender Heart of God was not given for herself alone. Only moments after having received the inspiration during Mass on Trinity Sunday, 1895, she shared the invitation with two of her blood sisters, Celine (Sister Genevieve of St. Teresa),  and Pauline (Mother Agnes of Jesus), who were nuns in the same monastery. In fact, Pauline was then serving as prioress.

Later, Therese invited the novices in her care to make the Offering as well. She also tracked down her other blood sister, Marie, (Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart) while she was working in the garden one day. Marie at first protested, thinking that to make such an Offering would be to invite additional suffering and punishment upon herself.

But Therese gently explained that was not the case: I do understand what you are saying, but to offer oneself to love is an entirely different thing to offering oneself to His Justice. One does not suffer more. It is a matter only of loving God more for those who do not love Him.

As in most things, Therese was victorious, and Marie agreed to also become a victim of Merciful Love.

Hence, Therese offers to each of us the same invitation….to love God for those who refuse to love Him… to remain beneath His Heart, and allow ourselves to be immersed in the waves of Tenderness pouring forth from that Divine Heart, so grateful for release. For to love God is most of all about allowing Him to love us. 

“…..for God loves to be love, and love is His Ecstasy, His Life in the Trinity, His Mystery, and the Secret of His gratuitous creation, of redemption and of heaven.”  (from With Empty Hands, the message of St. Therese of Lisieux, by Conrad De Meester)

But now, let us return to June 9, 1895. And afterward, we shall see what God’s response to Therese’s Offering was…

Therese, accompanied by Celine, had explained to the prioress, that she wished to offer herself as a victim to the Merciful Love of God.  Mother Agnes, having such respect for the holiness of her little sister, immediately gave her consent.

Therese then set herself to the task of composing what truly must be one of the most beautiful prayers ever written by a Saint. It seems she wished to leave out nothing from her Offering, and so she proceeds to ask for all that Love can give.

Two days later, on June 11, Therese and her sister Celine, knelt before the statue of the Virgin of the Smile, and Therese read the Prayer of Offering that she had composed.

She neither asked for nor expected any sign from God in response to her offering.  She always sought the little, simple and hidden way in her life….the way of little souls.  Unlike her Holy Founders, St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross, lofty mystical experiences were not part of Therese’s life.  In fact, almost her entire nine years in Carmel were spent in a state of spiritual dryness.

However, on Friday, June 14, while alone in the chapel making the Way of the Cross, Therese suddenly found herself seized with a Love for God which burned so intensely that she thought she would die. I was on fire with love, and I felt that one moment, one second more, and I would not have been able to bear this burning without dying.

Her Divine Spouse had deigned to manifest to His little victim that He was indeed pleased with her Offering to His Merciful Love.

Theresian scholars describe this experience as the consummation of the Mystical Marriage or Transforming Union, the final stage of the spiritual journey and the deepest union with God one can experience this side of Heaven.

As for Therese, she said only that she believed God had confirmed His acceptance of her Offering.  Out of obedience, she disclosed the mystical experience to her prioress, but then said no more about it. 

As for her Offering, she carried the written copy over her heart for the rest of her life, and she repeated the words often, even on her death-bed.

Her great dream had been to die of love for God, and one can hardly doubt that she did.

After months of unbearable suffering from the ravages of tuberculosis, when it seemed her death agony would drag on for hours, she picked up her crucifix and gazed at it tenderly, uttering with her last breath:

Oh, I love Him!  My God, I love Thee!

(Tomorrow I will post  the Prayer Therese wrote to offer herself as a victim of Holocaust to the Merciful Love of God.  Those who feel called are invited to follow her in this little way of LOVE).

Love’s photograph…..


Painting by Francisco de Zurbaran

Occasionally, I enter a Catholic church where I can find no visible crucifix.  Instead, there is sometimes displayed the confusing (to me) image of Our Risen Lord on a cross.  And I am saddened.  I need my Crucified Savior.

When I raise my eyes and behold my Crucified Jesus, I am captivated by the look of total peace and submission on His Face.  He is incomparably beautiful in this moment when He drew His last breath to accomplish our salvation.  My heart melts at the sight of the Son of God, so innocent, so pure, and yet completely yielded to the instrument of His torture, because as He said, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to Myself.”  It is the yearning of His Heart that we would look upon Him and see Love —  Love poured out for us.

In my breviary, I keep a beautiful picture of Jesus Crucified.  I turn to it, especially when I am sad, or worried, or lukewarm in love for Him.  In this little picture, I find an encounter with Jesus.  I love to ponder His Wounds, tracing them with my finger, pausing at each precious One, trying to comprehend what my salvation cost Him.  We seem alone, Jesus and I, in these moments…

I savor the feeling of a devotional sized crucifix in my hands.  While tenderly kissing the wounds of Jesus represented on this sacramental, I never doubt the He, Who so longs to be loved, is consoled by my poor efforts to quench that Divine Thirst.  He is so gracious, that He is grateful for the least sign of affection from His children.

St. Therese had great devotion to the crucifix.  She loved to adorn her personal one with fresh flowers — sometimes plucking them and “wiping” the wounds of Jesus with the petals.

In the monastery garden, she often led the novices in her care, to gather only the freshest rose petals to toss at the large crucifix erected there.

One of my favorite crucifixes is located in the church of my childhood –St. Dominic’s in New Orleans.  It is larger than life, and cast in bronze.  It hangs in the rear of the church, where one can light candles and kneel closely, at length, in prayer and meditation.

Gazing upon this crucifix, I always feel transported back in time to the hill of Calvary.   Because of the size of the corpus, the wounds of Jesus are riveting.  But, it is the expression on His Adorable Face which totally captivates me.  He is exhausted.  The pain is overwhelming.  He has reached the limit of what He can bear.  Yet, His Face is suffused by a look of total surrender, and an ineffable gentleness and goodness.  He is irresistible.

Yet, such beauty is only the work of an artist.  What must have been the breathtaking loveliness of the Divine Countenance as the true Lamb of God approached death!

Behind the altar in my current parish church hangs a beautiful wooden carved crucifix.  On Good Friday, it is carried in procession, and carefully laid on a platform in front of the sanctuary.  Everyone present is then invited to come up, and individually venerate this crucifix which is so especially our own.

The first time this was done, I stood by the statue of Our Lady, watching in awe.  The faithful approached by the hundreds, each expressing their love and tenderness in a personal way.  Many kissed the feet of Jesus.  Others pressed their lips to the wound in His side.  Some kissed or caressed His cheek.  Others kissed the wounds in His hands.

Standing near Mary’s statue, I was reminded of what she endured on that first Good Friday.  I imagined her in my own church now, standing beside the crucifix, witnessing such a very different scene than the one 2000 years ago.  I felt that all of Heaven must have fallen silent to watch these good people come forward in reverence and homage to cover Jesus with a thousand kisses.  They stooped; they knelt; they reached for Him.  They loved Him.

I thank God and the Church for the treasure of the crucifix.  While it is true that Jesus suffers no more, may we never, ever forget the extravagance of His Love for us!  The crucifix is like a photograph of that Love.  If we look upon it, it will remind us of our worth in Our Father’s eyes.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16)

Thank You, Jesus.  We love You, Jesus!

A King’s Ransom……..

In my thanksgiving after Holy Communion today, I found myself consumed with how completely I am owned by God.

The Price He paid overwhelmed me, as I recalled the Stations of the Cross, His Holy Face pressed into the dust and rock as the Cross fell heavily upon His scourged Body. More blows from the soldiers as He struggled first to His knees, and then to His feet….for me.

Before me was the Crucifix where I could see the nails, the nakedness, the agony, the forsakenness. Heart racing, lungs burning, muscles cramping, Blood spilling, cold sweat….Tears.

Within me, the Sacred Host. Jesus dwelling in nothingness, wretchedness, yet robing me in the Grace He had purchased with so much suffering.

I am motionless. How does one move when they contain within their dust not the universe, but the One Who made the universe? Not a pure and sacred thing, but Holiness Itself? Not a king, but a God Who is King of all kings?

How do I breathe? Why am I not annihilated by such Glory, such Majesty, such burning Purity?

“You are Mine,” Jesus said. “I paid the price. I paid more than the cost. I gave Everything. I gave All. Now no one or nothing else can ever claim you, for I gave my last drop of Blood….for you.

No one can pay more. But you can refuse my Love. You are free to love me…or not.”

I am lost in the Love I cannot comprehend, in what He chose to give in exchange for me — not an ocean of precious jewels or a mountain of gold or even a thousand universes! But His Own Blood, His Own Life is what He chose to give.

I am confused by the extravagance of my worth.

Where do I go?

What do I do?

How can I love enough?

The Host rests within me.

We are one.

And Jesus says:

“Do not fear.

My Love has made you worth

everything to Me.

And I will live in you,

And I will love in you,

And together we will go,

When the time comes…

Always together,

For you are Mine.”

I have loved you with an Everlasting Love – Jeremiah 31:3

My Dearest Father, have I always been with You?

Was I not conceived in Love throughout all eternity? Did I not dwell in Your Heart from everlasting to everlasting? Loving Father, did You not tenderly cherish the idea, the thought of me for as long as You have been, which is always?

Never in Your eternal existence have You been without the desire for me. I have been loved eternally as You awaited the moment when You would breathe life into me, and I could grow into someone who could return Your Love.

Did the thought of my coming thrill Your Heart?

My Father, I have always been with You. Your divine Heart was the first womb that sheltered me. In silence, You caressed me with loving gazes. Then, one day, Your Love reached out in time and brought me into existence.

O Eternal Father, I have not always known You, but You have always known me. And, my dear, dear Abba, I have always been Your beloved child.

“But as for you, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:30

I read yesterday that God is truly, completely, absolutely, Our Father. Our existence comes forth from Him.  He gives His Own Life to us. He is really Our Father — much more than our earthly fathers could ever be.

How beautiful to call God “FATHER” — not just as a title, but as a true relationship.

This is a truth of our faith which we can never completely comprehend or exhaust.  We must return to it again and again to allow God to reveal its wonders, its heights and depths, and privilege beyond all imagining.

I recall with joy how I knew and cherished every inch of my son’s tiny body when he was an infant. I loved the sweet smell of his hair, the softness of his tiny feet, and the roundness of his baby tummy. There was never a scratch or a rash or a mark of any kind which escaped my notice. Caressed, kissed, rocked, this tiny child drew never before known streams of delight and tenderness from my heart.

Are we not consumed with love for our own children — intoxicated by our babies? So also God is intoxicated with us.  More than intoxicated – “madly in love” so say the Saints.

 We are His precious little ones.

Therese reserved for herself in Heaven the very “lap” of God.  She dreamed of the day when she would be able to climb up, and play on the knees of the Almighty One.

If we seek to become a little child like Therese, we will be humble and reverent, but also delighted that we are so loved by Our Father.  If we approach Him as a child, He will permit us intimacies which even the angels do not enjoy.

Once, when I was feeling sad and lonely, I said to God:  “Oh how I wish You could give me a hug!”  Immediately I heard in my heart, so clearly and tenderly, “I am always hugging you.” 

If the very hairs of our head are counted, as Jesus tells us, then can we doubt that we too are being kissed and caressed and rocked in the arms of God – “always.”

 (See below for related idea expressed much more eloquently by the great Saint and Doctor of the Church) 

St. Catherine of Siena prayer to the Trinity:

“How, then, did you create, O Eternal Father, this your creature? […] Fire constrained you. O ineffable love, even though in your light you saw all the iniquities, which your creature would commit against your infinite goodness, you looked as if you did not see, but rested your sight on the beauty of your creature, whom you, as mad and drunk with love, fell in love with and out of love you drew her to yourself giving her being in your image and likeness. You, eternal truth, have declared to me your truth, that is, that loved constrained you to create her.”