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).