Monday, February 16, 2009

Spiritual Roses from I Believe In Love by Fr. Jean C. J. d'Elbee, a personal retreat based on St. Therese of Lisieux.

I'm blogging from this incredibly important book published in 1969 by a French priest who truly understood the spirituality of our dear little saint. Next to Story of a Soul, this book has been the most important for my carmelite spiritual journey. After reading it, I was able to focus and hold on to the truth that Jesus indeed loves me more than I will ever comprehend. Trust, trust, and more trust is the key to our spiritual growth. When we trust to the point of 'folly' Jesus rewards us with opportunities for more trust and sends us graces for our santification.





"This spiritual classic has long been beloved by Catholics for its wondrous distillation of the teaching of St. Thérèse of Lisieux into a reader-friendly set of meditations. It’s perfect as a personal retreat when you have only a few moments to spare each day — and for spiritual reading anytime and anywhere. Fr. Jean C. J. d’Elbée, a French priest deeply imbued with St. Thérèse’s spirit, brings you St. Thérèse’s teachings on God’s love and the confidence in Him that it should inspire in your soul; humility, peace, and fraternal charity; the apostolate; the Cross; and what it means truly to abandon yourself to Divine Providence. I Believe in Love has helped countless souls embark on the way to the Father. It will help you focus on Him throughout each day, rest in Him amid your troubles, and live joyfully with Him at every moment! " Excerpted from the back cover, published by Sophia Institute Press.


CHAPTER TWO - HUMBLE CONFIDENCE

"You must believe in the love of Jesus for you. Love calls for love. How do you give Jesus love for love? Before all and above all, by your confidence in Him.

This word, confidence, summarizes the three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity - sovereign virtues which bring all the others in their train. But if these are the highest virtues, then the greatest heroism is demanded of us in order to realize them in the face of the mystery of a 'hidden God.'

A man must be heroic to live always in faith, hope, and love. Why? Because, as a result of Original Sin, no one can be certain with the certainty of faith that he is saved, but only with a moral certainty based upon fidelity to grace; and because as sinners we are constantly tempted by doubts and anxiety.

It was in order to resolve this conflict between our desires and our powerlessness that Jesus came to earth and took our informities upon Himself. Little Therese understood that it is our state of misery which attracts His mercy.

Before her, St. Paul wrote, 'Gladly, therefore, will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.' 'I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.'
How profound is the theology of St. Paul! He glories in his infirmities; he rejoices in being weak, because Jesus is there.

For it is this confidence, and nothing but confidence, which will open the arms of Jesus to you so that He will bear you up. Confidence will be for you the golden key to His Heart.

In her desire to be holy, and comparing herself to the saints, St. Therese said that there was, between them and herself, the same difference as between a mountain whose summit is lost in the heavens and an obscure grain of sand, trampoled under the feed of passersby. Rather than becoming discouraged, she thought:

'The good God would not inspire unattainable desires; I can, then, in spite of my littleness, aspire to sanctity. For me to become greater is impossible; I must put up with myself just as I am with all my imperfections. But I wish to find the way to go to Heaven by a very straight, short, completely new little way. We are in a century of inventions; now one does not even have to take the trouble to climb the steps of a stairway; in the homes of the rich an elevator replaces them nicely. I, too, would like to find an elevator to lift me up to Jesus, for I am too little to climb the rough stairway of perfection.

So I have looked in the books of the saints for a sign of the elevator I long for, and I have read these words proceeding from the mount of eternal Wisdom: "He that is a little one, let him turn to me." So I came, knowing that I had found what I was seeking and wanting to know, O my God, what you would do with the little one who would answer Your call, and this is what I found:

"As one whom the mother caresses, so will I comfort you. You shall be carried at the breasts and upon the knees they shall caress you." Never have more tender words come to make my soul rejoice. The elevator which must raise me to the heavens is Your arms, O Jesus! For that I do not need to grow; on the contrary, I must necessarily remail small, become smaller. O my God, You have surpassed what I expected, and I want to sing Your mercies.'

All the theology of little Therese, which echoes that of St. Paul, is summarized and put at our disposal in these lines, on which we could meditate endlessly without exhausting their richness.

What I cannot do myself Jesus will do. He will take me and lift me up to the summit of the mountain of perfection, to the summit of the mountain of love." chapter two continued in the next blog.

St. Therese, open our hearts to your little way. Teach us to throw ourselves into the arms of Our Lord, casting away all doubt and fear and accepting all that He sends us as graces for the salvation of our souls.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

+

Hello, Cynthia.

May God be praised! You are finally back!

I never gave up on you. I have visited your site EVERY DAY since your last post (two years ago), in order to read the prayer at the bottom of the February 27 post. Thank you for not shutting down your blog during the last 24 months.

God bless you.
John

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Cynthia Kerr said...

Today is a very special day...I've started blogging again and have received such a beautiful grace in the form of a posting from anonymous. I must allow Jesus to use me as He wills.. I have struggled so much since the closing of my catholic store. Our dear little saint has been tugging at me...I know I'm supposed to be helping spread her message of spiritual childhood through her 'little way'...her little way is all confidence and love.