Abandonment to Jesus

Per ipsum et cum ipso et in ipso: through Jesus, with Jesus, and in Jesus.

“Without me, you can do nothing.”

“With You, Jesus, I can do all things.”

Renew these thoughts which bind you to Him and which plunge you into the abyss of love which is His Heart. The logical and necessary consequence of the complete confidence which I have preached to you until now is total abandonment.

Since it is through Jesus that everything must be accomplished, the more I let Him do, the more the work of grace will be beautiful and perfect.

What is this work of grace? The transformation of our souls into Jesus through love. St. Thomas shows us, after St. Augustine, that the Eucharist transforms our souls into Jesus through love. It is there that I find the definition of sanctity, the final word, if I may put it that way, of our divine predestination.

Jesus transforms us into Himself. Our intelligence is no longer our intelligence, but His: we see things as He sees them. Our will is no longer our will but His: we will what He wills, and we reject what He rejects. Our heart is no lon­ger our heart, but the Heart of Jesus: we love what He loves, and we detest what He detests.

“And I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me.” Mihi vivere Christus est: “For me, to live is Christ.”

Perhaps you will say to me, “You claim that we are continually transformed more and more into Him, but I do not notice it; I cannot put my finger on it. And even, some days, seeing myself so miserable, I am tempted to believe the contrary.”

Yet, do you not see things more than ever as He does? Of course, you do. Do you not want what He wants, more every day? Of course, you do. I am sure that today, more than ever, you want to love Him and make Him loved, with a will even more sincere, even more profound, with a desire even more sure than ever, although perhaps not felt. You would not say, “I have less desire to love Him and make Him loved than yesterday.”

What trips us up is that we mistake sensible fervor for sanctity. But it is not. Sanctity is a disposition of soul, ani­mated by grace, which is the life of the soul, under the ac­tion of infused virtues and under the influence of the gifts of the Holy Spirit; a disposition to belong to Jesus more than ever, to accomplish His will, to know Him and make Him known, to love Him and make Him loved more.

He looks much more at what we are than at what we do; and we are, in His eyes, what we sincerely want to be for Him.

We understand now why so many Communions — those Communions which transform us into Him — do not bring us all the supernatural fruits they could. We open our arms to Him, yet we close the doors of our intelligence, of our will, of our heart, by not living in this abandonment. We bid Him come, but we do not permit Him to enter. But if, in receiving Him, we grant Him, by perfect abandonment, all the controls, all the keys to the house, that He may be Master in us with full liberty to act, then, oh! what marvels will His omnipotence not accomplish in our souls in the service of His love!

Rightly Understood

Abandonment, rightly understood, includes everything. It requires a great humility, since it is submission of ourselves to creatures and events, seeing Jesus Himself in them. It requires an immense faith, confidence every moment, to tear open the veil of secondary causes, to break through the screen of creatures which too often prevents us from seeing Jesus behind them, who governs everything, since nothing — nothing — happens without His having willed or permitted it.

Abandonment is nothing but obedience pushed to its extreme, since it consists of submission to everything within the limits of the possible and the reasonable, in order to obey God, who has foreseen and willed it all.

Finally, it is in abandonment that our great desires find their perfect fulfillment. I spoke to you of the splendid pas­sage from little Thérèse where she says that she would have liked to “enlighten souls as did the prophets and doctors, to encircle the earth and announce the Gospel unto the remot­est islands, to have been a missionary since the creation of the world and to be one until the consummation of the world, to have suffered all martyrdoms.”

She finds the means to realize all that by being the love in the heart of the Church, her Mother. And how was she the love in the heart of the holy Church? By living in com­plete conformity with the will of God, who is nothing but Love.

To live with abandonment is to rediscover a perfect har­mony in God; for, after all, it is God, it is Jesus, who writes all the lines, all the words, and all the letters of our lives. It is striking to see how the sanctity of all the saints is con­summated in total abandonment. All their efforts, all their prayers, all the lights which they have received from Heaven, have led them to this.

When our Lord makes some reproach to the saints, to St. Gertrude, to St. Margaret Mary, for example, it is most often their lack of abandonment which He laments.

St. Margaret Mary, shortly before her death, wrote that she had finally understood what He expected of her when He said to her, “Let me do it.” “His Sacred Heart,” she wrote, “will do everything for me if I let Him. He shall will, He shall love, He shall desire for me and make up for all my faults.”

Like St. Margaret Mary, you may hear Jesus a hundred times a day, saying to you, “Let me do it.” In your difficulties, in your problems, in all those things in your daily life which are sometimes so difficult, so distressing, when you ask your­self, “What shall I do? How shall I do it?” listen to Him say­ing to you, “Let me do it.” And then answer Him, “O Jesus, I thank You for all things.” And it will be the most beautiful dialogue of love between a soul and the all-powerful and all-loving God!

Little Thérèse came in this way to the point of no longer having any other desire than to love Jesus to the point of “foolishness”:

I desire neither suffering nor death, yet I love both; but it is love alone which attracts me. Now it is aban­donment alone which guides me. I have no other compass.

My heart is full of the will of Jesus. Ah, if my soul were not already filled with His will, if it had to be filled by the feelings of joy and sadness which follow each other so quickly, it would be a tide of very bitter sorrow. But these alternatives do nothing but brush across my soul. I always remain in a profound peace which nothing can trouble. If the Lord offered me the choice, I would not choose anything: I want nothing but what He wants. It is what He does that I love. I acknowledge that it took me a long time to bring myself to this degree of abandonment. Now I have reached it, for the Lord took me and put me there.

Yes, I ask the Lord to take you, also, and to put you there, in the depths of His Heart!

This simple abandonment is the peak of holiness, the peak of love. When St. Teresa of Avila, in the Interior Castle, speaks of the spiritual marriage, the culminating point of the mystical life, she depicts it as a union of likeness in charity. “Such is the ineffable ardor with which the souls desire that the will of God be accomplished in them that they are equally satisfied with anything which it pleases the Divine Spouse to command.”

By: FR. JEAN C. J. D’ELBÉE

Link: http://catholicexchange.com/abandonment-jesus

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Pope to Georgian Catholics: imitate St. Therese’s ‘little way’

It’s important to follow the example of St. Therese’s “little way,” trusting in God and his consolation with the faith a small child, Pope Francis said Saturday, which marked the feast of the young saint and Doctor of the Church.

Quoting from her autobiography, he said St. Therese “shows her ‘little way’ to God, the trust of a little child who falls asleep without fear in his Father’s arms, because ‘Jesus does not demand great actions from us, but simply surrender and gratitude.’”

“To receive God’s love we need this littleness of heart: only little ones can be held in their mothers’ arms,” the Pope said during his homily at M. Meskhi Stadium in Tbilisi, Georgia Oct. 1.

“Here in Georgia there are a great number of grandmothers and mothers who unceasingly defend and pass on the faith,” he said, adding that they “bring the fresh water of God’s consolation to countless situations of barrenness and conflict.”

Tbilisi is the Pope’s first stop during his Sept. 30-Oct. 2 visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan. Expected to largely focus on the topics of peace, ecumenism, and interreligious dialogue, the trip is seen as a conclusion of his Caucasus tour, following his visit to Armenia in June.

In Georgia, Eastern Orthodox make up 84 percent of the population, Muslims 10 percent, Apostolic Armenians close to three, and Catholics less than one percent.

The Pope’s homily at the public Mass centered on the comfort of God as being like the comfort of a father to his children.

“As he looks at us, he is always moved and becomes tender-hearted, with a love from the depths of his being, for beyond any evil we are capable of, we always remain his children; he wants to take us in his arms, protect us, and free us from harm and evil,” he said.

It is God’s presence that frees us and gives us joy, even amid conflict or turmoil in our lives, Francis said. “For this reason, if we want to experience his consolation, we must give way to the Lord in our lives.”

“There are doors of consolation which must always be open, because Jesus especially loves to enter through them: the Gospel we read every day and carry around with us, our silent prayer in adoration, confession, the Eucharist. It is through these doors that the Lord enters and gives new flavor to reality.”

“When the door of our heart is closed, however, his light cannot enter in and everything remains dark,” he added.

Pope Francis noted also the importance of community, saying that “in the Church we find consolation, the Church is the house of consolation: here God wishes to console us.”

“It is when we are united, in communion, that God’s consolation works in us,” he said, explaining that we must ask ourselves if we who are in the Church truly bring God’s consolation to others and welcome them, consoling the tired and disillusioned.

“Dear brothers and sisters, let us take up this call: to not bury ourselves in what is going wrong around us or be saddened by the lack of harmony between us.”

“It is not good for us to become accustomed to a closed ecclesial micro-environment,” but rather “to share wide horizons open to hope, having the courage to humbly open our doors and go beyond ourselves,” Francis said.

The Pope also stressed the need to always trust and hope in the surprises of God. Doing this, he said, “will help us to remember that we are constantly and primarily his children.”

We are “not masters of our lives, but children of the Father; not autonomous and self-sufficient adults, but children who always need to be lifted up and embraced, who need love and forgiveness,” the Pope continued.

“Blessed are those Christian communities who live this authentic gospel simplicity!” he said. “Blessed are the Shepherds who do not ride the logic of worldly success, but follow the law of love: welcoming, listening, serving.”

“Blessed is the Church who does not entrust herself to the criteria of functionalism and organizational efficiency, nor worries about her image,” he added.

Pope Francis offered encouragement to the “little and beloved flock of Georgia,” telling them to receive the encouragement of the Good Shepherd who “takes you on his shoulders and consoles you.”

“The true greatness of man consists in making himself small before God,” he said, adding that God is not known through “grand ideas and extensive study, but rather through the littleness of a humble and trusting heart.”

“To be great before the Most High does not require the accumulation of honor and prestige or earthly goods and success, but rather a complete self-emptying.”

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-tells-georgians-to-imitate-st-thereses-little-way-82312/

St. Therese Novena Day Six: Purify Me Lord

Great read! 🙂

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Words of St. Therese

There is one sister in the community who has a knack of rubbing me the wrong way at every turn; her manner, her speech, her character just strikes me as unlovable…I was not going to let this natural antipathy get the better of me. I reminded myself that charity is not a matter of fine feelings; rather it means doing things. So I determined to treat this sister as if she were the person I loved best in the world. When I felt tempted to take her down with an unkind retort, I would put on my best smile instead, and change the subject…when the struggle was too much for me, I would turn tail and run.

One day she asked me: “What is it about me that gets the right side of you. You always have a smile for me.” What really attracted me about her was Jesus hidden in the depths of her soul; Jesus makes the bitterest mouthful taste sweet. I could only say that the sight of her always made me smile with pleasure – naturally I did not explain that the pleasure was entirely spiritual.

Our Novena Prayer

Dear Therese, it is so refreshing that you also experienced people who irritated or challenged you. Like you, I have trouble seeing good qualities in people who aggravate me, and how they might image God.

Clarify my sight about the people whose goodness is blinded from me. Inspire patience with imperfection. Give me your eyes. Help me to see the image of God and the presence of Jesus in each person I meet, especially where it is not obvious to me. Soften my negative judgments about them. Teach me to smile rather than grimace. I want your heart, Therese, your heart which seeks Jesus deep within each person. Enlighten me, Little Flower of Jesus, to see the beauty of God’s artistry in each one of His creatures.

St. Therese Novena Day Six: Purify Me Lord

Time with Therese: Above our strength

Quote:
“Our Lord never asks sacrifices above our strength.”
-Letter to Monsieur l’Abbé on December 26, 1896

Reflection:
This quote is from a letter St. Therese wrote to a young priest on December 26, 1896.  St. Therese was known for sending letters on encouragement to missionaries serving in foreign countries. A young priest by the name of Fr. Maurice-Marie-Louis Bellière contacted Le Carmel convent seeking prayer and support and Mother Agnes chose St. Therese for this duty. They corresponded frequently until Therese’s death in 1897.

St. Therese discussed suffering and accepting God’s will in this letter. While we are asked to give up a lot, He never asks for anything more than we can give. St. Therese invites us to truly empty ourselves for the will of God. He knows our inner strength better than we do. God knows what we are capable of.

St. Therese found joy in this abandonment of self and encouraged Fr. Bellière to do the same.

From:

http://www.littleflower.org/above-our-strength/

Reflections from St. Therese of Lisieux

iknowthatalltheeagles

Reflection:
In the second manuscript of her autobiography, St. Therese posed the question: “O Jesus, your little bird is happy to be weak and little. What would become of it if it were big?”

St. Therese knew that the eagles she spoke of were the great saints in Heaven. Our dear little bird, Therese, calls on the saints to help protect her from anything that might take away her littleness. St. Therese believed that while she was called to holiness, that God was going to lead her up the mountain of perfection by a different and simple way. So, she remained small and loved with the capacity God had given her- childlike trust.

Her little way is not about performing acts for the sake of recognition and glory; but rather that every action should be for the love of God. St. Therese preferred to live a secluded life doing simple duties all for the sake of His glory.

http://www.littleflower.org/guard-and-defend/

ST. THéRèSE OF THE CHILD JESUS

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/saint.php?n=611

On October 1, Catholics around the world honor the life of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, or St. Thérèse of Lisieux on her feast day.  St. Thérèse was born January 2, 1873 in Alençon, France to pious parents, both who have been declared venerable by Pope John Paul II. Her mother died when she was four, leaving her father and elder sisters to raise her.

On Christmas Day 1886 St. Thérèse had a profound experience of intimate union with God, which she described as a “complete conversion.”  Almost a year later, in a papal audience during a pilgrimage to Rome, in 1887, she asked for and obtained permission from Pope Leo XIII to enter the Carmelite Monastery at the young age of 15.

On entering, she devoted herself to living a life of holiness, doing all things with love and childlike trust in God. She struggled with life in the convent, but decided to make an effort to be charitable to all, especially those she didn’t like. She performed little acts of charity always, and little sacrifices not caring how unimportant they seemed.  These acts helped her come to a deeper understanding of her vocation.

She wrote in her autobiography that she had always dreamed of being a missionary, an Apostle, a martyr – yet she was a nun in a quiet cloister in France. How could she fulfill these longings?

“Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was burning with love. I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more. I understood that Love comprised all vocations, that Love was everything, that it embraced all times and places…in a word, that it was eternal! Then in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: O Jesus, my Love…my vocation, at last I have found it…My vocation is Love!”

Thérèse offered herself as a sacrificial victim to the merciful Love of God on June 9, 1895, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity and the following year, on the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday, she noticed the first symptoms of Tuberculosis, the illness which would lead to her death.

Thérèse recognized in her illness the mysterious visitation of the divine Spouse and welcomed the suffering as an answer to her offering the previous year.  She also began to undergo a terrible trial of faith which lasted until her death a year and a half later.  “Her last words, ‘My God, I love you,’ are the seal of her life,” said Pope John Paul II.

Since her death, millions have been inspired by her ‘little way’ of loving God and neighbor. Many miracles have been attributed to her intercession. She had predicted during her earthly life that “My Heaven will be spent doing good on Earth.”

Saint Thérèse was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II in 1997 – 100 years after her death at the age of 24. She is only the third woman to be so proclaimed, after Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Teresa of Avila.

St. Thérèse wrote once, ‘You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.”

St. Thérèse and her Little Way

http://blog.littleflower.org/st-therese/st-therese-and-her-little-way/

What is the meaning of ‘the little way’ of St. Thérèse? It is an image that tries to capture her understanding of being a disciple of Jesus Christ, of seeking holiness of life in the ordinary and the everyday.

St. Thérèse based ‘her little way’ on two fundamental convictions: (1) God shows love by mercy and forgiveness, and (2) she could not be ‘perfect’ in following the Lord. St. Thérèse believed that the people of her time lived in too great a fear of God’s judgment. The fear was stifling and did not allow people to experience the freedom of the children of God.

St. Thérèse knew from her life that God is merciful love; many scripture passages in the Old and New Testaments bore out that truth. She loved the maternal images for God in the Old Testament and the love of God for us in Jesus Christ.

In fact, St. Thérèse once wrote that she could not understand how anyone could be afraid of a God who became a child. She also knew that she would never be perfect. Therefore, she went to God as a child approaches a parent . . . with open arms and a profound trust.

St. Thérèse translated ‘the little way’ in terms of a commitment to the tasks and to the people we meet in our everyday lives. She took her assignments in the convent of Lisieux as ways of manifesting her love for God and for others. She worked as a sacristan by taking care of the altar and the chapel; she served in the refectory and in the laundry room; she wrote plays for the entertainment of the community. Above all, she tried to show a love for ail the nuns in the community. She played no favourites; she gave of herself even to the difficult members. Her life sounds so routine and ordinary, but it was steeped in a loving commitment that knew no breakdown. It is called a ‘little way’ precisely by being simple, direct, yet calling for amazing fortitude and commitment.

In living out her life of faith she sensed that everything that she was able to accomplish came from the generous love of God in her life. She was convinced that at the end of her life she would go to God with empty hands. Why? Because all was accomplished in union with God.

Catholics and other Christians have been attracted to St. Thérèse’s style. Her ‘little way’ seems to put holiness of life within the reach of ordinary people. Live out your days with confidence in God’s love for you. Recognize that each day is a gift in which your life can make a difference by the way you choose to live it. Put hope in a future in which God will be all and love will consume your spirit. Choose life, not the darkness of pettiness and greed. St. Thérèse knew the difference love makes by allowing love to be the statement she made each day of her life.

Rev. John F. Russell, O.Carm.
Seton Hall University, South Orange, N.J. 07079

Sicut Parvuli, July 1997
Vol. LIX No. 2