Monday, June 27, 2011

"St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that 'the first thing that is necessary for every Christian is faith, without which no one is truly called a faithful Christian. Faith brings about four good effects. The first is that through faith the soul is united to God, and by it there is between the soul and God a union akin to marriage. 'I will espouse thee in faith.''

In other words, that Therese Martin should become St. Therese, a bride of Christ, should only appear logical to us in light of St. Thomas' doctrine. If espousal with God is the fruit of the act of faith, then this must also be a universal vocation and not something exclusive to consecrated souls. God's courtship of the soul begins in baptism. Certainly, the nature of love is that it must be freely offered and the response must also be given in freedom, but often God's proposal is left unrequited - hence, the scandal of sin. But when his offer is accepted whole-heartedly and with the radical response demanded of an authentic act of faith, then the soul enters into a marital covenant with God and takes upon itself all the dignity and privileges accorded to this state.

This faithful matrimonial love implies total participation in the life of one's spouse, experiencing in one's own soul the spouse's interior and exterior trials. Naturally, St. Therese of Lisieux, faithful spouse to Christ, could do no less than offer herself together with her divine Spouse as an expiatory victim for the salvation of sinners.

Her formal relationship with Christ and her new insertion into his life began fittingly on Christmas. Also fittingly, her relationship with him on earth would end on Calvary.

Between Bethlehem and Calvary, St. Therese of Lisieux would share in her Spouse's joys, sorrows, trials and always his peace. Further, like her Spouse, she could not remain indifferent to his rejection by so many souls. Her relationship with these souls began under the auspices of maternal love and intercession. It would transform with time into fraternal love and solidarity - and the vicarious suffering to which both loves expose themselves."

-- St. Therese of Lisieux: Spouse and Victim by Cliff Ermatinger

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