All for the Heart of Jesus through the Heart of Mary!

Sr. Silvia Maria Tarafa, SCTJM
For private use only -©

We left off our last conversation speaking about trust. Today I wanted to highlight one aspect of what this trust entails, and our need for it in order to answer God’s calls on our lives.

“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mk 2:17). Sometimes we do not follow the Lord’s call to religious life (or His invitations to growth within religious life) because we are so aware of our sinfulness. And yet, it is precisely here, in this awareness that lies our wealth. For no covenant relationship with the Lord can reach maturity without our awareness of our poverty, our need for the Lord.

If we think we have everything we need within ourselves because we are good, or because we believe we have it all together, sooner or later we will have a rude awakening. It is precisely in our nothingness, actually not just in our nothingness-(for God himself knows we are but dust), but precisely when we become aware of our nothingness that we permit a our relationship with the Lord to blossom. (cf. Psalm 103:14). When we acknowledge our weakness, limitation and need for the Lord’s merciful love, then we invite the Lord to be great- to be bountiful in us; we give the Lord permission to supply for all we lack, to pour His abundance on our poverty. I believe this is what He means when He tells us, “Blessed are the poor for theirs is the Kingdom of God” (Lk. 6:20). Our Lord in His merciful love held nothing back –even giving us the last drops of His Blood. So we can trust that His provident, generous, compassion will be bountiful in us. He also promises us that: “[He] will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory” (Phil.4:19). “And He who has begun the good work in us will bring about its fulfillment” (Phil.1:6).

This is precisely the gospel, and what St. Therese of Lisieux came to clarify for us- to reignite the Lord’s invitation for us to have an absolute abandonment to His merciful Love- even and precisely because of our sinfulness. Pope Benedict XVI said: “Here in [St Therese] is the secret of sanctity for all the faithful throughout the world. Pope Pius XII said: “We must take St. Therese at her word when she invites the most unregenerate as well as the most perfect to count nothing of value before God save the radical weakness and spiritual poverty of a sinful creature.”

So just what did St. Therese say that is helpful for anyone hesitating because of their nothingness -to say yes to God’s call or to deepen their relationship with Him? A summary of her little doctrine can be found in a letter to her sister Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: “My darling sister…. understand that in order to love Jesus, the weaker one is, with neither desires nor virtues, the more one is fit for the workings of this consuming and transforming Love. The sole desire to be a victim [of his Love] suffices, but one must consent to remain always poor and utterly weak…. Let us love our littleness, let us love to feel nothing, and we shall then be poor in spirit and Jesus will come to look for us, however far away we are. He will transform us into flames of love. …. It is confidence and nothing but confidence which must lead us to love. … What pleases Him is to see me love my littleness and my poverty. It is the blind hope I have in his mercy…. There is my only treasure. (Letters 9/17/1896).

So we see from the life of this Doctor of the Church, from the Pope’s desire we imitate her life and from the Scriptures themselves that those being called cannot be held back by their nothingness; we recall He only calls sinners.( Mk 2:17). Rather, may this humbling awareness of our poverty and the simultaneous awareness of God’s bountiful mercy (willing to pour out His all on His poor children) may these spring all those being called to religious life or to deepen their religious life- to abandon themselves completely into His compassionate Arms.


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