St. Therese of Lisieux Spouse and Victim

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ICS Publications, Nov 9, 2011 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 109 pages
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On Christmas Eve, 1886, a young girl,
Thérèse Martin, received special grace.
Although it was the littleness of the Christ
Child that reached out to this girl and
taught her to give up the defects of
childhood, the grace was by no means small.
Her long bout with scruples and empty fears
was not completely over, yet in her own words,
“since that night I have never been defeated
in any combat, but rather walked from victory
to victory.” Such was her experience of God's
mercy that she decided then and there to give
her life to the mission of converting sinners.
This book by Cliff Ermatinger presents us
with deep theological insights into the
meaning of the seemingly simple life and
journey of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

This little book treats of a love story
that began on January 4, 1873, the day of
Therese's baptism. On that day God began to
court the soul of this little girl who would
remain just that a little girl. She would
also learn to correspond with her baptismal
grace, thus maturing into a strong-willed
woman and ultimately into the faithful bride
of her divine Spouse.

Her formal relationship with Christ and her
new insertion into his life began fittingly
on Christmas. Also fittingly, her relationship
with him on earth ended on Calvary. Tracing
St. Thérèse of Lisieux's life, we discover
that she begins with the life of grace, going
from child of God to child in the Son. She then
advances to a theological existence; from
theological existence to union; and from union
to its culmination in espousals with Christ:
the ordinary terminus of the spiritual life to
which everyone is called. Having arrived at
such union with the divine Spouse, Thérèse was
next inducted into the victimhood of Christ.
The author then examines the relation between
the type of victimhood St. Thérèse experienced
and the type of sin she was expiating: atheism.


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About the author (2011)

St. Therese of the Child Jesus and Holy Face, was a
Carmelite Nun in a Carmelite monastery in Lisieux,
France. She is also known as the Little Flower of
Jesus.  She was born at Alençon, France, 2 January,
1873; died at Lisieux 30 September, 1897.
She was the ninth child of saintly parents, Louis
and Zélie Martin, both of whom had wished to
consecrate their lives to God in the cloister. The
vocation denied them was given to their children,
five of whom became religious, one to the Visitation
Order and four in the Carmelite Convent of Lisieux.
Brought up in an atmosphere of faith where every
virtue and aspiration were carefully nurtured and
developed, her vocation manifested itself when she
was still only a child. Educated by the Benedictines,
when she was fifteen she applied for permission to
enter the Carmelite Convent, and being refused by
the superior, went to Rome with her father, as eager
to give her to God as she was to give herself, to seek
the consent of the Holy Father, Leo XIII, then
celebrating his jubilee. He preferred to leave the
decision in the hands of the superior, who finally
consented and on 9 April, 1888, at the unusual age
of fifteen, Thérèse Martin entered the convent of
Lisieux where two of her sisters had preceded her.
The account of the eleven years of her religious
life, marked by signal graces and constant growth
in holiness, is given by Sister Thérèse in her
autobiography, written in obedience to her superior
and published two years after her death. In 1901 it
was translated into English, and in 1912 another
translation, the first complete edition of the life of
the Servant of God, containing the autobiography,
"Letters and Spiritual Counsels", was published.
Its success was immediate and it has passed into
many editions, spreading far and wide the devotion
to this "little" saint of simplicity, and abandonment
in God's service, of the perfect accomplishment of
small duties. This autobiography is now published
under the title Story of a Soul.
The fame of her sanctity and the many miracles
performed through her intercession caused the
introduction of her cause of canonization only
seventeen years after her death, 10 Jun, 1914.
She was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1997.