Offering to Compassionate Love of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus XIITo me, this act is the concrete and living realization of those unutterable and unutteredprayers described by Saint Paul, which the Holy Ghost inspires in the depth of the souls whosubmit themselves to Him: “The Spirit Himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings.”
(Rom. viii, 26.)
What else are those wordless, inexpressible groanings but the deep desire tolove, which can only be expressed by the offering of oneself to Love, by putting ourselvesinto the hands of Infinite Love, to do with us what He wills?And Thérèse knows that this is that true prayer which God can never fail to understand:“He that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what the Spirit desireth: because He seeketh for thesaints according to God.”
(Rom. viii, 27.)
Because, that is, He only asks for things that arepleasing to God. This simple offering, without actually asking for anything, without puttingits request into words, asks more than any formulated prayer ; it asks “ according to God,” asGod does with the saints : “He seeketh for the saints according to God! “By this simpleoffering Thérèse, so to speak, provokes Infinite Love, who is God, wholly to satisfy in her (if this were possible) His desire to be loved.The little Sister did indeed understand God better than many theologians who think theyknow Him; she understands Him with the heart, humbly, simply, ingenuously. She realizesthat the need to love, which she feels in the depths of her heart, is an echo of the infinite needto be loved which is in God and which is God. Her act of offering is simply that.But there is another point which will, I think, add further light to our retreat.
What is it which stands between many souls and the life of pure love? It is this. They say“That is too advanced, too high for me. I am not good enough to think of a life of love; I amnot fit for it.” Thérèse foresaw this objection. Always anxious to encourage “little souls,” sheadds an important and decisive word to her offering to Love — the word “Compassionate.”This is infinitely encouraging and wholly in the spirit of the Gospels.The clear vision of our miseries and imperfections is not a reason for not surrenderingourselves to Love; rather, as this Love is Compassionate, it is a reason for doing so. To think ourselves unworthy to offer ourself as a Victim to Divine justice, that is understandable, but itis not a question of offering ourself to justice, but to Compassion. We offer ourwretchedness, which is the proper object of Compassion, and the greater our wretchedness is,the more we should see ourselves as fit subjects for the manifestation of Infinite Compassion.We can offer our miseries freely to Compassion. He needs them in order to be able to actand manifest Himself. Here again Thérèse perfectly understands God’s mind. It is certainthat God’s plan, the end He proposed Himself in creating the actual world with sin and theconsequences of sin, was to manifest and glorify His Compassionate Love, and preciselybecause that Love is Compassionate.That is what our pride finds so hard to understand, to understand practically. To offer ourwretchedness to God is to give Him Glory, to please Him ; it is to give Him an opportunity of manifesting that very attribute which He specially wishes to be glorified — His Compassion.We offer Him our miseries so as to be freed from them, to be eased and cured, not becausewe deserve it, but to give God’s Love the opportunity to show itself as it really is — as“compassionate.”Here a thought naturally arises. Is not this very often the only practical way of getting outof our unhappy state, of ridding ourselves of the miseries which cling so closely to us? It is afact, and it is wise to admit it, that there are many obstinate imperfections, so subtle as to bealmost impossible to lay hold of, which all our efforts, our sincere efforts, all our toil, allresolutions, are unable to eradicate or correct; the remains of egoism, of secret self-love, of vanity, of more or less wilful attachments. This is where God’s compassion comes in, this isPage 3 of 4