I love opinionated non-PC people. This blog is to vent my opinions on life, the universe and everything. Which is 42 which in gematria is "My Heart" (LBY) according to Rabbi Abulafia. The Divine Heart is the centre of everything.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

St Therese and Divinization



Recently a book was published demonstrating how St Therese of the Child Jesus sisters edited the writings of their sister in order to obscure the full spiritual doctrine of St Therese. Andrea Tornielli writes: "It is a story of true holiness and manipulated documents that told by Gianni Gennari in his new book “Teresa di Lisieux, il fascino della santità. I segreti di una “dottrina” ritrovata” (Thérèse of Lisieux, The appeal of Sainthood. The secrets of a rediscovered “doctrine” – Lindau publishers, 616 pages, 38 Euros). And one recounted in meticulous detail and inspired by documents that remained unpublished until now. The volume reconstructs the life of an extraordinary woman. Saint Thérèse of the Child of Jesus is remembered by faithful as the “little saint” and is identified with the “spiritual infancy” described in Matthew’s Gospel: “If you do not change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

And yet Thérèse Françoise Marie Martin who died in the Carmel of Lisieux at the tender age of 24 in September 1897 and was canonised by Pius XI in 1925, never used the expression “spiritual infancy” in her original writings.

The book demonstrates very clearly that the doctrine of “spiritual infancy” was the brainchild of Thérèse’s sisters who were disciples of the Jesuit, Almire Pichon. Gennari writes that for fifty years, the sisters led everyone, including the Popes, to see in her the prefect embodiment of the teachings of their spiritual director. And they managed this on their own.” ...Gennari explains that Thérèse’s true doctrine is not “spiritual infancy” in a minimalist sense: according to her thinking, “Enfant de Dieu”, the Son of God, is the only model, which by divine grace, “deifies” humans by invading them with the love of his Spirit, transforming them into himself, just as Thérèse had explicitly written in a letter to her sister Celine: “we are called to become divine ourselves.” ...".

Thus St Therese's spiritual doctrine on littleness is taken into new depths with the Divinization of the believer as taught by the Eastern saints, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and certain Western saints and mystics like the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta. We are Divinized or made God-like by Grace. Through grace man can become sharers or participators in the Divine Life that comes to us through the Eucharist. We enter into this process of Divinization through the Eucharistic Safrifice and become more God-like with each Mass and each Holy Hour of Adoration that we do.

"Through the power of the Holy Spirit we take part in Christ's Passion by dying to sin, and in His Resurrection by being born to new life; we are members of His Body which is the Church, branches grafted onto the Vine which is Himself: '[God] gave Himself to us through His Spirit. By the participation of the Spirit, we become communicants in the divine nature.   . . . For this reason, those in whom the Spirit dwells are divinized'"   [Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1988]. 

Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote in Orientale Lumen: “...Everyone knows with what love the Eastern Christians celebrate the sacred liturgy, especially the Eucharistic mystery, source of the Church’s life and pledge of future glory.


“In this mystery the faithful, united with their bishops, have access to God the Father through the Son, the Word made flesh who suffered and was glorified, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
“And so, made ‘sharers of the divine nature’ (2 Peter 1:4) they enter into communion with the most holy Trinity” (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, 15).
These features describe the Eastern outlook of the Christian. His or her goal is participation in the divine nature through communion with the mystery of the Holy Trinity.
In this view the Father’s “monarchy” is outlined as well as the concept of salvation according to the divine plan, as it is presented by Eastern theology after Saint Irenaeus of Lyons and which spread among the Cappadocian Fathers.
Participation in Trinitarian life takes place through the liturgy and in a special way through the Eucharist, the mystery of communion with the glorified body of Christ, the seed of immortality.
In divinization and particularly in the sacraments, Eastern theology attributes a very special role to the Holy Spirit:
through the power of the Spirit who dwells in man deification already begins on earth; the creature is transfigured and God’s kingdom inaugurated.
The teaching of the Cappadocian Fathers on divinization passed into the tradition of all the Eastern Churches and is part of their common heritage.
This can be summarized in the thought already expressed by Saint Irenaeus at the end of the second century: God passed into man so that man might pass over to God.
This theology of divinization remains one of the achievements particularly dear to Eastern Christian thought.
On this path of divinization, those who have been made “most Christ-like” by grace and by commitment to the way of goodness go before us: the martyrs and the saints.
And the Virgin Mary occupies an altogether special place among them. From her the shoot of Jesse sprang (cf. Isaiah 11:1).
Her figure is not only the Mother who waits for us, but the Most Pure, who – the fulfillment of so many Old Testament prefigurations – is an icon of the Church, the symbol and anticipation of humanity transfigured by grace, the model and the unfailing hope for all those who direct their steps towards the heavenly Jerusalem..."

No comments: