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Blackfriars Repertory Theatre
"Blackfriars Repertory Theatre, operated under the auspices of the Dominican Friars, is committed to producing high quality theatre that promotes the dignity of the human person and our eternal destiny. The company preserves the philosphy of the Blackfriars Guild, founded in 1940."

Blackfriars Repertory Theatre presents "The Women Who Served," a drama about the women of the Gospels, written by Peter John Cameron
Meditations in the form of monologues and dialogues by women of the Gospels, Fridays - Sundays, October 8-31, 2004. at the ArcLight Theatre, 152 West 71st Street, New York N.Y. [TicketForce]

Faith and the Human Drama, by Peter John Cameron, O.P.
One reason why man lives bereft of the meaning of life is because he has nothing to inspire him to search the depths of his self so as to discover the truth of his human ‘I.’ To a great degree, this is the responsibility of the theatre in the Church.

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THE SACRAMENT OF MEMORY

The True Story of Saint Therese of Lisiuex: A Scene from the Play

Naomi Flansburg plays St. Therese of Lisieux in The Sacrament of Memory

For background from the playwright click here.

FATHER ALEXIS PROU is seated in the confessional wearing a brown Franciscan habit and a violet stole. THERESE enters and kneels on the kneeler placed not far from the confessor; an invisible wall separates them. There is a long pause. THERESE is very uneasy.

ALEXIS: Yes, my child?

THERESE: It's ... (she breaks off)

ALEXIS: Excuse me? I didn't quite hear you.

Therese: For eighteen months I have been tortured with the conviction that I am damned.
THERESE:
Oh, Father, it's always the same. I don't even know why I'm here. On the way, I told myself that I would say nothing about my interior dispositions because I just don't know how to express them.

ALEXIS: And why is that?

THERESE: I'm just not used to speaking about myself.

ALEXIS: And I'm not used to speaking to cloistered Carmelite nuns. So we're even. I'm more at home preaching in factories or to big crowds on the street. This little Carmel is really something new for me. Yet—here I am ... all ready to listen.

THERESE: Preached retreats are always more painful to me than the ones I make alone.

ALEXIS: Well, you can relax. I left all my instruments of torture back in Brittany. (beat) But they should be here by tomorrow if you'd like to come back then.

THERESE: Oh, Father, forgive me; I didn't mean you!

ALEXIS: Come then, dear Sister. Be peaceful and tell me simply and in your own way what it is that troubles your soul.

THERESE: Oh, I am afraid to.

ALEXIS: Why?

THERESE: Because I'm afraid that youlike all my other confessors—will just confirm the fears that have so taunted my soul.

ALEXIS: Tell me what you mean.

THERESE: At another retreat, I confided to the retreat master a hope I have held all my life.

ALEXIS: And what is that?

THERESE: My hope to become a great saint ... even to love God as much as Saint Teresa of Avila, my patron.

ALEXIS: And what did Father say to you?

THERESE: He seemed shocked by what I said, I guess because I am so young. I'm afraid he thought me prideful. Presumptuous. Because then he said to me: "Child, be a good religious, but don't aim so high. Moderate your desires."

ALEXIS: And what kind of priest was he?

THERESE: A Jesuit.

ALEXIS: (with a sigh of disgust) Uh huh. (beat) Go on.

THERESE: I ... I didn't understand what he meant: moderate my desires. I thought that acting on my desires to be a saint was the way to be a good religious.

Alexis: Dear, good Sister—if you want God’s justice, you will have God’s justice…and nothing more.
ALEXIS:
Of course it is! Where do you think those desires come from—the moon?! They're God's gift to you, girl. God's holy gift. Was it not our divine Savior himself who commanded us: "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect?"

THERESE: That's just what I said to Father.

ALEXIS: Do you think Saint Teresa received more grace than you? No she did not. But don't aim for her seraphic sanctity. Rather, aim for the perfection of God himself.

THERESE: I want to, Father. I want to believe this. I want to live this. But still ... I am driven to distraction by a saying I heard in a sermon several months ago.

ALEXIS: What is it?

THERESE: "No one knows whether one is worthy of love or hate."

ALEXIS: Oh, that's an easy one.

THERESE: (hopefully) Is it?

ALEXIS: Of course. We're all worthy of hate. (beat) Left to ourselves, outside of the agency of divine grace, all we are worthy of is hate and eternal death. Period.

THERESE: (beginning to weep) No, Father! No! Say it isn't so. I ... I cannot bear it.

ALEXIS: Be peaceful child.

THERESE: For eighteen months I have been tortured with the conviction that I am damned. I know ... I know this trial is a temptation from the devil. But even still, my soul is so distraught that I have come to the point of asking myself whether heaven really exists.

ALEXIS: Hm. No heaven.

THERESE: Yes, Father.

ALEXIS: That would be very sad.

THERESE: Yes, Father.

ALEXIS: Would you like me to prove to you that heaven exists?

THERESE: (after a pause ... choked with emotion) Yes, Father.

ALEXIS: Well then, where should we look?

THERESE: I don't know, Father. I don't know.

ALEXIS: Don't you. I think you do. You've already shown it to me.

THERESE: I have? Then why can't I see it?

ALEXIS: Maybe because you're dwelling too much on hell. Tell me some more about this little word that is distracting you so.

THERESE: Which word?

ALEXIS: "Worthy."

Alexis: God permits natural imperfections for one holy reason: to show us just how dependent we are on him…to persuade us never to let go of his loving hand…
THERESE:
Yes, worthy. To be worthy. I think I will never feel worthy. Even after I go to confession and I know God has forgiven me ... even after receiving absolution and being assured that I am in a state of graceI begin to doubt it. And then all my old trials come screeching back. (beat) I was deathly ill as a child. But my scruples make me doubt even that. Was I ever really sick? Or did I make it all up? Did I pretend ... so as to get others' attention? I was ill. I didn't make it up! But why do I torture myself this way? The Blessed Virgin—a statue of Mary—she smiled at me in my illness. I saw it. I see it now. That smile ... the Queen of heaven ... healed me. Did I lie about that smile ... that miracle ... to make others think better of me? No! I saw it! What is this torment?

ALEXIS: Blackmail.

THERESE: Blackmail?

ALEXIS: Blackmail. The devil wants to show you just how wretched and miserable you really are left to yourself so as to make you believe that that is the way you really are. And it is very convincing, isn't it, as all good blackmail is. Can make you desperate. And the enemy shall continue to triumph in his blackmail over you as long as you remain fixed upon justice instead of on abandonment and mercy.

THERESE: But God is a just God!

ALEXIS: Dear, good Sister—if you want God's justice, you will have God's justice...and nothing more. The soul receives exactly what it expects from God. And you expect, you desire much more in your soul than mere justice from God, don't you?

THERESE: Yes, Father. Much more.

ALEXIS: I know you do. That's where I see heaven in you. I want you to see it too.

THERESE: I want to see it.

ALEXIS: Then live in this truth: God may be a God of justice, but he is first and foremost a Father. A Father who loves and wants to be loved. A Father who is more tender than a mother. And all he asks from you is confidence and surrender. Abandonment to his mercy. Humility. And that is precisely what his justice-obsessed children refuse him. And so God the Father remains Love who is not loved. And that is even sadder than the thought that there is no heaven.

THERESE: This is true! I know it! I know it with all my soul! But how! How can I love the Father the way that he deserves to be loved with all my faults and shortcomings that give him so much offense and pain?!

ALEXIS: You remind me of someone.

THERESE: Who?

ALEXIS: A disciple of Saint Francis named Brother Ruffinoa holy man whom the devil seduced into thinking he was damned.

THERESE: Just like my temptation!

ALEXIS: The devil made him think his whole Franciscan life was a complete sham. And he shamed Brother Ruffino into not telling Saint Francis about it. That's exactly where the devil wants us: locked up in our guilt. Because then he's got us. Trapped like a rat in our own soul.

THERESE: Blackmail!

ALEXIS: The devil even appeared to him in the form of the crucified Christ and told him that he was damned, that Saint Francis was damned, and the everyone who followed him was damned.

THERESE: So what happened?

ALEXIS: Well, the Holy Spirit told Saint Francis that the devil was deceiving poor Brother Ruffino. So Francis sent for him and said: "Oh Brother Ruffino, you naughty boy! Who are you going around believing? The wretched thing that appeared to you is the devil! It's not our Blessed Savior! And you should have known that by the way it hardened your tender heart to everything that is good. For that is the evil one's abominable job. It's what he does best."

THERESE: But how did it end? How did he get rid of the devil?

ALEXIS: Shall I tell you?

THERESE: Yes! By all means!

ALEXIS: But I must warn you: it's rather...saucy...shocking even.

THERESE: I'm not delicate.

Therese: God can’t inspire impossible desires. So I can aspire to holiness… even despite my littleness.
ALEXIS:
No, Sister, you are not. I can tell that about you. Well, this is what Saint Francis of Assisi said to poor, afflicted Brother Ruffino. He said: "Brother, the next time that devil says to you, 'You are damned,' you just say back to him: 'Oh enemy of the human race, open wide your mouth...and I will empty my bowels in it!'"

THERESE: Saint Francis of Assisi said that?

ALEXIS: Apparently. Although it's even more graphic in Italian. (beat) And the point is that when you live abandoned to the mercy of our loving Father, then the devil flees in horror at the confidence grace gives you. Why do you fret at your shortcomings and defects? These natural imperfections do not cause God any sorrow or pain. They are the means by which he will make you a great saint. Only a hardened, doubting heart hurts God. God does not call to himself those who are worthy. Who in the world is worthy? Rather, God elects those whom he pleases through his mercy. God loves us because he is good-not because we are! Don't you think God sees and knows those things in us that need perfecting? And couldn't God change those things in an instant? Of course he could! Then why doesn't he? Because he wants us to believe that he loves us just the way we are right now! Only his love can make us worthy of his love! How foolish it is to think we can repair and perfect and improve on our own all those weaknesses we see in ourselves so as to try to make ourselves "worthy" of his love. That is absurdity! Blasphemy! And our abysmal failure at such foolish schemes is precisely what makes us feel damned! And how then the devil delights in our agony. How he rushes to use it to his dastardly advantage. No, dear sister, your struggles with holiness do not give God any sorrow—they give him joy. They give him joy because God, as a good Father, loves you more when he sees you struggling so earnestly with these trials. Because that is the moment you need to be loved more. Ah! What a wonderful privilege. A mystery. A paradox. So let God love you the way he wants to: by himself removing all the evil in your soul by an act of love that makes you lovable.

THERESE: I have never heard any of this before. Why has no one ever told me that our natural imperfections cannot cause God any pain?

ALEXIS: God permits them for one holy reason: to show us just how dependent we are on him...to persuade us never to let go of his loving hand...to teach us how God wants to recreate and sanctify us out of our nothingness. That is why he leaves us with our imperfection. So that we can let him love us more as we turn it over to him in confidence.

THERESE: (with great peace) Yes.

ALEXIS: You understand all this, don't you.

THERESE: Yes. And it is filling and expanding my soul with such assurance...with the very joy that I need to bear patiently with the exile of life.

ALEXIS: You're not exiled, dear sister. If you do what I'm describing, then the Father grabs you and holds you tight in his arms and loves you, loves you, loves younot because of anything you have, not because of anything you've done...or not donebut only because you are his! He loves you because you are his! And to live forever confidently as a little child in the Father's embraceeven if you cannot feel it—that, my dear sister, that is heaven. "Eternal life is this: to know the Father and the one whom he has sent, Jesus Christ." And you know him. That is the heaven I see in you without seeing you. See it for yourself now—and believe!

THERESE: (weeping) Oh! I love him! My God...I love you!

ALEXIS: Now listen to me very carefully, my beloved daughter. For what I am about to say is not Alexis Prou speaking. Rather, I am speaking to you as a priest in the name of God himself and on his behalf as I say to you: God is exceedingly pleased with you. He rejoices over you with gladness, and he renews you in his love-he sings joyfully because of you.

THERESE: Oh, Father! I feel like a little boat that you have launched full sail on the waves of confidence and love.

ALEXIS: Sail away to the heavens!

Alexis: God the Father grabs you and holds you tight in his arms and loves you, loves you, loves you—not because of anything you have, not because of anything you’ve done…or not done—but only because you are his!
THERESE:
You have shown me, Father, that our infinite desires are neither dreams nor fantasies. Now I see how the smallest details of my life are guided by God. He is the one who makes us desire and who grants our desires. And how merciful is the way that God has led me. Never has he given me the desire for anything which he has not given me. Even his bitter chalice seems delightful to me. God can't inspire impossible desires. So I can aspire to holiness...even despite my littleness. It is impossible for me to grow up, and so I guess I just have to bear with myself such as I am with all my imperfections. And when after death I appear before my beloved Jesus, I shall have only my desires to offer him. Will they be enough?
(During THERESE'S speech, ALEXIS, overcome with emotion at what he is hearing, rises and then kneels, weeping, as he listens to her testimony.)

ALEXIS: Yes, dear sister. They will be enough. More than enough. You are a true child of God. A true, holy child of God.

THERESE: Father, I can never thank you as you deserve. (beat) May I come to speak with you again before you leave?

ALEXIS: Certainly, Sister. You come as often as you like. I'll look forward to it. In the meantime, say a prayer for this weak, unworthy, old priest.

THERESE: I will. Count on it, Father.

ALEXIS: I will. God bless you, Sister.
(ALEXIS remains kneeling...moved...absorbed. As THERESE rises and crosses, she meets GONZAGUE who enters from one side. THERESE is beaming with joy, and GONZAGUE detects it...and doesn't like it.)

THERESE: Oh, Mother!

GONZAGUE: Sister Therese! I have not had the opportunity to thank you as I should for the selfless, valiant care you gave the community during the influenza epidemic. What would we have done without you?

THERESE: Oh, Mother...

GONZAGUE: No. I mean it. You may have saved our lives...my life...Sister Therese. In fact, if a prioress were to be chosen out of the whole community, I would not hesitate to choose Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, in spite of her youth. She is perfect in everything. Her only drawback is having her three sisters with her.

THERESE: I have come to Carmel to serve.

GONZAGUE: And you do it well. Continue to. I am never wrong about my vocations, am I. (she lovingly touches THERESE'S face.) My own daughter. (she turns to exit, then turns back) Oh, Sister Therese, one last thing. As your religious superior, I forbid you to speak to the retreat master, Father Prou, ever again. Do you understand me?

THERESE: (deflated, flabbergasted) Of course, Mother. Whatever you will, Mother. (GONZAGUE exits. Darkness slowly descends on THERESE and ALEXIS. The OBOE plays.)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Sacrament of Memory is a play about the life of Therese Martin, a 19th Century Carmelite nun known to millions as the 'Little Flower,' St. Therese of Lisieux. Born in France in 1873, Therese should by all accounts have lived an anonymous life, in a convent in an obscure town—not achieving lasting devotion from millions throughout the world. The Sacrament of Memory illustrates the religious and political world, which surrounded Sister Therese. She was transformed from a child of privilegecoming to understand how small, daily acts of love were just as important as great deeds of magnificence, in finding meaning in life. Following her death at age 24 from tuberculosis in 1897, her message of "The Little Way" spread, attracting millions of adherents.

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October 1, 2004

PETER JOHN CAMERON, O.P. is a Dominican priest, Editor-in-Chief of "Magnificat", and the founder and director of the Blackfriars Repertory Theatre. He is an award-winning author of more than a dozen plays.

This excerpt was taken from THE SACRAMENT OF MEMORY: THE TRUE STORY OF SAINT THERESE OF LISIEUX by Fr. Peter Cameron, O.P. Reprinted by permission of the author. ©2003, Fr. Peter Cameron, O.P. All rights reserved.

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READER COMMENTS
07.06.05   michaelcorbeil says:
Yes, indeed, this confessional story is very interesting, and rewarding to read, carefully. Yet, I also have some additional comments on this story. Both confessors, Fr Alexis Prou and the Jesuit who had previously heard Therese's words were, not critically but nevertheless really, both right and both somewhat mistaken. How was Prou mistaken? It was that, if he had realised this view anyway, he could have clarified for Therese that what the Jesuit priest had told her was true and that it simply did not include wording that specifically fit with what Therese's mind was specifically seeking, to be a 'great saint'. What the Jesuit had told her is to both love God and do works of love, and that [is] all we really need to care about; it's what people sanely, honestly, truly wishing to be or become saints know is the key element, to love and serve God; while to serve God inherently means to do works of love, which includes teaching the faith, as well as purely temporal order ways of helping others.How was the Jesuit confessor mistaken? It's in what he omitted to say, that to love God and to do works of love is rather synonymous with wanting to become a 'great saint', or even any order of saint; all saints being holy, for they are all in Heaven and there is nothing uhholy there. If he had realised and told her this, in that prior confession, then she might very well have been satisfied; however, he omitted this connection and this left her troubled mind troubled, until Fr Prou spoke with her and said words that matched what she wanted to hear.Anyone wishing to become saint in any other way than through loving and serving God is [not] sincere in their desire to become saint, for then it's rather a vane order of desire, and vanity is a serious blocking characteristic, for becoming saintly. To be saintly means to be as much like God as God permits and helps us to be, inherently to be in line with His Will and Way, and how are those defined, other than by love; in no other way. To be saintly is to be imitative of God in His Love for us and humankind. Jesus was and is Divine Representative of God, and in a sense God's Divinely chosen Imitator; and Jesus calls upon his followers to try to imitate Him, by following His teachings and Way, because they Represent God's Will and Way. And we don't find Jesus fretting over becoming saint, or not.That, we also find reflected in people like (saints) Francis of Assisi, and many others. Francis did not get bothered with the nasty feeling of guilt about sainthood. He concerned himself with [loving] and [serving] God and Lord Jesus of Nazareth with great fervor, devotion, acceptance of sacrifices and vows of chastity, poverty and charity, and so on.Therese simply had not been taught that what she was really seeking was to simply [love] and [serve] God and that this is really all God wants from us. However, He also knows that we weak humans have plenty of intellectual problems, inabilities to soundly understand, and that we can easily become confused, and He Greatly Loves [all] of us, so He certainly Loves people who are easily confused and become distraught. That is the kind of [innocence] that Therese illustrates in the story of this confession, a sincerely desiring innocent who was simply and too easily confused.To provide some Scriptural support for the above perspective, refer to when Jesus was approached by a relatively or very wealthy Jewish man who liked and believed in Jesus being Lord, the man who told Jesus that he had always adhered to the Ten Commandments but wanted to know what more he needed to do in order to be in line with God's Will and Way. What did Jesus reply with? He said to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbours as we do ourselves; or, maybe, and perhaps better, as God loves them; and, for that and all wealthy person(s), to take their wealth and share it with those in need. (I have had some serious periods of some serious thoughts of suicide, so I prefer to try to love my neighbours as I believe God loves them, as much as I can; to not wish unto them as I've had, suicidal thoughts, dirt poverty, expropriation, and so on. But I at least love myself enough to know that it's important, essential to love and serve God to the best that we can manage; certainly having no desire to be separated from God and Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and all who truly love them.)On that basis, Jesus might very well have told Therese to cease fretting over becoming a saint, that it would come with dedicating oneself to loving God with all one's heart, ..., and strength, and to practice love towards our neighbours. It's by far primarily the RCC who added this notion of sainthood and the rites of beatification and canonisation, which dangerously, through senseninalisation, risks causing people to think and/or believe in manners that are exaggerated, .... And only God can make us saints, through His Holy Grace, so we best focus on what Jesus taught, and endeavour to not fret over whether or not we're going to finally make it to sainthood; it could block, impede the process, more than helping it; sometimes anyway. It's a matter to be wary of, whereas to live according to devoutly loving and serving God, well, these are more humanly understandable and realist terms. 'Saint-ism' also is prone to the weakness of idolatry.Yet, it's also crucial to not be fanatical, so anyone who [sincerely], soundly, non-vanely wishes to become saint is [innocent], and certainly is Forgivable. The above is not to express fanaticism or extremism but only the fundamental essence of what truly wishing to be saint really means or involves. And being too fretful over this matter, of becoming saint, or not, is to lack faith in God's Almighty, Omni Love; it's to inadequately understand or realise His Love and Mercifulness.Again, that the Jesuit confessor had not been wrong, per se, having only made a slight omission; slight, all while it obviously would have been helpful to include words corresponding with what was being specifically sought from him.It's relative to human socio-psychology, for we variably do seek certain answers on matters that bother us, and while we can get plenty of fine input, we can often be unsatisified until we hear or read the specific words we're looking for. To be able to get around that problem, we need to have the skills of abstraction, extrapolation and interpolation, etc., and many people lack these abilities; because, either, they don't have them, or have not sufficiently developed them. Many people have trouble even with the simplest logical problems.Please note that none of this post is to knock Therese. Again, she only illustrates serious [innocence] and youth, in terms of lack of experience and education, particularly education based on real and noteworthy experience(s) in the real world.The "superior" nun provides a very special piece, bit in this story, too. (I hate thinking of calling them "mother superior(s)", and the same should apply with regards to calling male clergy "fathers", for we [all] really have only one father and he is God. Even Jesus referred to his very first, and surely meant for always, rather obviously too, apostles and disciples as his brothers and sisters, instead of as sons and daughters. And God is also our Mother, although we have another one too, for Jesus said that his Blessed Mother Mary was to treat his apostles and disciples as his brothers and sisters, and Blessed Mary was mother of Lord Jesus, so .... But my despiction of "mother superior" as a title has roots in the real world, having read and otherwise learned about too many rather wicked ones; something I have not read or learned about the male orders. Yet, am against referring to popes as "Holy Father(s)" though, the 'Holy" part making it all the worse, and the reason for this being that we have only [one] "Holy Father", God Almighty. Calling popes "Holy Father(s)" is certanly an 'anti', 'instead of' Jesus matter, seriously replacing the religion that He taught and exemplified, lived.)Oh, yes, that so-called "superior" nun provides an interesting piece to this overall confessional story, and I would really like to know if the final words on this part, darkness setting in and the OBOE suddenly starting to play, are indeed true. If that really happened, then that part of the whole story is a very important part, teaching more than the rest of the story; with the exception of what Prou said about the story of Francis of Assisi, Franciscan Brother ("Brother" is a fitting term, by the way) Ruffino, and the devil (something I had not yet learned about the early Franciscans story or history and which I'd like to learn more about, entirely, if possible).That "superior" nun illustrates yet again 'anti', 'instead of' Jesus nature, and Prou could have addressed her wrongful, unjust, egotistical, ..., words towards Therese; having been able to warn her, say, that if she persisted in trying to prohibit Carmelite nuns from speaking privately with priests, from private confessions, then she'd be written up with charges for the Vatican, papacy to address, with the potential of excommunication. What would Jesus have done in that situation? Most surely not as Prou did, but, instead, would have sternly addressed that so-called "superior" nun for her absurdity and injustice, and rather religious hypocrisy. After all, what other plausible reason is there for a person in her position to do or say, order what she did to Therese, other than and for example as the pharisaic scribes who were hypocritical, hegemonic, atrocious towards Mary Magdellan illustrated; hypocrisy and wrongness? Jesus sternly confronted them, and most surely would have sternly addressed that so-called "superior" nun with words, perhaps, of the order of "Look, you're either in or out, make up your mind!". "Superior" nuns variably, ocassionally are very fine and very saintly, but there are many-enough who are very 'anti', 'instead of' Jesus, and who act and rule as if they're pope or apostle, when they have never been provided with these levels of authority. So, I believe that Fr Prou could have addressed her, for correction. But why he did not do that is not stated in the article and maybe he had a critically fair or right reason for not doing this.I'd like to know more about the story of Francis, Ruffino and the devil though; very interesting that is. That and the story bit on that so-called "superior" nun are about the most telling aspects of this whole confessional story. Poor Therese, to be so riddled with guilt just because she had not understood that the Jesuit confessor had spoken adequately, just not quite enough fitting with her specific desire as she understood it; too narrowly, unfortunately for her, and for many other people who similarly lack adequate education or at least critical, logical minds. Reading her specifically related part of this story was saddening, but Prou at least finally provided her with input that satisified her and is satisfactorally in line with Scripture specific to Jesus, but also overall.If any readers of this have any leads as to where more information about that story of Francis, ..., is found, then the information would be greatly appreciated. (Etc.)[Real] faith is what's lacking in far too many Christians, including RCs. Jesus said that if we have a grain of real faith, as much/little as a grain of sand, then we can do much or entirely as He did. Remember, He said that His true followers are His brothers and sisters; and He is God's Divine Son.Real, pure, simple, humble, affirmative, energetic, ... faith is not often found in our world, but at least many people express religious faith and humanity close enough that they are at least [refreshing]; as long as we don't spend too much time reading from deceitful media, and focusing solely on what people of one religion or religious church say, that is, too narrowly. We need to span the horizons, and as the Lord Jesus of Nazareth said, people will be coming to Him via different paths; without meaning that there would not be much apparent difference. There can be much of that, but it requires a mind quite capable of abstractions to perceive the 'only/mostly appearance' aspect, from the real.In true Christian life, we must be able to abstract ourselves to the point of imaginatively disassociating from the religious faith in terms of specific and/or restrictive, restraining faith, in order to be able to [fairly] consider what others have to say about their religious beliefs and world views. When we can do this, then we can truly perceive the real [common humanity] there [is] between and among us [all]. Only then can we truly add on specific religious beliefs, [safely], sanely, soundly, fairly, with real love; instead of with religious bigotry, .... Jesus never denied the humanity in Himself; nor that of others, including non-followers.Therese's story should be very fitting for many people; perhaps, especially those who've always or mostly been well-off in this world. Many others who've gone through temporal hell most or all of their lives may be well ahead of Therese's overall understanding. Experience is a very serious teacher, while too easy experience slows learning. I believe that her story does not exist for the purpose of only telling us about her but also about ourselves, variably. Even the story of Lord Jesus is telling of ourselves, of what our true and full natures really are; and it's he same with all who've been 'sainted', there being no other sound point to that rite than for teaching us about our real selves. All of it is to teach and show us the Way to God, to being one with Him. And her story provides more. The welcome [compassion] that Prou provided Therese and the illustration of her [innocence] are inspirational, nutritional, to be savoured and reflected upon. Prou evidently was a very fine confessor, although I'd be curious to know what he thought and did not say about what the prior Jesuit confessor had told her; from a philosophical and socio-psychological point of view, critique. Although he finally provided her with input that was satisfactory for her, and it certainly was adequately in line in all other respects, he might not have critically understood that the Jesuit had also been right and simply not fitting with what was specifically being sought from him. Religion does provide quite a field for these orders of analysis, and I'm one who likes to keep matters simple, as simple as they are in their very natures; rather than over-complicating. But when over-complication has been added, particularly for many years, to the point of becoming a too common feature, then debunking can take much longer than only providing initial teaching does. Then, there's also the 'undoing' process to go through, and first.After a people have been inculcated for centuries and with twisted ideas or beliefs, then it can take serious writing or communication to be able to eliminate that which needs to be undone, first. And it's at least a reason why I [elaborate], provide various analogies or points of reference, can be lengthy, to try to reach more people rather than fewer than is possible; and after years of noticing that people arguing often-enough do when they're really saying the same thing, or are neglecting to include a factor that perhaps neither side has yet thought of, or ... (?); confusions, anyway. To keep matters as simple as possible also means thinking as broadly as applicable, all while trying to achieve that without over-complicating/ion.Just plain common sense, based on real-world perception, is much of my basis in understanding the Lord Jesus of Nazareth, and so on.The devil appearing to Ruffino as a "crucified Christ" or "... Jesus Christ", not recalling which is stated in the article, now that should not be a censored story. That story strikes me as one that is most surely true, and it's an order of information that strikes me as [important]. After all, Christianity essentially is based on the fact of Good vs Evil; if there wasn't evil, then Jesus would not have needed to have been sent to us, there'd be no purpose to or for the Ten Commandments, there'd be no sense in wanting to be 'saintly'/holy, or 'holified', and so on. Oh, no, there's e/Evil force alright, and not of any order yet shown or included in Star Ways, the movie and its many sequels; that movie being only illustrative of the evil order that humans commit, temporal.A very rich confession that story turns out to be; providing several important revelations.

01.06.05   BKozak says:

01.06.05   BKozak says:
I think St. Therese of Lisieux had amazing humility. The account of her life as a cloistered nun is a gift to all of us because her struggles were shared with all of us...I think it is helpful to know that someone as holy as she could wonder about her own salvation and also wonder about her connection with God...I read she had times of darkness when she didn't feel God's love...I love this scene that takes place in the confessional...What I have come to understand about her is affirmed by this...I read this scene over and over...When I was 16, I was challenged to write an Elizabethan sonnet by my English teacher...The topic was easy..The ideas that became the poem had already been rolling around in my head because I wanted so much to be a nun....a medical missionary...I only wish I could be that channeled toward the Will of God NOW...30 years later...----------------------------------------------------------To love my life and still to live it well...Are these two like the night and day to me?Will joy from doing what I do dispel...The eagerness to serve God fervently?If I were cured of worldliness and greed,My soul no godless pleasure would ensnare--God's Word would be my body's only need,And He could live as in a temple there...Enrapturing the child-saint of Lisieux,Were visions of a Gurgling Babe at play.She would delight to be His toy, and knew,That she could be His servant in this way.By knowing that my life is God's own will,I can be faithful and be happy still.

09.30.04   Godspy says:
The True Story of Saint Therese of Lisiuex: A Scene from the Play

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