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Now, Mary is also there on Calvary, standing at the foot of the Cross. I say that because, while she was not physically crucified at Calvary, she did suffer a kind of spiritual crucifixion. Okay, so with that in mind, now reflect on the idea that Mary probably has more motherly love in her Immaculate Heart than all other mothers combined.

Not only that, but her Son is the most lovable child of all. Not only that, but Mary had to watch her child go tlirough a suffering worse than anyone has ever had to bear. Why not? In other words, the focus is on another person, not on ourselves. So, in a sense, compassionate suffering is easier to bear and less scary than physical suffering. As Christians, our hearts are supposed to be merciful.

Unfortunately, our sins, the sins of others, and the pains of life are very good at hardening our hearts, which makes us less compassionate, less merciful, and less like Jesus. Well, the Offering to Merciful love is all about helping us grow in compassion, and it begins with having compassion for Jesus. It begins with seeing that he longs to pour his Merciful Love out on sinners and that so many reject his love.

Then, for the purpose of consoling Jesus, we ask for all that rejected mercy7. And what happens next? Jesus gives it. His tender mercy comes rushing into our hardened hearts, purifying diem and, thereby, making them more compassionate, loving, and sensitive. To offer ourselves to Mercifiil Love is to let our hearts be more deeply moved by the suffering of others. Love is not loved! But it does involve real pain. After all, compassion for those who suffer wounds the heart.

Indeed, there is nodiing that is sweeter, nor more terrible. More on that tomorrow. Make my heart like the tender Heart ofJesus, full of mercy and compassion.

One result of that heightened sensitivity is a deeper feeling of longing for God. Saint Faustina once had a vision of purgatory that place of suffering for the souls of those who die in a state of grace but who are still in need of purification , and she asked the souls there what their greatest suffering was.

In fact, St. Therese believed that for little souls who live the Little Way and make the Offering to Merciful Love, purgatory can easily he avoided. She describes the reason to her sister Pauline Mother Agnes , who had given her permission to make the Offering: You permitted me, dear Mother, to offer myself in this way to God, and you know the rivers or rather the oceans of graces that flooded my soul.

I know that Jesus cannot desire useless sufferings for us, and that He would not inspire the longings I feel unless He wanted to grant them. Of course not. In fact, she believed that such talk hurts the Lord. How you grieve me! You have too much fear before the good God. I can assure you that He is grieved over this. As soon as you try to please Him in everything and have an unshakable trust He purifies you every moment in His love and He lets no sin remain. And then you can be sure that you will not have to go to purgatory.

Marie of the Trinity, who was concerned about her chances of avoiding purgatory. Marie had asked St. God is so good. He will know how He can come and get you. But despite this, try to be faithful, so that He does not have to wait in vain for your love.

Now, before we begin looking at the text of die Offering itself tomorrow , I'd like to cover three potential objections to it. Now, some of us may have read it and thought that perhaps Therese is encouraging the sin of presumption by telling us to believe that we can bypass purgatory.

Well, she actually would be if she were telling us we can expect to go straight to heaven without sorrow for our sins and without making a firm purpose of amendment. Maybe we think Therese is being too indulgent. Maybe we want people to have to pay more for their sins.

In response, with love and kindness, the young nun calmly tried to explain the matter, but Sr. Febronie would have none of it. The soul will receive from God exactly what she desires. Febronie caught die flu and died. Then, three months later, she appeared to St. Therese in a dream.

Convinced that this was no ordinary dream, Therese reported it to the prioress, who documented it. Febronie came to me last night and asked that we should pray for her.

She is in purgatory, surely because she had trusted too little in the mercy of the good Lord. I am now delivered up to the full justice of God but it is my fault. Iff had listened to you I would not be here now. Yes, we really are free to choose — but also realize that the measure with which we measure will be measured back to us see Lk In other words, if we choose to treat others with strict justice, then God will be strict with us.

If we choose to be merciful to others, then God will be merciful with us. Hear that. To choose the path of mercy means being merciful to others. So, let me repeat: To live the Little Way, we must be merciful to others. We must strive to show mercy.

We must strive to forgive. Otherwise, we cannot hope for mercy see Mt , In other words, they may be saying, Look, I like the Divine Mercy message and devotion and everything, and I thought Td do a nice little consecration. I mean, what am Igetting myself into? In answer to that difficulty, let me say this: Yes, the Offering to Merciful Love is a powerful spiritual act, one that should be approached with a certain seriousness.

In times past, victims, pure and spotless, were the only ones accepted by the Strong and Powerful God. To satisfy Divine Justice, perfect victims were necessary, but the law of Love has succeeded to the law of fear, and Love has chosen me as a holocaust, me, a weak and imperfect creature. What should we fear? But it Mil be wonderful. Trust in God, who is Love and Mercy itself. Now, perhaps that seems selfish. So, these rejected graces are free for the taking.

That was St. More on this later. Because, again, one of die effects of the Offering to Mercifill Love is that it makes our hearts more compassionate. Anyway, diat covers three potential objections diat may' be coming to mind as we prepare to make the Offering.

Take away anyfears or anxieties I may have about making the Offering. I desire to accomplish Your will perfectly and to reach the degree of glory You have prepared for me in Your Kingdom. I offer them to You with gladness, begging You to look upon me only in the Face of Jesus and in His heart burning with Love.

Here, we see that Therese docs not want to rely on her own merits but, rather, on those of Jesus. It is to her I abandon my offering, begging her to present it to You. I feel in my heart immense desires and it is with confidence I ask You to come and take possession of my soul. Remain in me as in a tabernacle and never separate Yourself from Your little victim.

In the next paragraph, Therese states yet another desire and another bold petition: 4 I want to console You for the ingratitude of the wicked, and I beg of You to take away my freedom to displease You. If through weakness I sometimes fall, may Your Divine Glance cleanse my soul immediately, consuming all my imperfections like the fire that transforms everything into itself. The bold petition is remarkable: Therese asks the Lord not only to take away her freedom to sin but to cleanse her from the stain of any fails as they happen.

Can we ask for that? Apparendy so. In other words, Therese warns to become a saint not to please herself but, rather, to please Jesus. Purify my intentions that I may do everything solely to please and glorify God. Since You deigned to give me a share in this very precious Cross, I hope in heaven to resemble You and to see shining in my glorified body the sacred stigmata of Your Passion.

Here, Therese speaks of suffering as a grace. But hers is not die unhealdiy preoccupation with suffering that marked her early religious life. Accepting such suffering becomes easier when we learn from Therese just how loving and tender God really is.

I want to work for Tour Love alone with the one purpose of pleasing You, consoling Your Sacred Heart, and saving souls who will love You eternally. In fact, we just read that her focus is on being merciful to Jesus and to her neighbor. All our justice is stained in Your eyes.

I want no other Throne, no other Crown but Ton, my Beloved! Well, because she knows this about God: 8 Time is nothing in Your eyes, and a single day is like a thousand years. You can, then, in one instant prepare me to appear before You. Yes, he can do it. Simply recall what Therese had told her novice, Sr. Marie of the Trinity, who had asked if even she could hope to get to heaven right away after dying.

Marie, St. Ah, yes. For now, however, on to martyrdom Death and martyrdom? That sounds scary! To die of love is a beautiful thing. See Appendix One. Fill my heart with a deeper and deeper longingfor God, even unto the martyrdom of love.

After making her Offering to Merciful Love, St. Therese wasfilled with consolation. That work, which she began in obedience to her superior, Mother Agnes, helped her to see more clearly than ever Gods tender mercies enveloping her whole life.

I don't know, but what I am certain about is that God's mercy will accompany her always. From Good Friday until her death on September 30, , she was immersed in darkness. This week, we'll explore the role that darkness plays in living it out. The average Christian in our day struggles with attachments, addictions, deliberate venial sins, and even potentially grave sins. These are the ones who at least recognize their sins. Thankfully, Therese anticipated their difficulty. It includes my sins and your sins.

Even if I were the biggest sinner in the world, I would still go to him with a contrite heart and receive his mercy! And so should you. Really tell them, Mother, that if I had committed all possible crimes, I would always have the same confidence. I feel that this whole multitude of offenses would be like a drop of water thrown into a fiery furnace. You will then tell the story about the converted sinner who died of love.

I know that this whole multitude of sins would be lost in the twinkling of an eye like a drop of water cast into a burning furnace. In the lives of the desert fathers, it is told how one of them con verted a public sinner whose evil deeds were the scandal of the whole country. Touched by grace, the sinful woman followed the Saint into the desert to perform a rigorous penance.

This is a striking illustration of what I want to say, but the reality itself is beyond the power of words to express. As St. I hear confessions. They do have sins, and lots of them. The Bible says that even the just man sins seven times a day Prov And why is it a problem? Well, we have done something wrong — and again, not just one thing, but lots of things.

I clearly see my sins. Consider this: Jesus once told St. Let me put it this way: Have you ever wondered why the great saints often spoke of themselves as being the biggest sinners? And as I mentioned earlier, he wants us to be on fire with love.

Now, St. Think of it: God loves us so much more than we love him. He pours out his life for us in his Passion and Death — and we complain about a headache. His loving gaze is fixed on us night and day — and we hardly look at him. After all, we just heard that Jesus told St. This is St. In the end, then, we can compete. We can be perfect. We can be set on fire. More on this tomorrow. Open the eyes of my heart with your love that I may see my need for your Merciful Love. Again, as St.

To be Yourself my Sanctity! Remain in me as in a tabernacle I wish, then, to be clothed in Your own Justice and to receive from Your Love die eternal possession of Yourself So, her aim is to love God with his own perfect love. But when will Therese get that love? When will she be able to love God perfectly with his own divine love? Therese, only in heaven will wc love God with perfect love. The Mass is, as it were, heaven on earth.

It provides us the opportunity, in the veiled form of Sacrament, to love God as he loves us, to actually love him perfectly.

So, in that moment, we love God perfectly with his own divine love. More specifically, we love the Father with the perfect love of the Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

But, again, that experience of heaven on earth is hidden under the veil of a Sacrament. In other words, it takes place dirough the darkness of liturgical worship, a worship that points to and makes manifest die divine worship of heaven through the poverty of signs and symbols wrought by human hands.

And while the Mass truly does make present the sublime worship of heaven, our eyes remain blind to the myriad of angels praising the Lord, the countless throng of saints gathered around the altar, and die overwhelming glory of Our Savior giving himself over to our loving and merciful Father.

And yet, through the Mass, we truly and fully participate in that mystery. Most of us are among the vast majority of humanity who are not famous, not well known, and not held up high on die pedestal of public opinion. It will be much easier for you to live the Little Way, become one of the greatest saints of all time, and help save the world. But we have to be willing to accept the cross of an ordinary life and cat the bread of daily darkness.

Of course, most of us, especially in this social media age, long to be known, well liked, and praised for being important or attractive. And his greatness is revealed in the fact that what most attracts him are the little souls: the humble, the weak, and the broken. And to little souls like us, if we accept it, his greatness is shown in the way that he will give us a share in his own greatness and glory.

But remember, the Little Way is a Litde Way of darkness. If we did, we might get puffed up with pride and no longer be little. In fact, we may have to fight depression, discouragement, and even despair. In fact, their aim is to do little things withgreat love. For instance, back on Day 4, we saw that Mary, the Mother of God, had to eat the daily bread of darkness.

Think of that. This most blessed among women lived a hidden life in an unknown little town while bearing the same burdens of countless ordinary people.

For instance, she cooked meals, changed diapers, and washed laundry. But in the midst of her hidden and ordinary life, she had an extraordinary faith, hope, and love. My Fiance says nothing to me Holy Spirit, fire of mercy.

Help me to live my ordinary life with an extraordinaryfaith, hope, and love. Clearly, our world needs saving. But for that very reason, in a sense, God is giving us unprecedented grace. In other words, now is the time of mercy.

And guess what? During this blessed time, God wants to save the world by the power of Divine Mercy — through us. As we also learned on Day 13, St. By taking some of the littlest souls and making them into some of the greatest of saints.

Okay, but why? Is it so we can walk around with little halos around our heads and have nice spiritual conversations?

And while St. It just takes you and me After all, it was the devil himself who said to St. Remember how he spoke with God about Sodom and Gomorrah? The Lord said he would spare it for their sake. So, blame Abraham!

After all, maybe he could have gotten the number down to just three. And why is that? Because, in a sense, the world has already been saved. Rather, we can be missionaries of Divine Mercy to the whole world through prayer. Francis Xavier. So, imagine if at least three more of us lived the Offering to Merciful Love to the full!

This prayer comes to us from St. The Chaplet is a kind of extension of the prayer of the Mass. Alright, so when we pray the Chaplet, the intention of this supercharged moment of the Mass becomes very focused. Specifically, it becomes a plea for mercy.

And the Father especially hears and answers such a perfect and moving prayer. And this easily can save the world. Because while the sins of the world are finite, the mercy that flows from the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross is infinite. So, once again, do you want to help save the world? Inspire me to help save the world as a prayerful missionary of Divine Mercy. But why is there sin?

Well, such an empty, faithless, cynical worldview dominated St. Yet despite the fact that Therese lived beitind the protective walls of a convent, God decided not to shield her from the dark and terrible sadness of the modern world.

Still, in his loving mercy, the Lord waited until she was ready. He waited until after she had discovered her Little Way and had offered herself to Merciful Love. In other words, he waited until her foundation on Divine Mercy was rock solid. A little earlier I believe it would have plunged me into a state of discouragement.

The saint herself describes it as follows: I was enjoying such a living faith, such a clear faith, that the thought of heaven made up all my happiness, and I was unable to believe there were really impious people who had no faith. I believed they were actually speaking against their own inner convictions when they denied the existence of heaven, that beautiful heaven where God Himself wanted to be their Eternal Reward. During those very joyful days of the Easter season, Jesus made me feel that there were really souls who have no faith, and who, through the abuse of grace, lost this precious treasure, die source of the only real and pure joys.

He permitted my soul to be invaded by the thickest darkness, and that the thought of heaven, up until then so sweet to me, be no longer anything but the cause of struggle and torment. After all, that cuts right to the heart of the Little Way, which is really all about heaven. But where?

To heaven. Recognizing what? Recognizing the darkness that comes from being little, helpless, and weak. It goes to the lowest place and raises up. Rather, it had to do with simply trusting that there is a heights, that there is a God, diat there is a heaven. It was about trusting amid the darkness of not seeing the goal, not desiring the goal, and not feeling the slightest bit of joy at the thought of the goal.

Because Therese still trusted God, even in the face of this trial of double darkness — the darkness of her own helplessness and the darkness of temptations against God and heaven — she truly deserves the blessing given to Abraham and Mary. Help me to trust even amid the double darkness of my weakness and temptations against God and heaven. Therese because she lived in a convent and had no difficulties believing in God and heaven.

On top of that, she also felt rejected by God because of her sinfulness. And so, she bore both of those temptations, and not just for a day but for more than a year. But how did she do it? How do we do it? How do we persevere in faith, hope, and love in the midst of deep spiritual darkness?

Let me explain with an image that Therese herself used. But the problem is we forget. Dark clouds creep in and cover up the sun what St. We stop feeling its rays. We wonder if the sun is still up there. Now, the difference between many of us and St.

She kept trying. She kept trusting throughout the darkness. In short, she discovered her Little Way, and then her faith was tested, and then she passed the test — every day, to the very end. So, truly blessed is she who believed that what was spoken to her by the Lord would be fulfilled!

Truly blessed is she who provides us with such a personal and perfect example of trust! And we know she was blessed. How do we know that? Well, read the following account of her death from Mother Agnes, and realize that St. No, she suffered from tuberculosis, but she died of love. She fell back on the pillow, her head turned towards the right I love him Then she closed her eyes and the whiteness of her face, which had become more accentuated during the ecstasy, returned to normal.

She appeared ravishingly beautiful and had a heavenly smile. Let it be a sign for you. And, actually, Therese is smiling at you now. If God grants my desires, my heaven will be spent on earth until the end of time.

Yes, I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth. Witness that 1 choose to accept St. While our prayer program ofdaily pondering the text has helped us digest some of the information, we can still go deeper. To do this, we need what St.

Three words summarize what we learned about trust: 1 Distrust, 2 Blessing, and 3 Grace. Distrust Of course, distrust is the opposite of trust. So, what can it tell us about trust?

Actually, a lot. It reminds us that trust does not come naturally to us. It reminds us of what went wrong and helps us recognize the path to making things right. Recall that our trust problem began with the fall of Adam and Eve. More specifically, it began with a lie: Eve listened to the lie of the serpent, a lie that made God seem jealous, selfish, and conniving. And when we clearly see that God is good, merciful, and trustworthy, we begin to trust him.

Therese helps us with this. She provides powerful testimony to how good and truly merciful God is. Blessing Recall that, according to St. And for such belief, for such hoping against hope in darkness, for such praising and thanking God in all circumstances, we, too, like Abraham and Mary, will be richly blessed. She does this through her powerful prayers for us, which are so effective because of the suffering she endured at the foot of the Cross. And from her pierced Heart, we obtain the grace to have hearts that open up to receive the love and mercy pouring forth from the Sacred Heart of Jesus see Lk Thus, Mary is the New Eve who brings us to the New Adam on the new tree of life, the Cross, and encourages us not to eat forbidden fruit of disobedience and distrust but to drink from the blessed fountain of eternal life, the Fountain of Grace and Mercy.

Also, in a certain sense, even God needs her help. And who could be afraid of such a mother? Put differently, we just need to remember to do three things: 1 Recognize, 2 Trust, and 3 Try.

Remember, the Little Way is based on St. Therese simply realized that by recognizing her littleness and helplessness more and more, she would, thereby, be more and more ready for the cascading love pouring forth from the pierced Heart of Jesus. In her Letter , she powerfully expresses this idea: [T]he weaker one is, without desires or virtues, the more suited one is for the workings of this consuming and transforming Love Trust Recognizing our weakness, brokenness, and sin can be a difficult thing.

Okay, but what does that mean? It means we have to keep striving to grow in holiness. For instance, it means going to Mass and Confession regularly, taking time to pray, and doing little tilings with great love.

It means forgiving those who have hurt us. Also, it means not giving in to discouragement or, God forbid, despair. It means trying to remember and keep before our eyes the infinite mercy of God who never tires of forgiving. It means striving to never tire of asking God for forgiveness. In sum, through the Offering, we console Jesus by letting him love us.

And this consoling love can make us into saints, even great saints. After all, what is holiness but the Merciful Love of God poured into our hearts? And while Therese begins her Offering to Merciful Love by expressing her desire to become a saint, she wants to become one specifically to console the Heart ofJesus, who longs to make us holy through his Mercifiil Love.

Yes, Jesus wants us to receive the grace that makes us holy, and when we do, it consoles him, as he told St. Faustina: I desire to bestow My graces upon souls, but they do not want to accept them. You, at least, come to Me as often as possible and take these graces they do not want to accept.

The catch is that our hearts will begin to become more as they should be: deeply moved by the suffering of others. Because such suffering, by its very nature, is other-directed. Also, keep in mind that the alternative is terrible: a cold, hard, and distant heart that resists suffering with others, that resists being part of the Christian life of love.

Now, according to St. Faustina, such longing is the great suffering of purgatory. Therese, such a remarkable gift of sanctity' is relatively easy to obtain, even for very imperfect souls. Simply recall the case of Sr. Marie of the Trinity, one of St. And we believe her. In other words, like most of us, she not only knew herself to be weak and imperfect more on that in the next point , but she knew what it was like to live in an age of secularism and doubt.

That was her night of faith. Still, in the midst of such darkness, she clung to the Lord with faith, hope, and love and encourages us to do the same. But if they did see the reality of his love, their eyes would be opened to their sinfulness. All that rejected mercy will soon be yours. John Paul II put it. Actually, I think we need more dian just a statement. We need a prayer — something we can frequently repeat, even every day, something that not only reminds us of die meaning of the Offering to Merciful Love but that also allows us to make it.

Now, of course, as we learned on Days 20 and 21, St. Therese has already composed such a marvelous prayer. See pages for the fall text. Therese, my sister in the way of humble confidence, I, n nfi fF AR.

And so, I firmly intend to fight discouragement, do little things with great love, and be merciful to my neighbor in deed, word, and prayer. I aim to keep before my eyes my poverty, weakness, brokenness, and sin, trusting that my littleness and contrite heart will attract your Merciful Love. I choose to remain always little, not relying on my own merits but solely on yours, dear Lord, and those of the Blessed Mother. This blind hope in your mercy, O Lord, is my only treasure.

For instance, do you see the essence of the Offering reflected in the last main paragraph? And can you make out the other main ideas in the middle paragraphs? What about something that we can easily memorize and pray anytime during a busy day?

Thankfully, Therese herself gives us such an option through a prayer she asked a dearly beloved friend to pray for her during the last months of her life.

And by the way, if you plan to make your consecration in a group setting, see the note at the bottom of page And why not be joyful? So, joy should abound this day!

Be happy! The Litde Way is not about taking away die dryness of everyday life. And I myself can attest to that fact. Well, it was only after I discovered the Litde Way and offered myself to Merciful Love more than 15 years ago diat I began to experience true peace and joy — a peace and joy diat remain with me even to diis day. Therese shares with us truly is a formula for happiness — even amid great darkness.

Now, one would think that, in anticipation of such a joyful day, her heart would have been filled with consolation. Instead, everything was dryness and desolation.

In the following two paragraphs, she explains why and, in the process, reveals the secret of her happiness: [The retreat] was far from bringing me any consolations since the most absolute aridity' and almost total abandonment were my lot. Jesus was sleeping as usual in my little boat; ah! Jesus is so fatigued with always having to take the initiative and to attend to others that He hastens to take advantage of the repose I offer to Him.

He will undoubtedly awaken before my great eternal retreat, but instead of being troubled about it this only gives me extreme pleasure. Really, I am far from being a saint, and what I have just said is proof of this; instead of rejoicing, for example, at my aridity, I should attribute it to my little fervor and lack of fidelity; I should be desolate for having slept for seven years during my [Holy Hours] and my thanksgivings after Holy Communion; well, I am not desolate.

I remember that little children are as pleasing to their parents when they are asleep as well as when they are wide awake; I remember, too, that when tliey perform operations, doctors put their patients to sleep.

If you are feeling nothing, then good — be happy! Be happy like St. We also have to keep trying to grow' in holiness. Okay, now get ready — actually, you XJalready are ready. Again, these three things are recommendations. Mass is highly recommended but not essential. When I renew my consecration annually, I like to recite the prayer from the original copy and then sign and date it again.

Anyway, one more time, here are your two choices: rater of P Prayer of Consecration to Merciful Love Merciful Fadier, relying on the prayers and example of Abraham and Mary, my fadier and mother in faith, and of St.

Therese, my sister in the way of humble confidence, I, choose, this day, with the help of your grace, to strive with all my heart to follow the Litde Way. And so, I firmly intend to fight discouragement, do litde things with great love, and be mercifid to my neighbor in deed, word, and prayer.

Offering to Merciful Love by St. Therese of Lisieux O My God! Most Blessed Trinity, I desire to Love You and make You Loved, to work for the glory of Holy Church by saving souls on earth and liberating those suffering in purgatory. I offer You, too, all the merits of the saints in heaven and on earth , their acts of Love, and those of the holy angels.

I want to console You for the ingratitude of the wicked, and I beg of You to take away my freedom to displease You. I thank You, O my God! I want to work for Your Love alone widi the one purpose of pleasing You, consoling Your Sacred Heart, and saving souls who will love You eternally.

I wish, then, to be clothed in Your own Justice and to receive from Your Love the eternal possession of Yourself. I want no other Throne, no other Crown but Tou, my Beloved! Time is nothing in Your eyes, and a single day is like a thousand years.

May this martyrdom, after having prepared me to appear before You, finally cause me to die and may my soul take its flight without any delay into the eternal embrace of Tour Merciful Love. I want, O my Beloved, at each beat of my heart to renew this offering to You an infinite number of times, until the shadows having disappeared I may be able to tell You of my Love in an Eternal Face to Face! Please use the above codes when ordering. Don't forget!

Now what? You'll want to learn to see through the lens of mercy. Let me begin to explain this by saying something about a seemingly unrelated topic: conscience.

Now, yes, we w'ould still be obligated to follow our conscience under such circumstances. So, in a sense, the foundation of the entire moral life comes down to properly forming our conscience.

Alright, so how do we properly form our conscience? Again, we should do it through Scripture and Church teaching.

Or we at least need to be properly taught from diem. Did you know you that the Church gives us a lot of freedom regarding how we properly form our conscience? There, we need to accept all 10, without exception. Take St. Francis of Assisi. Of course, while he certainly embraced all the truths of Scripture and Church teaching, he chose to emphasize poverty.

That was the lens through which he saw Christ, and so he became poor himself, and poverty colored lais walk with Christ. For instance, Francis would have certainly felt it sinful for him to accept a family inheritance of a mansion.

So, we do have a lot of freedom regarding the way we choose to follow Christ and which truths of the Gospel will loom largest in our heart and conscience. Therese very much appreciated. But according to St. But he created the child who knows only how to make his feeble cries heard; He has created the poor savage et ho has nothing but the natural law to guide him. It is to their hearts that God deigns to lower Himself. These are die wild flowers whose simplicity attracts Him.

When coming down in this way, God manifests His infinite grandeur. And if we exist simply to glorify God, then it seems that little souls enable God to manifest his glory even moreso than other souls. Anyone can become a little soul at heart, just as even the materially rich can be poor in spirit. Simply put, the Little Way is a choice.

Finally, it is to he worried about nothing, and not to he set on earning our living. You can take care of yourself. I have always remained litde, therefore, having no other occupation but that of gathering flowers, the flowers of love and sacrifice, and of offering them to God in order to please Him.

Just as St. Francis chose to see Christ through the lens of poverty, so St. Therese chose to see him and everything else dtrough the lens of mercy. It seems to me that if all creatures had received die same graces I received, God would be feared by none but would be loved to the point of folly; and through love, not through fear, no one would ever consent to cause Him any pain.

All of these perfections appear to be resplendent with love-, even His Justice and perhaps this even more so titan the others seems to me clothed in love. What a sweet joy it is to dtink that God is Just, i. Febronic sought. She was perhaps like some of us who see sins in the Church and die world, get angry, and want fire and brimstone to come down.

Well, an exasperated St. Therese said to Sr. Febronic got it. So, we have a choice: severe justice or tender mercy.

I choose to see through the lens of mercy. What do you choose? Before you answer, I should repeat what we learned on Day 19, namely, that mercy is a double-edged sword. I say that because, as Scripture teaches, the measure with which we measure will be measured back to us see Lk So, to choose the path of mercy is also to choose to be merciful. After all, only the merciful will be shown mercy see Mt , So, if you want God to be strict with everyone, and if you yourself decide to be strict with others, then God will be strict with you.

But what about you? Work of Mercy. But know that your decision is going to cost you some work. It takes effort. Okay, so what do you need to do? Well, I have three recommendations.

Read the Mercy Saints. Therese of Lisieux, called Story of a Soul. Second, I recommend the spiritual journal of St. Like Therese, Faustina also chose to see everything through the lens of mercy. They truly are the great apostles ofmercy for our time.

For other recommended titles on mercy, see the Resource Pages. Get an Image ofDivine Mercy. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the Image of Divine Mercy is a thousand words of mercy. Knowing that we all have a distorted image of God as a result of original sin see Day 1 , Jesus wants to heal that distortion by giving us a true image of his mercy for our time. Specifically, he appeared to St.

I can think of no better way to begin to see through the lens of mercy titan by spending time each day gazing upon dtis image of Jesus. See the Resource Pages for more information. Also, if you do get an Image of Divine Mercy', you may want to consider enthroning it in your home. See Appendix Two for more information. Become a Marian Missionary ofDirinc Mercy. Visit MarianMissionaries. Specifically, would you pray the following prayer of St.

Therese for us? I will also pray this prayer for you, and I hope you enjoyed your retreat. May your Offering to Merciful Love your consecration to Divine Mercy bring you great gifts of happiness, peace, and joy. God bless you.

But what does all this mean? How can we console Jesus! And how could one renew the Offering with each beat of his or her heart! I mean, it seems that Jesus is the one who needs to console me, not the other way around. God Doesn't Need Us.

I created you and hold you in existence. Without me, you are nothing. However, at this point, perhaps some of us are experiencing at least something of St. Although I imderstand that, being God, He is happy in Himself and has absolutely no need of any creature, still, His goodness compels Him to give Himself to the creature, and with a generosity which is beyond understanding.

Ido not know' how' to live without God, but I also feel that God, absolutely self-sufficient though He is, cannot be happy without me. The Word Became Flesh. So, at the incarnation, Jesus, the eternal Son, assumed a human nature and a human heart. After all, how could someone be fully human without desiring to be loved? In other words, by taking on a human heart, God, in Christ, made himselfvulnerable.

Not by necessity but by his free choice, God allowed himself, in Jesus Christ, to feel a need for our love. And because the human heart of Jesus is united to and burns with Divine Love, his desire to love and to be loved infinitely surpasses our own desires.

Moreover, by striving to quench his thirst for love, by loving him in return, we have mercy on him. We console him. Saint John Paul II expressed the theology of consoling Jesus in what is probably the most profound papal statement on the topic.

It is then that He particularly deserves mercy from the people to whom He has done good, and He does not receive it Why did God make himself vulnerable in diat way? He Calls Us ''Friends. Or maybe it was die other way around. Of course not! That seems more like a pastoral or clinical relationship. But true friendship is a two-way street. True friends help one another, are in need of each otiier, and share their joys and sorrows, hopes and concerns.

On that latter point, Karol Wojtyla the future St. However, as we learned in point two, for the sake offriendship, in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God chose to need our love. And because he needs our love, because his Heart experiences both joys and sorrows, we can enter into true friendship with him. So, he can share with us not only his joys but also his needs, sorrows, and pains— and we can console him.

But how do we console him? We console him by loving him, letting him love us, and by allowing him to have mercy on us and save us. And when people reject his mercy, when they reject his gift of salvation, it causes him pain. But when they let him love them and let him have mercy on them such as by making the Offering to Merciful Love , they, thereby, console him. So we help Jesus by letting him help us!

And he chose to feel that need for the sake of friendship, which is a two way street. Think of it. God gives us the dignity of having mercy on Jesus by letting him have mercy on us! In one sense, I think she means that she wants God himself to love in and through her with his own love, which is perfect. Okay, but in another sense, I think it could have something to do with perfection on our side.

Imperfect contrition, on the other hand, is sorrow for sin because of fear of hell and punishment. Imperfect love of God would have to do with a desire for reward.

I suggest that the answer comes from what we learned on Day 6 of this retreat. And how do we console him best? Inspired by the Diary of St. And what does trust in Jesus mean? According to Fr. User icon An illustration of a person's head and chest.

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