Readings: Job 1:6-22; Luke 9:46-50
The doctrine of spiritual childhood is certainly fundamental to Therese’s thinking, though I wonder whether it suffers an imbalance because her memory was perpetuated by her older sisters who preceded her and outlived her in the same Carmel. In a sense, to them, so remained the “Baby.”
Like myself, you may have experienced painful caricatures of that teaching, far removed from the heart of St. Therese and farther from today’s Gospel (Whoever receives this child in my name receives me…).
Facing her untimely death, the steely backbone of Therese surfaces–as if she had learnt well her lessons from the Book of Job. Not that she protests her innocence. On the contrary, she says:
Lord, your child has understood well your divine light: she asks pardon for her brothers, and consents to eat, for as long as you wish, the bread of sorrow; and she will not rise from this table, which is filled with bitterness, where poor sinners eat, until the day you have appointed. Further, can she not say in their name, “Have pity on us, Lord, for we are poor sinners”?…I told the Lord I am happy not to enjoy heaven here on earth in order that he may open heaven for ever to poor unbelievers.