Known, prayed for, studied as patroness of missions and doctor of the Church, Thérèse of Lisieux is less so as co-patron of France, proclaimed as such on May 3, 1944. The Carmelite Brother Baptist of the Assumption shows us how to pray Thérèse for France.
On May 3, 1944, Pius XII proclaimed Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face secondary patron of France , equal to Saint Joan of Arc . How can we help Thérèse achieve this mission? Three tracks are proposed here in this month of May which commemorates this event.
Ask Jesus to continue to use Thérèse
In a bold letter that Thérèse wrote to Father Bellière, a few months before her death, she slipped in these words which, when you think about it, are of decisive importance (LT 220, February 24, 1897):
I would be very happy if every day you agreed to say for [me] this prayer which contains all [my] desires: “Merciful Father, in the name of our Sweet Jesus, of the Virgin Mary and of the Saints, I ask you tosetablaze my sister of your Spirit of Love and to grant her the grace to make you loved much.”[…] If the Lord soon takes me with Him,I ask you to continue the same little prayer every day, because I will desire the same thing in Heaven as on earth: To love Jesus and to make him loved.
What is fascinating in this request is that, in addition to sensing that her mission in Heaven will consist of “loving Jesus and making him loved”, she also understands that she will not be able to carry it out without, on earth, some souls do not ask the Father. Thérèse worked wonders in France in the 20th century: she showed herself to the Poilus during the Great War, she supported charitable works, she converted the hearts of sinners, inspired great artists, enlightened the conscience of men. political… and she has certainly not decided to rest in the 21st century! But for this, she wants us to participate in her triumph by encouraging us to ask God for it. For Thérèse to carry out her mission as co-patron of France, we could therefore follow her advice by often repeating this prayer, or another similar one:
Merciful Father, in the name of our Sweet Jesus, of the Virgin Mary and of the Saints, I ask you to set my sister [Thérèse] on fire with your Spirit of Love and to grant her the grace to make you love me very much [in France] .
Apply to society what Thérèse says about the soul: offer your miseries to Mercy
Another stroke of genius from Thérèse was to understand, in a contemplative way, that the best way to attract the merciful Love of Jesus was not so much to present to Him our virtues, but rather our miseries so that He spreads its Fire there: “For Love to be satisfied,” she writes, “it must lower itself, and lower itself to nothingness, and transform this nothingness into Fire” ( Ms B, 3v). This light should enlighten us on the point that concerns us. It is not the virtues and qualities of the French, it is not the triumphs of France, which incite Jesus to spread the fire of his Mercy there . Rather, these are his miseries as they are offered !
As faithful disciples of Thérèse, we should therefore not despair about the moral and spiritual state of this country. On the contrary, it is because he is in distress, because his wounds are deep, that Thérèse encourages us to redouble our hope and confidence. As Thérèse writes, “the weaker we are, without desires or virtues, the more we are suited to the operations of this consuming and transforming Love…” (LT 197). What is true of the soul is also true of a society. It is still necessary that certain disciples of the “ little way ” present to Jesus the miseries of France so that he spreads the Fire devouring his infinite mercy.
Seek to quench the thirst of Jesus… the rest will be given in addition
But at the root of Thérèse’s fertility, and of her mission in heaven, there is this contemplation of Jesus’ thirst. Thérèse understands that he is thirsty for love, and that he ardently seeks souls who agree to welcome the waves of his infinite tenderness. This, in the end, is Thérèse’s only concern. Her mission as co-patron is illuminated in this light. Its objective is not first of all to bring temporal well-being to the French, but to offer Jesus the consolation of finding souls in France in whom he can unload the weight of his Love. The rest will be given in addition and superabundantly. As the Lord already said to Teresa of Avila : “Take care of my business, and I will take care of yours”, little Thérèse could say to us too: “If you want Jesus to do wonders in France, take care of Him above all, by welcoming his Endless Love. He will then take care of your affairs and those of France, without you having to worry about it. »
Let us pray to God to continue to use Thérèse so that she can carry out her mission as co-patron of France; let us offer to his Mercy the gaping wounds of this country; finally, let us take care of Him above all, welcoming His infinite Love. The rest will be given in addition, without us having to worry about it.