St. Therese as Joan of Arc, her own play
So much has been written about St. Therese (and justly; she is very great), that I am appreciative of Frank Weathers’ post, here, and the surprising quotes and perspective he culls from the Chinese convert, John C.H. Wu who had remarkable–and jarring–insights on this Doctor of the Church:
(Thérèse’s) life was not a simple melody, but a marvelous symphony. If she is a child, she is a subtle one. If she is as simple as a dove, she is also as wise as a serpent. Her little way of spiritual childhood is really the most mature way, and she seems to be aware of it. During her serious illness, she once said, “Let God play the part of Papa; he knows what is best for baby.”
Her eldest sister Marie asked her, “Are you a baby?” Thérèse looked serious and said, “Yes,—but a very wise baby! A baby who is an old man.”
Is she then proud? No, no one realizes better than she where all her wisdom comes from. “My special favorites in Heaven are those who, so to speak, stole it, such as the Holy Innocents and the Good Thief. There are great Saints who won it by their works. I want to be like the thieves and to win it by stratagem–a stratagem of love which will open its gates to me and to other poor sinners. In the Book of Proverbs the Holy Ghost encourages me, saying: ‘Come to Me, little one, to learn subtlety!’”
The charming thing about it is that it is an open theft. God allows her to steal into Heaven because she allows God to steal herself. “How willingly would I help the ‘Divine Thief’ to come and steal me. I see him in the distance, and I take good care not to cry out, ‘Stop, Thief!’ On the contrary, I call Him, saying ‘This way, this way!’”
Lao Tzu said, “Established Virtue looks like a thief.” I suspect that there is something thievish, illusive or paradoxical about the Spirit of Truth, and perhaps that is why all His children are, as St. Paul says, “as deceivers and yet true; as unknown as yet known; as dying and behold we live; as chastised and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as needy, yet enriching many; as having nothing and possessing all things.”
Wu’s who piece on Therese is here, and it’s fascinating. I’m going to print it out.
For a little more traditional (but very loving and insightful) view of Terese Fr. James Martin has just the meditative ticket!
Meanwhile, if you’re interested in something familiar, but would like to see (or hear) it approached with a fresh voice, Julie at Happy Catholic has finally taken the plunge and is podcasting Genesis. Yes, that Genesis. She has the best voice, and reads so well! I frankly was fascinating with her reading of the introduction, and the whole question of the word “semen” and its interpretations.
Yes, she reads the introduction. She even does that well!
It’s surprising how difficult it is to answer the question in a personal, coherent, and comprehensive way. It reminded me of the passage from A Brief History of Time in which the astrophysicist Stephen Hawking relates a story about a well-known scientist who gave a public lecture on astronomy:
He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the centre of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy.
At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.”
The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?”
“You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down.”
Like the old lady in this tale, most of us haven’t given much thought to what our “tortoise” is “standing on.”
It is difficult, but Joe goes into some detail in giving it the old college try. And speaking of which, for the college students interviewed in the videos, it seems nearly impossible for them to articulate what they believe, or don’t believe, which is a little depressing.
In the meantime people are spilling their soul secrets; it makes for very interesting, moving, sometimes troubling reading. It makes me want to pray.
Although I was a year away from my own Catholic moment, I had reached a point in my Christian journey where I began to see more peril than promise in intra-Christian apologetics. This is not to say that I did not believe, or do not continue to believe, that when one is asked about one’s faith that one should not offer reasons for why one is Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox.
An interesting read.
Fr. Robert Barron: Gonna head into Fulton Sheen territory. This is a good move. He’s terrific on TV!
St. Thomas Aquinas: as teacher
A Ratzinger from four centuries ago?
Can’t find hope? John Allen says you should get out more
The Jesus Pose: politics gets in the way. Yes. A constant struggle not to throw all your Christian tryings away on a bit of snark. I am certainly guilty of it.
Christmas is coming: The Nuns at Moniales have new, Christmas-themed soaps!