St. Thérèse of Lisieux has illumined the whole Church with her profound spiritual doctrine, the Holy Father said at the General Audience when he reflected on this Carmelite saint who lived only 24 years in this world, at the end of the 19th century. She lead a very simple and hidden life, but after her death and the publication of her writings, became one of the best known and loved saints. Venerable Pope John Paul II named her a doctor of the Church in 1997.
St. Thérèse sees the whole truth of the faith shine in love, she expresses this primarily in the account of her life, published a year after her death with the title "Story of a Soul."
It “is a marvelous history of Love, recounted with such authenticity, simplicity and freshness, before which the reader cannot but be fascinated!” the Pope affirmed.
“But, what was this Love that filled Thérèse's whole life, from her childhood to her death?” the Pontiff asked, and he answered “this Love has a Face, it has a Name, it is Jesus! The saint spoke continually of Jesus”.
“Born and raised in a devout French family, Theresa received permission to enter the Carmel of Lisieux at the tender age of fifteen. Her name in religion -- Sister Theresa of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face -- expresses the heart of her spirituality, centred on the contemplation of God's love revealed in the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption.”
On the same day of her Religious Profession, she wrote a prayer that indicates the direction of her life: She asked Jesus for the gift of his infinite love, to be the littlest one, and above all she asked for the salvation of all men
Taken ill in her twenty-third year, she endured great physical suffering in union with the crucified Lord; she also experienced a painful testing of faith which she offered for the salvation of those who deny God.
She lived fraternal love more intensely: toward the sisters of her community, toward her two spiritual missionary brothers, toward priests and all men, especially the most alienated. She became a "universal sister!" Her kind and smiling charity was the expression of the profound joy whose secret she revealed to us: "Jesus, my joy is to love You"
Benedict XVI explained: “In this context of suffering, living the greatest love in the smallest things of daily life, the saint fulfilled completely her vocation to be Love in the heart of the Church”,
"Trust and Love" are two words that like beacons illumined the whole of her path of sanctity. Trust like that of the child who abandons himself into the hands of God. As she said contemplating Mary: "To love is to give everything, and to give oneself".
Her trust and love shows in her writing, as she said: “even if I had on my conscience all the sins than can be committed, I would go with my heart broken by repentance, to throw myself into Jesus' arms, because I know how much he loves the Prodigal Son who returns to Him.”
May her example and prayers help us to follow "the little way of trust and love" in spiritual childhood, abandoning ourselves completely to the love of God and the good of souls. VATICAN CITY, APRIL 6, 2011
The Pope spoke about resurrection at the Angelus in St. Peter's Square. “Death is for us like a wall that keeps us from seeing what lies beyond”, he said, and yet “our heart desires to go beyond this wall, and even if we are unable to know what it hides, we nevertheless think about it, we imagine it, we express our yearning for eternity with symbols”.
“Even among Christians, faith in the resurrection and eternal life is often accompanied by many doubts and much confusion, because it is a reality that goes beyond the limits of our reason, and requires an act of faith”.
“Christ destroys the wall of death, in him there dwells the fullness of God, who is life, eternal life. For this reason death did not have power over him; and”, the Holy Father continued, “Lazarus' resurrection is the sign of his complete dominion over physical death, which before God is like a dream”.
“But there is another death, which cost Christ the most difficult struggle, indeed the price of the cross” he explained “It is spiritual death, sin, which threatens to ruin the existence of every man.”
“Christ died to defeat this death, and his resurrection is not a return to the previous life, but the opening to a new reality, a "new earth," finally reconnected to God's heaven.” VATICAN CITY, APRIL 10, 2011
Other papal messages and acivities
The laity needs a solid doctrinal, pastoral and spiritual foundation and appropriate support, the Holy Father said in a message on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of Catholic Action Argentina, In this regard, the Holy Father encouraged the laypeople to "intensify their formative commitment so that, following Christ on the path of sanctity and in close union with their pastors, they might take the leaven of the Gospel to all hearts and realms of society, of the world of work, of politics, of culture and to families." BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, APRIL 4, 2011
The Holy Father recognized heroic virtue of a 14-year old boy. His name was Bernhard Lehner , he was German and he died in 1944. The Pope also approved the advancement of 35 causes, including 23 Spaniards martyred in 1936. VATICAN CITY, APRIL 4, 2011
Benedict XVI appointed a new member of the Congregation for Bishops. The Vatican announced the appointment of Archbishop Santos Abril y Casteló,77. He has been the apostolic nuncio in Slovenia, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina since 2003. VATICAN CITY, APRIL 4, 2011
“Violence and hate are always defeat” Benedict XVI affirmed. He continues to follow with great apprehension the dramatic events that the populations of the Ivory Coast and Libya are experiencing in these days. He made a renewed and heartfelt appeal to all parties to the cause to initiate a process of peacemaking and dialogue, and to avoid further bloodshed. VATICAN CITY, APRIL 6, 2011
The Holy Father deeply moved by death of migrants. Early Wednesday morning, a boat capsized with as many as 300 migrants trying to escape the conflict in Libya and reach Italy. Only about 50 of the people survived; some of those lost at sea were children. A Vatican spokesman said that the tragedy has "deeply moved the Pope”. He assured that the Pontiff and the whole Church remember in prayer all the victims -- of every nationality and condition, who lose their lives in the terrible journey to flee situations of poverty or injustice or violence that afflicts them, in search of protection and conditions of life that are more human. VATICAN CITY, APRIL 7, 2011
The brother of the Pakistani Minister for Minorities who was killed last month met with Benedict XVI met with the Pope and asked for the Pope's continued support of Pakistani Christians. VATICAN CITY, APRIL 7, 2011
Popular piety cannot be considered as something secondary in Christian life, Benedict XVI stated in an address to participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. He acknowledged the importance of popular expressions of piety, encouraged the close unity of these with the Church's liturgy and noted that "in the words of the Bible, popular piety will find an inexhaustible source of inspiration, unsurpassable models of prayer and fruitful proposals of different topics".
The Pope affirmed that he is pleased that in Latin America the practice of "lectio divina" has been growing in the parishes and in small ecclesial communities, as an ordinary way to nourish prayer and, in that way, give solidity to the spiritual life of the faithful. VATICAN CITY, APRIL 8, 2011
Benedict XVI viewed "The Pilgrim Dressed in White," the documentary film about Pope John Paul II. He expressed a warm appreciation for the work that was done and highlighted "two hinges" of John Paul II's life and ministry: prayer and missionary zeal. The film was produced by a Polish director, Jaros³aw Szmidt Artrama. VATICAN CITY, APRIL 10, 2011
A prayer for the Holy Father
Christ Jesus, King and Lord of the Church, in your presence I renew my unconditional loyalty to your Vicar on earth, the Pope. In him you have chosen to show us the safe and sure path that we must follow in the midst of confusion, uneasiness, and unrest. I firmly believe that through him you govern, teach, and sanctify us; with him as our shepherd, we form the true Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Grant me the grace to love, live, and spread faithfully our Holy Father’s teachings. Watch over his life, enlighten his mind, strengthen his spirit, defend him from calumny and evil. Calm the erosive winds of infidelity and disobedience. Hear our prayer and keep your Church united around him, firm in its belief and action, that it may truly be the instrument of your redemption. Amen.
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