St. Therese’s famous prayer, “The Act of Oblation to Merciful Love” is rich with spiritual concepts for us to ponder, especially the recognition of our poverty and weakness, yet pulsating desire to console Jesus in every way. Knowing souls were rejecting His love, St. Therese offers herself as a victim of his merciful love so that the love others souls rejected would come to her. She vehemently desires to be a saint but is not the great eagle that they are…so she implores God Himself to be her sanctity!! She displays her great confidence in God’s transforming fire of love. How may we imitate her? How may we make her prayer our own? This program carefully considers the duties of a victim of love, the obstacles to be overcome, the soul’s attitude toward suffering, and in what a “death of love” involves. Let us remember that St. Therese prayed for a “legion of little victims worthy of His love” to be raised up. Are you willing to be one?
If you read St. Therese's Act of Oblation to Merciful Love, you will no doubt discover some terminology that might sound a little harsh to the modern ear. Terms like victim, holocaust, and martyr are not words that are cast about lightheartedly these days. But in order to fully appreciate St. Therese's use of these terms in her personal prayer to Jesus Christ, we must also understand what St. Therese is sacrificing or, to use a more familiar term, consecrating herself to. Therese understands that what God wishes to do in her soul, and indeed in each of our souls, is to both ignite the internal fire of love that will consume everything that is inconsistent with His Love, while, at the same time, God wishes to consume the very soul that is burning with this interior love for Him. This is not possible, Therese well knows, unless she make the ultimate sacrifice of herself to God, to His merciful love. In this program, Mark goes through each of these terms, and others, and he describes the context in which St. Therese is using them. He also explains how each of these terms is a perfectly appropriate description of the very action of the Holy Spirit within the soul. He then goes on to explain both some of the cautions related to a soul's adoption of the mindset of oblation to God, and he also describes the remarkable benefits that can accrue from a soul making and living such a sacrifice. Finally, Mark goes on to explain the remarkable benefit such a committed soul can have on the Church as a whole. This is a very valuable presentation for anyone who desire to gain a deeper understanding of just what the Lord is inviting each of us to, what is required of us to respond, and what eternal benefits are available for ourselves and the Church, if we only respond with great fidelity.
This is the second episode in a new monthly series of talks by Deacon Rusty Baldwin, a Secular Discalced Carmelite who gives a presentation to our Community in Dayton each month. These are recorded live during our Holy Hours. In this program, Deacon Baldwin discusses Carmel and the Evangelical Counsels.