I was gifted a book yesterday from someone who thought it would help me with some issues I've been having. The book is I Believe in Love: A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, by Fr. Jean C. J. D'Elbée.
The giver assured me that this would be an unsentimental look at St. Thérèse (I've no time for the pursed-lips, porcelain-skinned holy-card version of this audacious and daring young woman), so I settled down to read some with an open mind this morning.
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Anyway, I didn't get very far in -- not even far enough to reach a single mention of St. Thérèse! -- before finding something that I wanted to remember. I find the turns of phrases provocative and I hope you do too.
In the first pages of the very first meditation, "Love for Love," Father D'Elbée writes:
Jesus bought a twofold right on Calvary at the price of all His Blood: the right, for Him, to love us in spite of, or even because of our sins, our unworthiness; and the right, for us, to love Him from the depths of our immense misery and to contemplate His divine attributes, including His justice, within His infinite mercy.
...At Gethsemane He appears before His Father, covered with our sins -- He, who "bore our sins in His body" [1 Pet 2:24]. He obtains for us the right to appear one day before the Father covered with the Blood flowing from every pore of His body under the pressure of His agony and shed on Calvary to the last drop. Then the Father will not recognize us as sinners, but as His children, regenerated and renewed by the baptism of this Blood; He will take us for His beloved Son.
See this sublime exchange: Jesus takes our sins upon Himself, and we make His merits our own. And the Father receives us as if we were His beloved Son, through infinite mercy, but in all justice.
After a retreat in which I had preached this with great conviction, a retreatant said to me, "I want most especially to retain one thought from your retreat: my sins on Him, His Blood on me."
I read this, and I instantly thought:
What a remarkable spin on "His Blood be on us and on our children." No?