MJTDC with St. Joan and St. Thérèse – Divine Union through Faith

 

MJTDC Mont St Michel (1) with site and MJTDC

This is part of a series.

In the combined spirituality of St. Joan and St. Thérèse, “the most beautiful color in the Heavens,” as I mentioned earlier that I like to call it, I received many graces from Our Lord and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, many graces that appear (for I cannot presume) to have kept me within the safe confines of the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed. There are many Dark Forests on either side of the Trail as we venture forth toward the Kingdom. These Dark Forests are filled with the lethal smoke of false doctrines and ideologies that will cause us to be lost on our way and ultimately kill our souls. St. Joan and St. Thérèse, as part of the communion of saints, combine and share their treasures to keep us safe. One of the first dangers through which they helps us is that of the imperfection of our souls combined with the light of God’s grace through visions, revelations, locutions, and spiritual feelings, as St. John of the Cross categorizes them.

The core of St. John’s message, and a protection against the evils of the Dark Forest around us is, as St. Teresa Benedicta explains:

“Here one feels the heartbeat of our Holy Father. He speaks of the great truth that he has recognized; it is his mission to proclaim it: our goal is union with God, our way that of the crucified Christ,  are becoming one with him takes place when we are crucified. The only proportionate means to arrive at this union is faith.” (The Science of the Cross by Edith Stein – St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

sttherese_joan

St. Joan and St. Thérèse, by the divine will, show us the majesty and beauty of the Kingdom toward which we are moving in order to inflame our souls with Hope and heavenly desire as we turn from the world; yet, they keep us safe through Carmelite wisdom which warns us of making idols of these revelations, locutions, and spiritual feelings. Without celestial aid, we are likely to venture off the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed and fall into a crevice. This is due to the weakness and imperfection of our souls. We are warned not to make anything of these gifts in and of themselves. God uses them for his purpose of saving our souls, i.e., in making sure we reach the end of the Trail where sits the Kingdom. However, as St. John of the Cross reminds us, these are not God himself. We chase after these revelations and feelings like children chasing after butterflies who then suddenly stop to look around and see that they are lost. Our union with God comes through faith alone and not through our sensible feelings and discursive intellectual revelations, while at the same time these sensible feelings and discursive meditations are gifts from God to strengthen us on our journey.

“Therefore, in order to attain to God, one must “rather strive… not to understand as to understand… rather to be blind and transport oneself into darkness… than to open the eyes.”

The darkness that leads to God is, as we already know, faith.

The greater one’s faith the closer is one’s union with God.

What it gives us – contemplation – is a dark and general knowledge.”

(The Science of the Cross by Edith Stein – St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

Therese PF8

While being inspired by Our Lord in the company of our saintly sisters, we must at the same time reject “the apprehensions of the interior senses – imagination and phantasy…” This is striving not understand while God brings us to greater understanding. St. Joan and St. Thérèse are proximate means of this supernatural grace, all, of course, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

On our own, we become less in the presence of these graces rather than more. Due to our imperfections, we become prideful. We might imagine that we are making great progress and that God is very pleased with us. Surely these feelings and revelations mean we are almost at divine union which is the substance of the Kingdom! Alas, when we think in this manner, we are chasing butterflies into the Dark Forest. How fortunate for us that we have the aid of Heaven and our saintly sisters.

Jehanne Cloud

We must remove these prideful imperfections in order to open our souls to the true Light of Christ:

“This light is never lacking to the soul, but because of creature forms and veils that weigh on her and cover her, the light is never infused. If the soul would eliminate these impediments and veils and live in pure nakedness and poverty of spirit in her simplicity and purity she would then be immediately transformed into simple and pure Wisdom, the Son of God.” (The Science of the Cross by Edith Stein – St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

The way St. Joan and St. Thérèse help us to lift the veil that weighs on our souls is to obtain for us from God, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the grace of obedience to the Church and all of her dogmas and doctrines. This is how we reach the Kingdom, not through chasing butterflies in dangerous forests.

“One should not believe anything coming in a supernatural way, but believe only the teaching of Christ who is human, and of his ministers who were human… All else is good for nothing, and one that may only accept it in faith when it corresponds to the teaching of Christ.

God has a very special predilection that direction of humans be through other humans and that a person be governed by natural reason.”

(The Science of the Cross by Edith Stein – St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

As if to put an exclamation point on the necessity of faith for union with God over the gifts which are not God, John tells us:

“For ‘it greatly behooves the soul not to want to understand the truths of faith so clearly, that she may thereby conserve the merit of faith pure and entire; only in this manner will she pass through this night of the intellect to the divine light of union.’ “

(The Science of the Cross by Edith Stein – St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

Faith in the teachings of Christ through his Holy Catholic Church is the sure means of our salvation. We are led in faith, inspired through hope, and inflamed in love on our journey with St. Joan and St. Thérèse precisely because it is the “Trail of the Dogmatic Creed.”

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