From the First Steps on the Little Way of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, a publication of the
God has raised up St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church, to enable us to grasp and live the profound truth of divine Love with the same intensity as she lived it. Or to put it another way, the Church has proclaimed St. Thérèse a Doctor of the Church in order to help God’s people love the love that is mercy.
Therese was so convinced about how much we need to love the love that is mercy – instead of some twisted, inept infatuation with justice – that she made it the theme of a little Christmas play she wrote and performed for the community in 1894.
In the play, the Angel of Judgment approaches the infant Jesus in the manger and says this:
Have you forgotten, Jesus, O Beauty supreme, that the sinner must at last be punished? I will chastise the crime in judgment; I want to exterminate all the ungrateful. My sword is ready! Jesus, sweet victim! My sword is ready!! I am set to avenge you!!! (Theatre au Carmel, Paris: Cerf DDB, 1985, p. 108, author’s translation)
And the baby Jesus replies:
O beautiful angel! Put down your sword. It is not for you to judge the nature that I raise up and that I wish to redeem. The one who will judge the world is myself, the one named Jesus! The life-giving dew of my Blood will purify all my chosen ones. Don’t you know that faithful souls always give me consolation in the face of the blasphemies of the unfaithful by a simple look of love? (ibid.)
This little dramatic scene proved to be prophetic. In it we see prefigured the very model for Thérèse to be proclaimed a Doctor of the Church. We hear a little child… speaking with the authoritative voice of God…correcting a destructive concept of divine justice…offering a new way to grasp God’s love…and transforming the world through a graced teaching on God’s mercy.