St. Therese and the Priesthood Reflections, Part III
|The Nuns with Br. Francis, our spiritual brother, and Barbara Campbell, mother of Sr. Andre and Sr. St. Paul|
Love unites souls. Revisiting St. Therese’s definition of Love: “Love is uniting my will to God’s Will.” we realize why we are so united to those who share our faith journey. There is also a unique spiritual union present between those for whom we intercede. As women, who are “pre-programmed” for motherhood, I believe this bond is similar to the bond a natural mother experiences for her children. When we pray for someone – whoever they may be – we take them into our maternal heart. Love unites souls.
When speaking of the genius of spiritual motherhood and intercession, I want to hearken back to the simplicity of St. Therese. Sometimes we can make things very complicated: prayer included. Toward the end of her short life, her superior entrusted Therese with 2 spiritual brothers to pray for. She wondered how she could properly care for their spiritual needs in prayer. Indeed, when we are called to be a spiritual mother, we experience the joys, responsibilities, and burdens of motherhood. Therese says that she wanted to ask for both of these souls and the souls of all her spiritual children what they needed. But then, if she went into detail about it, the days would not be long enough…and she adds so candidly: “and I fear I would forget something important.” So in true Theresian fashion, she says: This is too complicated! She turns to Jesus and He shows her a better way.
What is the better way, the simpler way, the more effective way? As with all things, she turned her eyes from self toward JESUS. And she sought the answer in Him:
|Sr. John-Mark Maria with Fr. Paul Sullivan and Phoenix Seminarians|
She says: “He made me understand these words of the Song of Songs: “Draw me, WE shall run after you in the odor of your ointments.” O Jesus it is not even necessary to say: “When drawing me, draw the souls whom I love!” This simple statement, ‘Draw me” suffices; I understand, Lord, that when a soul allows herself to be captivated by the odor of Your ointments, she cannot run alone, all the souls whom she loves follows in her train; this is done without constraint, without effort, it is a natural consequence of her attraction for You. Just as a torrent, throwing itself with impetuosity into the ocean, drags after it everything it encounters in its passage, in the same way, O Jesus, the soul who plunges into the shoreless ocean of Your Love, draws with her all the treasures she possesses. Lord, You know it, I have no other treasures than the souls it has pleased You to unite to mine; it is You who have entrusted these treasures to me, and so I dare to borrow the words which You addressed to the heavenly Father at the Last Supper: “Father I will that where I am, these also whom you have given me may be with me.”
Love unites. She uses the words of Our Lord at the Last Supper to express her own love for the souls entrusted to her care: “Lord, let those you have given me be with me where I am.” Love unites. As our union with God grows, so will the effectiveness of our intercession for souls. If we truly wish to be champion intercessors for Priests – and so win salvation for many, then we must first allow the Lord to be the champion of our hearts.