Saturday, May 3, 2014
Final Judgment of a Saint
The following is an excerpt taken from the book, "My Sister, Saint Therese" written by Sister Genevieve of the Holy Face, OCD (Celine Martin).
"Then, gazing on her Crucifix:
'Oh!...Je L'Aime! ... Mon Dieu, je...vous...aime!!!'
These were her last words. Hardly had she uttered them when, to our great surprise, she sank down on the pillow with her head a little to the right. Then suddenly, she raised herself up as though called by some mysterious voice, opened her eyes and fixed a radiant gaze on a spot a little above the miraculous statue of Our Lady of the Smile. Therese remained in this position for some moments, about the time required to recite a Credo slowly.
Often during life I have tried to analyze this ecstatic gaze which was certainly something more than a simple reflection of eternal beatitude. I have reached the following conclusions which I humbly submit to the reader.
At first, her expression had an air of confident assurance combined with a joyful attitude of expectancy: as the story of her soul unfolded, she might have been asking God what He thought of it.
And then when she had His answer her expression changed to one of profound astonishment and then to overflowing gratitude.
I have always liked to believe that we were privileged to assist at Therese's Judgment. She had on the one hand been found worthy to appear (standing) before the Son of Man; on the other hand, she was, as it were, overcome by the realization of her bewildering reward, a glory which 'infinitely surpasses my boundless desires.' This caused her whole being, I thought, to vibrate under the weight of so much love and in spite of her effort to withstand the continuous assault, she finally succumbed, closed her eyes and died. It was September 30, 1997 at seven twenty in the evening".
When I read this again just a few days ago, I realize that at times I'm not even aware of my soul because I am bogged down by too many other things. In a talk that a priest gave some years ago on St. Therese, he told us that what ultimately caused her death was not her illness but her soul being ripped from her body. He said he believed the same was true of the way the Blessed Virgin Mary passed from this life to the next.
What work we have to do to die a similar death!