Friday, October 1, 2010

How St. Therese saved a murderer and inspired Mother Teresa

October 1, The Feast of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus
The following took place in 1887, when Thérèse Martin was fourteen years old.
“One Sunday when I was looking at a picture of Our Lord on the Cross, I saw the Blood coming from one of His hands, and I felt terribly sad to think that It was falling to the earth and that no one was rushing forward to catch It. I determined to stay continually at the foot of the Cross and receive It. I knew that I should then have to spread It among other souls. The cry of Jesus on the Cross – ‘I am thirsty’ – rang continually in my heart and set me burning with a new, intense longing. I wanted to quench the thirst of my Well-Beloved and I myself was consumed with a thirst for souls. I was concerned not with the souls of priests but with those of great sinners which I wanted to snatch from the flames of hell.

“God showed me He was pleased with these longings of mine. I’d heard of a criminal who had just been condemned to death for some frightful murders. It seemed that he would die without repenting. I was determined at all costs to same him from hell. I used every means I could. I knew that by myself I could do nothing, so I offered God the infinite merits of Our Lord and the treasures of the Church. I was quite certain that my prayers would be answered, but to give me courage to go on praying for sinners I said to God: ‘I am sure You will forgive this wretched Pranzini. I shall believe You have done so even if he does not confess or give any other sign of repentance, for I have compete faith in the infinite mercy of Jesus. But I ask You for just one sign of his repentance to encourage me.’
“This prayer was answered. Daddy never allowed us to read any newspapers, but I thought I was justified in looking at the stories about Pranzini. On the day after his execution I eagerly opened La Croix and I had to rush away to hide my tears at what I read. Pranzini had mounted the scaffold without confessing and was ready to thrust his head beneath the guillotine’s blade when he suddenly turned, seized the crucifix offered him by the priest, and thrice kissed the Sacred Wounds.
“I had been given my sign, and it was typical of the graces Jesus has given me to make me eager to pray for sinners. It was at the sight of the Precious Blood flowing from the Wounds of Jesus that my thirst for souls had been born. I wanted to let them drink of this Immaculate Blood to cleanse them of their sins and the lips of my ‘first child’ had pressed against the Sacred Wounds! What a wonderful reply to my prayers! After this striking favour my longing for souls grew greater every day. I seemed to hear Jesus say to me what He said to the Samaritan Woman: ‘Give me to drink.’ It was a real exchange of love: I gave souls the Blood of Jesus and offered Him these purified souls that His thirst might be quenched. The more I gave Him to drink, the more the thirst of my own poor soul increased, and He gave me this burning thirst to show His love for me.” (From early in chapter 5 of Story of a Soul)

“Until you know deep inside that Jesus thirsts for you – you can’t begin to know who He wants to be for you. Or who He wants you to be for Him.” (Mother Teresa)


Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

"I was concerned not with the souls of priests but with those of great sinners which I wanted to snatch from the flames of hell."
How great a need there is to pray for priests in our day. For it is perhaps the priests who are often most in danger of the flames of hell!

St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, pray for us!

Bernardus said...

Dear Fr. Reginaldus,
Every day the faithful need to pray fervently for priests. Priests who are Holy men of God. Priests who model themselves after St. John Vianney or St. Pio. All of you offer the Holy Mass which is the source and substance of our lives. I know too often priests face the trappings of the world as all the faithful do. But it is perhaps a much greater victory for the evil one to bring a priest down.
Unfortunately we faithful need priests who will sit hours for one confession, who will give his all in a Holy celebration of Mass (be it Ordinary or Extraordinary). And some of us need spiritual guides who will help us lead and foster a Holy life.
Father, I pray for you always. Please pray for me. The moniker you have chosen for this blog (Fr. Reginald Lagrange I presume) is a favorite of mine. It would be interesting to read his commentaries on the priesthood.
O Mary, Holy Mother of God, pray for us and obtain for us many and holy priests.
Yours in Christ Jesus, our Lord,
Ernie Bragiel

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement!
You are correct, I have taken the pen-name Reginald after the great Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange. He was able to combine a love for theology with a love for the poor; and a passion for dogma with a depth of insight into the spiritual life. If only we might merit more priests like him!
Blessings to you in Christ our Savior.

Anonymous said...

I burn for souls so much that I find myself speaking very vehemently to sinners, especially Catholic sinners, about repentance. I have been nice to them, speaking gently and I have been stern and I have been passionate and righteous. I pray for them every day and that doesn't seem to work. I would dare to ask, "What does one do about inveterate sinners who know what is right but simply continue in sin?" St. Monica held out for St. Augustine and got to see him repent. I hope I can do the same for these pitiful sinners!

Lynn said...

I have been praying for the desire to save sinners too. But how does one obtain the desire within the heart to want to save a murderer/rapist especially a pedophile? My deepest gut reaction is to want their punishment and a severe one too! When I look at the photo of such a criminal this is what comes to my mind and heart. How do I get past this? It is so hard to desire mercy for them and not judgement! I am praying to the Blessed Mother to help me with this.

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