Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Another "urgent appeal" by Benedict XVI to "all parties involved" so that there "is no further bloodshed" in Libya and Ivory Coast and "to start the work of peace-building and dialogue. "" Violence and hatred are always a defeat, "the Pope said, adding he was following what is happening in those countries “with great concern ".
The new Pope's appeal came at the end of today's general audience, during which, illustrating the figure of Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of the Infant Jesus of the Holy Face, he said that Christian life is to live fully the grace of baptism in a total self-giving love of the Father, to live like Christ, in the fire of the Holy Spirit, His same love for others ".
To 20 thousand people in St Peter’s Square for the general audience, Benedict XVI said that Therese of Lisieux is "a guide for all", especially for theologians, "with humility and charity, faith and hope, Teresa enters continuously into the heart of Sacred Scripture that contains the mystery of Christ. And such a reading of the Bible, nourished by the science of love, is not opposed to academic science. " The science of the saints, in fact, is the highest science. "
The author of "Story of a Soul", a book translated into many languages and read all over the world, was proclaimed Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II in 1997, adding to her title of patron saint of missions, conferred by Pope Pius XI in 1939. Therese of Lisieux’s book is one that Benedict XVI invites us to rediscover a "small but great treasure", a "bright commentary of the Gospel fully lived! The Story of a Soul, in fact, is a wonderful love story, told with such authenticity, simplicity and freshness that the reader can not help but remain fascinated! But what is this love that filled the life of Teresa, from childhood to death? Dear friends, this love has a face, it has a name, it is Jesus. "
Teresa was born January 2, 1873 in Alençon, Normandy, ninth and youngest daughter of Louis and Zelie Martin, parents, spouses and individuals, beatified together October 19, 2008. Four children died and the five remaining daughters all became religious. Teresa, 4 years old, was deeply wounded by the death of her mother. Her father then moved with his daughters to Lisieux, where the saint spent her entire life. Later, Teresa, suffering from a severe nervous disorder, was cured by a Divine grace, which she calls "Our Lady’s smile."
At 14, Teresa drew increasingly close, with great faith, to Christ crucified, "and takes to heart the case, apparently in despair, of a criminal sentenced to death and unrepentant," for which she prays so that he will not go to hell . "It 's her first and fundamental experience of spiritual motherhood”.
In November 1887, Teresa went on a pilgrimage to Rome with her father and sister Celina and during an audience with Pope Leo XIII, asks the Pope permission to enter, at just fifteen, into the Caramel convent of Lisieux. A year later, her wish came true: she became a Carmelite, "to save souls and pray for priests." "At the same time, the painful and humiliating mental illness of her father also began. It is a source of great suffering that leads Teresa to contemplate the face of Jesus in his passion. From this, her religious name - Sister Teresa of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face – this is the program of her entire life, in communion with the central mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption. " Herreligious profession, on the feast of the Nativity of Mary, September 8, 1890, "is for her a true spiritual marriage."
That day, she wrote a prayer that indicates the direction of her life, she "asks Jesus for the gift of His infinite love, of being the smallest, and especially she asks for the salvation of all men: 'Let no soul be damned today “.
In 1896, the "grace of Easter," opens the last period of Teresa's life, with the beginning of her passion: "It is the passion of the body with the disease that lead to death through great suffering, but above all it is the passion of the soul, a painful test of faith. " Teresa lived then the most heroic faith, like a light in the darkness that invades her soul. The Carmelite was aware that she was experiencing this great trial for the salvation of all the atheists of the modern world, whom she called "brothers". Thus she lived even more intensely her fraternal love for the sisters of her community, towards her two brothers spiritual missionaries, priests and to all men, especially the most distant. She really became a 'universal sister'.
Teresa died on the evening of September 30, 1897, saying the simple words "My God, I love you!", Looking at the crucifix clutched in her hands. "These last words of the Saint are the key to all of her doctrine, her interpretation of the Gospel. The act of love, expressed in her last breath, was like the constant breath of her soul, like the beating of her heart. "