Wednesday 29 November 2023

C’est La Confiance - Pope Francis - CTS Books

C’est La Confiance
Pope Francis
ISBN 9781784697761
CTS Booklet DO971


I picked up this volume to read as part of Father Mark Goring’s Saint Mark’s School of Reading. I read the online version at the Vatican site before getting the CTS Edition. It is not the first papal document we have read together. Father Mark only did a few sessions on this work because of how late it the month it released. 

The description of this volume is:

“To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of St Therese of Lisieux, Pope Francis wrote this Apostolic Exhortation celebrating the saint’s great trust and confidence in God. “It is trust that brings us to love and thus sets us free from fear. “It is trust that helps us to stop looking to ourselves and enables us to put into God’s hands what he alone can accomplish.” (Pope Francis)

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of St Therese of Lisieux, Pope Francis wrote this Apostolic Exhortation celebrating the saint's great trust and confidence in God. 

“It is trust that brings us to love and thus sets us free from fear. It is trust that helps us to stop looking to ourselves and enables us to put into God’s hands what he alone can accomplish. Doing so provides us with an immense source of love and energy for seeking the good of our brothers and sisters. And so, amid the suffering of her last days, Therese was able to say: “I count only on love”. In the end, only love counts. Trust makes roses blossom and pours them forth as an overflow of the superabundance of God’s love.” Pope Francis”

The sections in this document are:

C’est La Confiance
1. Jesus For Others
     A missionary soul
     The grace that sets us free from self-absorption

2. The Little Way Of Trust And Love
     Apart from all merit
     Daily abandonment
     Fire burning in the night
     A most firm hope

3. I Will Be Love
     Charity as a personal attitude of love
     The greatest love in supreme simplicity
     In the heart of the Church
     A shower of roses

4. At The Heart Of The Gospel
     The Doctor of synthesis

I highlighted a few passages my third time through the booklet. Some of them were:

“These striking words of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face say it all. They sum up the genius of her spirituality and would suffice to justify the fact that she has been named a Doctor of the Church. Confidence, “nothing but confidence”, is the sole path that leads us to the Love that grants everything. With confidence, the wellspring of grace overflows into our lives, the Gospel takes flesh within us and makes us channels of mercy for our brothers and sisters.”

“It is confidence that sustains us daily and will enable us to stand before the Lord on the day when he calls us to himself: “In the evening of this life, I shall appear before you with empty hands, for I do not ask you, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is stained in your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own Justice and to receive from your Love the eternal possession of yourself”.”

“The earthly life of Saint Therese was brief, a mere twenty-four years, and completely ordinary, first in her family and then in the Carmel of Lisieux. The extraordinary burst of light and love that she radiated came to be known soon after her death, with the publication of her writings and thanks to the countless graces bestowed on the faithful who invoked her intercession.”

“In the name that Therese chose as a religious, Jesus stands out as the “Child” who manifests the mystery of the Incarnation, and the “Holy Face” of the one who surrendered himself completely on the Cross. She is “Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face”.”

“One of the most important insights of Therese for the benefit of the entire People of God is her “little way”, the path of trust and love, also known as the way of spiritual childhood. Everyone can follow this way, whatever their age or state in life. It is the way that the heavenly Father reveals to the little ones (cf. Mt 11: 25).”

“It is most fitting, then, that we should place heartfelt trust not in ourselves but in the infinite mercy of a God who loves us unconditionally and has already given us everything in the Cross of Jesus Christ.”

“Therese possessed complete certainty that Jesus loved her and knew her personally at the time of his Passion: “He loved me and gave himself for me” ( Gal 2: 20). As she contemplated Jesus in his agony, she told him: “You saw me”.”

“The act of love–repeating the words, “Jesus I love you”–which became as natural to Therese as breathing, is the key to her understanding of the Gospel. With that love, she immersed herself in all the mysteries of the life of Christ, making herself his contemporary and placing herself within the Gospel together with Mary and Joseph, Mary Magdalene and the apostles. Together with them, she penetrated to the depths of the love of the Heart of Jesus.”

“The transformation that was taking place enabled her to pass from a fervent desire for heaven to a constant, burning desire for the good of all, culminating in her dream of continuing in heaven her mission of loving Jesus and making him loved. As she wrote in one of her last letters: “I really count on not remaining inactive in heaven. My desire is to work still for the Church and for souls”.”

“She had come full circle. “C’est la confiance”. It is trust that brings us to love and thus sets us free from fear. It is trust that helps us to stop looking to ourselves and enables us to put into God’s hands what he alone can accomplish. Doing so provides us with an immense source of love and energy for seeking the good of our brothers and sisters. And so, amid the suffering of her last days, Therese was able to say: “ I count only on love”.”

“In an age that urges us to focus on ourselves and our own interests, Therese shows us the beauty of making our lives a gift. At a time when the most superficial needs and desires are glorified, she testifies to the radicalism of the Gospel. In an age of individualism, she makes us discover the value of a love that becomes intercession for others. At a time when human beings are obsessed with grandeur and new forms of power, she points out to us the little way. In an age that casts aside so many of our brothers and sisters, she teaches us the beauty of concern and responsibility for one another. At a time of great complexity, she can help us rediscover the importance of simplicity, the absolute primacy of love, trust and abandonment, and thus move beyond a legalistic or moralistic mindset that would fill the Christian life with rules and regulations, and cause the joy of the Gospel to grow cold.”

I hope those few quotes will give you a feel for this document. It is a good read. I am glad I picked up the CTS edition. I know it is available at the Vatican site. But I really enjoy the CTS versions of this and other Vatican documents. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.





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