St. Therese was forgiven MORE than St. Mary Magdalene

From Story of a Soul pg. 47:

“Our Lord knew that I was far too weak to face temptation; he knew that I would certainly have burned myself in the bewildering light of earthly things, and so he did not let it shine in my eyes. Where stronger souls find joy, but remained attached because they’re faithful, I found only misery. I can’t take any credit for not getting in entangled in this way; it was only because God had mercy on me and preserved me. Without his help, I might have fallen even lower than St. Mary Magdalene. His wonderful words to Simon the Pharisee,  ”to whom less is forgiven, he loves less” (Luke 7:47), echo so sweetly in my soul, for he has forgiven me much MORE than he forgave her. I can’t really explain my feelings about this, but perhaps an example will give you an idea of what I mean: suppose the son of a skillful doctor falls over a stone lying in his path and breaks a limb. His father hurries to help him and dresses his wound so skillfully that it heals completely. Naturally, he is quite right to love such a father and will be most grateful them.

But supposing again this doctor saw the dangerous stone, anticipated that his son will fall over it and moved it out-of-the-way when no one was looking; then the son would know nothing of the danger from which his father’s loving care had saved them and so would have no reason to show gratitude. He would love him LESS than if he had healed some serious wound. But if he did find out the truth, surely his love would be even GREATER? I am that child, the object of the father’s loving providence, “who did not send his son to call the just, but sinners” (Luke 5:32). He wants me to love him because he has forgiven me, not much, but everything. He did not wait for me to love him with a great love, like Magdalene’s, but made me see that He had love me first, with an infinite Providence, so that now I may love him in return even onto folly.

I have often heard it said in retreats and elsewhere that an innocent soul never loves God as much as a repentant one, and how I long to prove that that is not true!”

Ah, what a great insight into preventative mercy!

We can use this example from St. Therese to shed light on Mary’s Immaculate Conception as the perfect sign of God’s preventative mercy (read an article here for more) and also the importance of divine mercy in the life of St. Therese (read an article here for more).

St. Therese said that her entire autobiography would have 1 focus = Mercy!

“I’m going to be doing only one thing: I shall begin to sing what I must sing eternally: “The Mercies of the Lord” (Ps. 88:2)

We can also use this example for our own journeys going forward. Know that “there but the grace of God go I” is ever-present in our lives. Too often we just think about God’s mercy in our past conversion and God’s mercy in the confessional, but God’s mercy is the guiding force that prevents us from committing even more grave sins today and in the future!

A good prayer: “Thank you Jesus for preventing me from sinning more grievously against you”.


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