"When I had looked upon the mystical body of the Church, I recognised myself in none of the members which St. Paul described, and what is more, I desired to distinguish myself more favourably within the whole body. Love appeared to me to be the hinge for my vocation. Indeed I knew that the Church had a body composed of various members, but in this body the necessary and more noble member was not lacking; I knew that the Church had a heart and that such a heart appeared to be aflame with love. I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more. I saw and realised that love sets off the bounds of all vocations, that love is everything, that this same love embraces every time and every place. In one word, that love is everlasting.
Then, nearly ecstatic with the supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction."
From the Autobiography of Therese of Lisieux.
And also this snippet from the Universalis website.
What makes St Thérèse so special?
We have grown used to the idea that just as there are people with talents for sport or scholarship, and the rest of us can only admire them without trying to keep up, so there are people with a talent for holiness and heroic virtue, and the rest of us can only bumble along as best we can. We can’t do better because we’re not designed to do better, so there’s no point in trying. We sink into a consoling mediocrity.
Today, Therese's relics are on a tour of England and Wales. Again, venerating relics leaves me very cool indeed (the forearm of St Francis Xavier in the Gesu in Rome really made me squirm), but the very fact that on her this her Feast day they are in the great Anglican Cathedral of York Minster and that pilgrims are thronging there is truly marvellous. After a long chill in Anglican RC relations, it is good to feel a bit of a thaw. Perhaps that thaw is due to the moves of the ABC to bring about a more centralised Anglican Communion through Covenant and Instruments. Which poses the interesting question: "Does the end of Unity justify a means which changes the essential nature of Anglican Polity?" With my Anglo-Papalist leanings, I feel a degree of division in my own mind about all this. Unity yes, but Rome has to budge too. It cannot be totally about conforming to her. That is Conversion, not the convergence Geoffrey Fisher suggested to John XXIII.
But Therese remains a reminder ultimately to me of the truth of the Magnificat:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;
he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed;
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his name.
Therese of Lisieux, pray for us.