Wednesday, May 5, 2010

St. Therese on Justification

"When comes the evening of life, I shall stand before Thee with empty hands,
because I do not ask Thee, My God, to take account of my works. All our works of
justice are blemished in Thine Eyes. I wish therefore to be robed with Thine own Justice, and to receive from Thy Love the everlasting gift of Thyself. I desire no other Throne, no other Crown but Thee, O my Beloved?" - St. Therese of Lisieux

Remember that Justice means Righteousness in Catholicism. So this makes the 2nd Doctor of the Church that has taught something akin to the imputed righteousness of Christ. Kind of odd as I thought that was anathema'd at Trent, but I'm sure there's a way around that.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux too emphasizes justification by Christ's righteousness not our own, but he does not use the robing/cloaking image here utilized by St. Therese. I know Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, and Cardinal Pole, and some other famous Augustinians shared these views. If there was a way to hold them, and still remain Catholic it would be very comforting. It would be nice if we could even read the doctors of the church without reaching what would later be defined as heretical.

Lord have mercy...

If anyone knows our way of getting round these quotes, please let me know. I sure would like Christ's righteousness, but if Peter has declared against it, then I have to submit.


  1. I would say:

    St. Therese was not a theologian. She was not trying to explicate some doctrine of justification in a precise way but was just, in her usual flowery style, speaking of how much she trusted completely in Christ. The first part of her oblation to merciful love (of which this is a part I think) speak of the merits of the saints and of being filled with God's Love etc. etc.

    As you I'm sure have read, the focus of her writings and theology were on her own littleness and God's greatness and most of all his Love. How many Protestants would say they would like to offer themselves as a Holocaust to Divine Love for the souls in Purgatory? :)

    God bless keep reading and praying awesome!

  2. I don't know where you get this quote, but St Therese said a lot more than this (despite not being a academic theologian). For example, her biography records a time when she prayed for a miracle (and was answered) that a guy on death row who would not Confess would repent and be reconciled to Christ before execution; well, he did, and her soul was overjoyed. This is nonsense if she espoused 'imputed righteousness' where one's good or evil was not taken into account.