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In his Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, Pope John Paul II invites us to penetrate into the depth of the Mystery of Jesus by uniting to “theological investigation” recourse to “that great heritage which is the ‘lived theology’ of the saints” (#27). This is immediately illustrated by citing two women Doctors of the Church, Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux whose “lived theology” sheds notable light on the face of Jesus in his Passion: “blissful and afflicted” (ibid).

In this way, John Paul II indicates a new path for the theology of the third millennium, a path of reflection and of contemplation uniting inseparably the understanding of the Mystery of the faith (fides et ratio) and the loving experience of this same Mystery (fides et amor). (1)

From Francis of Assisi to Thérèse of Lisieux, the mystics are the great representatives of this lived theology of the saints. They transmit to the whole Church their profound knowledge of the Mystery of God the Trinity, of the God known and loved in Jesus Christ by means of the great work of his Love which is the Redemption of man. Immersed in the Infinite Love of Jesus, they are the best “knowers” (connaisseurs) they are authentically “theologians,” that is to say “knowers (connaisseurs) of God.” In fact, according to the words of the Apostle John, “he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is Love” (cf. I Jn. 4:7-8). […]

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On December 8, 2003, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope John Paul II signed his important Letter to the Men and Women Religious of the Montfort Families. (1) This relatively lengthy text presents essential elements of the doctrine of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716) as it is synthesized in his masterpiece: The Treatise on True Devotion to Mary, and summarized in the short Secret of Mary. (2) The Letter is addressed to those who, in the Church and for the whole Church, are in a particular way the depositaries of this doctrine because they are the sons and daughters of Saint Louis Marie.

The Pope had often spoken about this saint who had so profoundly marked his life; but, for the first time, with this Letter, he offers us a synthetic exposé of his doctrine. In fact, in this new text, as well as in the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (no. 15), the content of the Treatise is principally qualified by the term “doctrine.” […]

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The most incarnate expression of this cooperation of Thérèse in the Mystery of the Redemption, as Spouse of Jesus and Mother of sinners, is found in her great christological poem: Jesus, My Beloved, Remember! (PN 24) in the two stanzas concerning the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. The previous strophes place the accent on spousal love: “Jesus, my tender Spouse.” As Saint John at the Last Supper, Thérèse can rest on the Heart of Jesus:

I am not at all jealous of your beloved disciple.
I know your secrets, for I am your spouse.
O my divine Savior,
I fall asleep on your Heart.
It is mine! (15) […]

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