If I should ever find myself in doubt and darkness, I shall read again this short but profound reflection on Mercy, drawing from the writings of St Therese of Lisieux, St Paul and the life of Our Lord as written in the Gospels.
The good God would not inspire unattainable desires; I can, then, in spite of my littleness, aspire to sanctity.—St Therese of Lisieux
This page is taken from the 2nd chapter of a personal retreat volume "I Believe in Love" by a French priest, Rev. Jean C. J. d'Elbeé, who wrote it based on St. Therese's 'teaching about confident love'. It may not be unfamiliar to most, but encountering it at this point of my life is nothing less than a caress, an oasis in the desert.
A sampler is here:
I am not telling you, "You believe too much in your own wretchedness." We are much more wretched than we ever realize. But I am telling you, "You do not believe enough in merciful love."
We must have confidence, not in spite of our miseries, but because of them, since it is misery which attracts mercy.
Oh, this word, mercy — misericordia — "miseris cor dare," a heart which gives itself to the miserable, a Heart which nourishes itself on miseries by consuming them. Meditate on this word.
St. Thomas says that "to have mercy belongs to the nature of God, and it is in this that His omnipotence manifests itself in the highest degree."
Little Thérèse perceived this when she wrote these lines which complete and crown her manuscript: "Yes, I sense that even if I had on my conscience all the sins which can be committed, I would go, my heart broken, to repent and throw myself into the arms of Jesus, for I know how much He cherishes the prodigal child who returns to Him. It is not because the dear Lord in His provident mercy has preserved my soul from mortal sin that I am lifted up to Him by confidence and love."
Again, shortly before her death, speaking to Mother Agnes, she said, "You may truly say that if I had committed all possible crimes, I would still have the same confidence; I would feel that this multitude of offenses would be like a drop of water thrown into a flaming furnace." All possible crimes, a multitude of offenses, a drop of water in an immense furnace: that is the proportion.