Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Observing "the gap" through real life

The article below is a great introduction to another member of my community of the heart, a member who really needs no introduction because she is in the hearts of many, many people. I do not know this for a fact, but I guess the cultus (from Latin for adoration) of St. Thérèse of Lisieux numbers in the millions. Apparently, she is in the hearts not only of Christians- Deo Gratias! The following is from 30 Giorni nella Chiesa e nel mondo (i.e., 30 Days in the Church and in the World):

The Muslims, the Jews and the miracles of Thérèse of Lisieux

In the weekly magazine Grazia of 18 July an article appeared about the Catholic Church of Cairo in Egypt dedicated to Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus. In the church there is a statue of the saint, surrounded by votive offerings in all languages. Frequenting the church, along with the Catholic faithful, there are also Muslims and Jews, attracted by the flowering of miracles through the intercession of the Little Saint of Lisieux. The article concludes thus: «"Saint Thérèse did her first miracle for a Muslim here", recounts the priest, "the second for a Jew. It is they who have begun to create publicity for the church of Shoubra [the area where the church is, ed]". Father Malek claims that the faith of Orientals is one that we Europeans cannot understand: "Europe wants to reason, to understand everything by reason. Here people have a feeling faith". The young boys in the priest’s study do not want to convert, they only want the priest to go to bless their home, in civilian clothes, so that the Muslim neighbors will not become suspicious. But Father Malek says that it is the heads of the mosques themselves who send their faithful to pray to the saint».

Fr. Malek uses the popular devotion to St. Thérèse in his Church in Cairo as a case-in-point of the gap Pope Benedict XVI identified in his Regensburg lecture, when he says, "Europe wants to reason, to understand everything by reason. Here people have a feeling faith." Contrary to what many think, this kind of thing is not all that unusual throughout the Middle East. Sancta Thérèse, ora pro nobis.

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