“The treasures of Christ are mine,” said Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity. We must take the words of the saints literally. They know what they are talking about. Their intelligence, highly refined by faith and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, is of unparalleled sagacity.
The rest is perception, not reality. Certainly, their faith is not mine, nor perhaps yours. But what their faith says about the treasures of the Heart of God is true for them as it is for us. The fact that they see what we struggle to see does not change the matter; the sun shines no less brightly over the blind than over the seer, and they who speak to the former about what he does not see do not lie to him. Our blindness, more or less great, invites us rather to trust them, to be attentive to what they tell us with knowledge of the facts.
God’s treasures are therefore ours; the saints tell us so. Christ deserved them so that they could be ours. The wound in his side was opened so that the hands of our mind and heart could dip into it. The saints tell us, because Christ tells them—so that we may know it fully ourselves.
The charming Carmelite nun of Dijon, won over by the joy of this certainty, drew from the treasures of the adorable Heart of Jesus, treasures which had become HERS, armfuls of graces that she intended to spread with divine generosity on all those she loved, on the Church and the world.
The saints are bold, because they understand, through their closeness to the Heart of Christ, that they can be bold. And that they can be bold because Christ Himself expects them to be bold. So, the saints speak to us to ask us to share this audacity. To leave behind our worldly timidity and the servile fears that are the shadows of our sins. This call to boldness is itself drawn from THEIR treasure.
Why remind us of these things? Because we are submerged to the point of stinking nausea by the inexhaustible waves of turpitudes that are thrown upon this world every day. Because we have to keep reminding ourselves, in the face of these assaults, that we are Christians, and that the rise of evil is in proportion to the defect of quality that is in us. Because we must also remember that we have in OUR treasures of Christ enough to turn back this evil. No matter how wicked, mediocre or vulgar, what is the world and its rottenness in the end? An immense field of dark misery that a little charity and prayer is sufficient enough to reduce.
Emmanuel Mounier, writing to his wife about the infinitely painful loss of their child, encouraged her by evoking the sacrificial value of this terrible event which crucified them. He then reminded her of all the sufferings of the world, especially the unspeakable sufferings of innocent children, and told her that the countless victims of these sufferings were making this extraordinary prayer rise up to the two of them: “Say, you who have your love, you who have your hands full of light, will you willingly give this again for us?”
“The treasures of Christ are ours.” Much more than in the illusions, always disappointed by political calculations, it is there that the Christian, without fideism, “with hands full of light,” must seek his first weapons, for his own conversion and that of the world.
Patrick de Pontonx is a lawyer based in Paris, France.
Featured: The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price, by Andrei N. Mironov; painted in 2020.