Le cheminement intérieur de Marthe Robin est dévoilé grâce à la publication de son "Journal". Découvrez-le en ligne...
God, a loving and compassionate Father
Marthe Robin experienced the affection of God as Father in an incredibly powerful way to the point of calling him "Papa" (Daddy). Following in the footsteps of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus, the tenderness of God is at the heart of her message. She experienced this tenderness in a very real way throughout her life, at the very heart of her suffering, and she strove to make this known in a tangible way.
The love of God as Father is central to understanding Marthe. When Marthe made her decisive commitment to hand over her life to God, she naturally sought the consoling paternity of the One whom Jesus described as Father:« My heart beats and overflows with gratitude in the uninterrupted thought that this God, who is so great, is not only good, true, loving, merciful and compassionate, but he also loves us. His consideration for us is more than mere kindness. He loves and his love is as infinite as he is. The love of God is the strong and protective love of a father and the sublime love of a mother », she wrote.
The love of God is the strong and protective love of a father and the sublime love of a mother.
God's paternity has healing power
This divine paternity is not a substitute paternity, i.e. a projection of perfect paternity that replaces the shortcomings of one’s earthly father. Indeed, the more she turned towards the heavenly Father, the more Marthe loved her earthly father with all his faults. We have an indication of this in her writings, but also in the deeply moving words she often spoke on Fridays, when she relived Jesus's passion: when praying intensely for Joseph Robin and offering up her suffering for him, she said:« Bless my parents. Bless my dad, bless my mum, bless my brother... Bless my sisters... bless all their children… ».
One of the lesser known wounds of Marthe Robin's life was the difficult relationship she had with her father. When she was born, a rumour spread that she was not his daughter, but that of a worker on the family farm. However Joseph Robin acknowledged her and loved her; but the disease made their relationship difficult. Several witnesses heard him take it out on God:« What did I do to deserve a girl like this? », Sometimes he would simply stop calling her by her first name. A letter from Marthe in 1927 reveals how Mr Robin found it hard to interact with his daughter, concerning one of the episodes of her illness: « I had to speak nonsense to my father and shame him into going to get some help – it must simplify matters to have a heart that is so hard that nothing can trouble it, not even the sight of his own flesh and blood stretched out on the cross... poor miserable father, I pity him for being so hard. Indeed, over the last five years of my sickness, he has been more concerned about his dog than my disease... I only wish him happiness and tenderness, but I can no longer even show him the latter, despite how sweet it is for me to love: it is beyond me; and it is because I am a Christian that I am simply indifferent. ».
Revealing the face of God's goodness
In Marthe's life, the paternity of God initially found its expression in her relationship with her first spiritual father, Fr Faure, a priest of her parish. After receiving Jesus Christ as her spouse, friend and brother, it was through Fr Faure that Marthe experienced the tender paternity of God.
«I would like to be everywhere at once in order to proclaim over and over again how good is our God. How fatherly he is, a Father full of tenderness and mercy.»
This sentence of Marthe speaks volumes about the joyful familiarity which united her with God, a familiarity far removed from the image of a vengeful God, or even a God that is simply indifferent to humanity.
« When you understand that God is love, that he is our Father and that he loves us, Oh! then, I think you have understood everything. God is never frightening, fear is not an attitude for a child, a child does not fear his father.»
The spiritual paternity of the priest
The arrival of Fr Finet in Marthe's life totally changed their lives. Their character and their experiences complemented each other.
Fr Finet had a deep sense of his spiritual paternity in relation to Marthe. He was the one who gave her the life of God, through the Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation. He was at the service of the life of God in his child. Increasingly, this paternity formed him inwardly, especially as he also performed this service for the Foyer members and the retreatants, albeit in a different way in each case.
It was a paternity infused with kindness, indulgence, hope in the people concerned, but also with demanding standards and concern for the truth. It could be tinged with humour or, on the contrary, with authority. Marthe would constantly remind him of this paternity.
Living as children of the Father
Marthe knew that she was a daughter of God since her Baptism. She teaches us to live out this father-child relationship « not merely by fulfilling certain set actions with a few beautiful prayers to which we devote all our attention, but by nurturing a vigorous faith in our hearts, which is the basis and essential condition of a genuine life in God and which Jesus demanded of us continually throughout his Gospel ».
In a very real way, Marthe made the love of the Father known to those who came to see her. She achieved this, firstly, by getting them to pray, so that they would open up to the love that never imposes itself and by allowing this love to overflow during the visits. It was not uncommon for her to cry with those who cried, to show compassion and a truly supernatural empathy. This is why the gift of consolation that she had produced exceptional fruits.
Even today, her loving intercession helps us to perceive the immense tenderness of God for each person.
To read :
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