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LT 165 - To Céline - July 7, 1894

 

 

LT 165                   From Thérèse to Céline.

July 7, 1894          

J.M.J.T.

July 7, 1894

Dear Céline,

Léonie's letter is disturbing us very much…

Ah! how unhappy she will be if she returns to the world! But I admit that I hope this is only a temptation; we must pray very much for her. God can very well give her what she is lacking....

Our Mother is on retreat. It is for this reason that she is not going to write you; she is thinking of you and Marie, and she will pray very much for her two little girls.

I do not know if you are still in the same frame of mind as the other day, but I will tell you just the same about a passage from the Canticle of Canticles which expresses perfectly what a soul is when plunged into aridity and how nothing delights or consoles it. "I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, to look if the vineyard had flourished, and if the pomegranates had budded.... I no longer knew where I was... my soul was all troubled because of the chariots of Aminadab" chap. 6, vv. 10 and 11).

This is really the image of our souls. Frequently, we descend into the fertile valleys where our heart loves to nourish itself, the vast field of the scriptures which has so many times opened before us to pour out its rich treasures in our favor; this vast field seems to us to be a desert, arid and without water.... We know no longer where we are instead of peace and light, we find only turmoil or at least darkness.... But, like, the spouse, we know the cause of our trial: our soul is troubled because of the chariots of Aminadab.... We are still not as yet in our homeland, and trial must purify us as gold in the crucible. At times, we believe ourselves abandoned. Alas! the chariots, the vain noises that disturb us, are they within us or outside us? We do not know... but Jesus really knows. He sees our sadness and suddenly His gentle voice makes itself heard, a voice more gentle than the springtime breeze: "Return, return, my Sulamitess; return, return, that we may look at you!..." Cant. chap. 6, v. 12.) What a call is that of the Spouse!... And we were no longer daring even to look at ourselves so much did we consider ourselves without any splendor and adornment; and Jesus calls us, He wants to look at us at His leisure, but He is not alone; with Him, the two other Persons of the Blessed Trinity come to take possession of our soul... . Jesus had promised it in days gone by when He was about to reascend to His Father and our Father. He said with ineffable tenderness: "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and we will make in him our abode." To keep the word of Jesus, that is the sole condition of our happiness, the proof of our love for Him. But what, then, is this word?... It seems to me that the word of Jesus is Himself.. .He, Jesus, the Word, the Word of God He tells us further on in the same gospel of St. John, praying to his Father for His disciples, He expresses Himself thus: "Sanctify them by your word, your word is truth.""' In another place, Jesus teaches us that He is the way, the truth, the life." We know, then, what is the Word that we must keep; like Pilate, we shall not ask Jesus: "What is Truth?'" We possess Truth. We are keeping Jesus in our heartsl... Often, like the spouse, we can say: "Our Beloved is a bundle of myrrh,'" that He is a Spouse of blood for us. ... But how sweet it will be to hear one day this very sweet word com­ing from the mouth of our Jesus: "You are the ones who have always remained with me in all the trials I have had, so I have prepared my kingdom for you, just as my Father has prepared it for me.'" The trials of Jesus, what a mystery! He has trials then, He too?... Yes, He has them, and often He is alone in treading the wine in the wine press; He looks for consolers and can find none. ... Many serve Jesus when he is consoling them, but few consent to keep com­pany with Jesus sleeping on the waves" or suffering in the garden of agony!... Who, then, will be willing to serve Jesus or Himself?... Ah! we shall be the ones. ... Célne and Thérèse will unite always more and more; in them, will be accomplished this prayer of Jesus: "Father, that they may be one as we are one." Yes, Jesus is already preparing His kingdom for us, just as His Father prepared it for Him." He prepares it for us by leaving us in the trial. He wills that our face be seen by creatures, but that it be as though hidden so that no one recognize us but Himself alone!... But what joy, too, to think that God, the entire Trinity, is looking at us, that It is within us and is pleased to look at us. But what does It will to see in our heart if not ' 'choirs of music in an army camp"? (Can­ticle, ch. 8, v. 1.) "How, then, shall we be able to sing the Lord's canticles in a strange land?. .. For a long time, our harps were hung on the willows of the shore." We were not able to use them!.. . Our God, the Guest of our soul, knows it well, so He comes to us with the intention of finding an abode, an EMPTY tent, in the midst of the earth's field of battle. He asks only this, and He Himself is the Divine Musician who takes charge of the concert.".. . Ah! if only we were to hear this ineffable harmony, if one single vibration were to reach our ears!...

"We do not know how to ask for anything as we ought, but the spirit pleads within us with unutterable groanings" (St. Paul). We have, then, only to surrender our soul, to abandon it to our great God. What does it matter, then, if our soul be without gifts that sparkle exteriorly since within us the King of kings shines with all His glory! How great must a soul be to contain a God!.. . And yet the soul of a day-old child is a Paradise of delights for Him; what will it be, then, for our souls that have fought and suffered to delight the Heart of our Beloved?...

Dear Céline, I assure you, I do not know what I am saying to you, it must have no coherence, but it seems to me you will understand just the same!... I would like to tell you so many things!...

Do not answer me in a long letter speaking to me about your soul; a single note will suffice for me. I prefer that you write an amusing letter for everybody. God wills that I forget myself in order to please.

I kiss good Uncle, dear Aunt, and my little sister. As for Papa, I smile at him and watch over him by means of his VISIBLE angel to whom I am so intimately united that we form only one!...

Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face rel. carm. ind.

 

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