From sr Agnès of Jesus to Céline - April 2, 1889.

From Sister Agnès of Jesus to Céline. 2nd April 1889.



Darling petit Célin1,

We were looking forward to receiving news, all day yesterday we were impatient, but you were right to wait because of Sunday. It reminds me of Father’s zeal for celebrating and for respecting the day of the Lord. And this is how he is thanked!... But the cross on earth is a sure sign of happiness in Heaven. We don’t expect any reward here below, besides, nothing is worthy of satisfying our hearts.

You did not say what impression our letters produced. I am very worried. Alas! Poor father is so very aware of everything! It’s upsetting! But what does the doctor say? I can’t really believe the current state of things can last long, I am like you. [1 v°] If he came back, the thing to be feared the most would be the traveling, and he would be more wary than ever, would he even want to stay in Lisieux, one doesn’t know what to think. In any event it’s alarming. But since everything is abandoning us, let us abandon everything to God. Our Holy Mother Teresa said: “It is the particularity of God to grant his help and protection to those in pain and in irons.” He has proven this to us, yes we are the loved-ones of his Heart and it is particularly at this time that we cannot doubt it.

Darling little Céline, now that you are on retreat, you are almost doing your apprenticeship for life in the cloister. Take advantage of this silence and your suffering to listen to the One who speaks without making a sound. He will tell you hidden and wholly celestial things that will delight your Heart. Remember how brief life is, how all that passes is nothing and He will reply [2 r°] that for you he is keeping an eternal life where all things last, and where everything is infinite joy…

These thoughts of heaven do so much good! What powerful encouragement they offer… Through our desires and hope, we already live in this City of Peace … Ah! How long will our captivity in this Babylon of exile last? No, we cannot sing the Songs of the Lord in a foreign land and our harps still hang from the bare branches of its cursed trees (Ps. 136:1-4). We need Jerusalem, we need its blessed temple where we can see God face to face, then we shall sing!... Until then we shall cry. Oh, blessed tears!... Let us sanctify them; let’s not lose a single one of them…A tear is a smile directed to Heaven.

Let’s be saints, Jesus asks it of us. He needs saints; he needs souls that are wholly devoted, wholly surrendered, and wholly relinquished to his divine whims… Let’s fling wide the doors to our souls, [2 v°] let’s let him enter or rather force him to stop in the most intimate shrine. Like the disciples of Emmaus, let’s say to him: “Stay with us, Lord, for it is nearly evening! The day is almost over (Lk 24:29). Do not venture out during this night of sin on the roads where evildoers roam... Ah! we can protect you from their arrows. Lord, why do you leave us to beseech you for so long? What! Is your company so costly?...” And Jesus, smiling as he reveals the cross that never leaves him, will say… “My children, many invite me in as you are doing, but few keep me because many love me without my cross and very few let me plant it in their hearts… Yet only where there is the cross can I make my dwelling forever. Even if love finds me, it’s suffering alone that keeps me…” O Jesus we want you with your cross. Enter in and stay! You are at home here. Here there is another Bethany where you will find faithful hearts (Lk. 10:38ff.) There is a grey-haired father whom you have distressed and yet he still calls himself your Friend. There is a throng of virgins and you are their Bridegroom; a Bridegroom of blood (Ex. 4:25) but still adored…

Farewell my darling… Let us rejoice in suffering.

Sr. Agnès of Jesus

[1 r° tv] As for what you asked me for, do as you wish.

Aunt came this afternoon, I had almost finished my letter … So Papa didn’t want to read our letters!... Ah!... Let’s pray.

1 Term of endearment

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