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LT 261 - to Fr. Bellière - July 26, 1897.

J.M.J.T.

Jesus +                                                          July 26, 1897

Dear little Brother,

How much your letter pleased me! If Jesus has listened to your prayers and prolonged my exile because of them, He has also in His Love answered mine, since you are resigned to losing "my presence, my perceptible activity," as you express it. Ah! Brother, allow me to say it: God is reserving for your soul very sweet surprises; you have written, it is "little accustomed to supernatural things," and I, who am not your little sister for nothing, I promise to have you taste after my departure for eternal life the happiness one can find in feeling a friendly soul next to oneself. It will not be this cor­respondence, more or less distant, always very incomplete, which you seem to long for, but it will be a fraternal conversation that will charm the angels, a conversation that creatures will be unable to reproach since it will be hidden from them. Ah! how good it will seem to me to be freed from these mortal remains that would oblige me, if, to suppose the impossible, I were to be with several persons

in my dear little Brother's presence, to look upon him as a stranger, one without any meaning for me!... I beg you, Brother, do not im­itate the Hebrews who missed "the onions of Egypt"; I have for some time served you only too much these vegetables that make one shed tears when coming close to them with the eyes when they are still uncooked.

Now I dream of sharing with you "the hidden manna" (Apocalypse) that the Almighty has promised to give "to the vic­tor." It is precisely because it is hidden that this heavenly manna attracts you less than "the onion of Egypt"; but I am sure, as soon as I shall be permitted to offer you an entirely spiritual nourishment, you will not miss the one I would have been giving you if I had re­mained on earth for a long time. Ah! your soul is too great to be attached to any consolations here below. You must live in heaven by anticipation, for it is said: "Where your treasure is, there is your heart also." Is not Jesus your only Treasured . Since He is in heaven, it is there your heart must dwell, and I tell you very simply, dear little Brother, it seems to me it will be easier for you to live with Jesus when I shall be near him forever.

You must know me only imperfectly to fear that a detailed ac­count of your faults may diminish the tenderness I have for your soul! Oh, Brother, believe it, I shall have no need "to place my hand on the lips of Jesus." He has forgotten your infidelities now for a long time; only your desires for perfection are present to give joy to His Heart. I beg you, do not drag yourself any longer to His feet; follow that "first impulse that draws you into His arms." That is where your place is, and I have learned, more so than in your other letters, that you are forbidden to go to heaven by any other way except that of your poor little sister.

I am in total agreement with your opinion: "The divine Heart is more saddened by the thousand little indelicacies of His friends than by even the grave sins that persons of the world commit"; but, dear little Brother, it seems to me that it is only when His own, unaware of their continual indelicacies, make a habit of them and do not ask His pardon, that Jesus can say these touching words which are placed for us in His mouth by the Church during Holy Week: "These wounds you see in my hands are the ones I received in the house of those who loved me!" Regarding those who love Him and who come after each indelicacy to ask His pardon by throwing themselves into His arms, Jesus is thrilled with joy. He says to His angels what the father of the prodigal son said to his servants: "Clothe him in his best robe, and place a ring on his finger, and let us rejoice." Ah! how little known are the goodness, the merciful love of Jesus, Brother!... It is true, to enjoy these treasures one must humble oneself, recognize one's nothingness, and that is what many souls do not want to do; but, little Brother, this is not the way you act, so the way of simple and loving confidence is really made for you.

I would like you to be simple with God, but also... with me. You are surprised at my sentence? It is because, dear little Brother, you ask my pardon "for your indiscretion," which consists in desiring to know if in the world your sister was named Geneviève; I find the request very natural, and to prove it to you, I am going to give you some details on my family, for you have not been very well informed.

God gave me a father and a mother more worthy of heaven than of earth; they asked the Lord to give them many children and to take them for Himself. This desire was answered: four little angels flew away to heaven, and five children left in the arena took Jesus for Bridegroom. It was with a heroic courage that my father, like a new Abraham, climbed three times the mountain of Carmel to im­molate to God what was most dear to him. First, there were his two eldest; then the third of his daughters, on the advice of her direc­tor and conducted by our incomparable father, made an attempt in the convent of the Visitation. (God was content with her acceptance, later she returned to the world where she lives as though in the cloister). There remained to the Elect of God only two children, one eighteen years old, the other fourteen. The latter, "the little Thérèse, " asked permission to fly to Carmel, which she obtained from her good father, who pushed his condescension even to taking her first to Bayeux, then to Rome, in order to remove the obstacles which were holding back the immolation of her whom he called his queen. When he had brought her to port, he said to the only child who remained with him: "If you want to follow the example of your sisters, I con­sent to it, do not worry about me." The angel who was to support the old age of such a saint answered that, after his departure for heaven, she would also fly to the cloister, which filled with joy him who lived only for God. But such a beautiful life was to be crowned by a trial worthy of it. A short time after my departure, the father whom we cherished with such good reason was seized with an at­tack of paralysis in his limbs, which was repeated several times, but it could not remain there, the trial would have been too sweet, for the heroic Patriarch had offered himself as a victim to God; so the paralysis, changing its course, settled in the venerable head of the victim whom the Lord had accepted.... I lack the space to give you some touching details. I want only to tell you that we had to drink the chalice to its very dregs and to separate ourselves for three years from our venerated father, entrusting him to religious but strange hands. He accepted this trial, the entire humiliation of which he understood, and he pushed heroism even to not willing that we ask for his cure.

A Dieu, dear little Brother; I hope to write you again if the trembl­ing of my hand does not increase, for I was obliged to write my let­ter on several occasions. Your little Sister, not "Geneviève" but " Thérèse" of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face.

 

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc

 

 

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