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LT 137 - To Céline

 

 

 

 

LT 137                 From Thérèse to Céline.

October 19, 1892

J.M.J.T.

Jesus                                                  Carmel, October 19, 1892

Dear Céline,

Formerly, in the days of our childhood, we used to enjoy our feast because of the little gifts we mutually exchanged. The smallest ob­ject had then an incomparable value in our eyes.... Soon, the scene changed. Wings grew on the youngest of the birds, and it flew away far from the sweet nest of its childhood, and all illusion vanished! Summer had followed spring, life's reality, the dreams of youth....

Céline, was it not at that decisive moment that the bonds which joined our hearts were tightened? Yes, separation united us in a way that language cannot express. Our childlike affection was changed into a union of feelings, a unity of souls and minds. Who, then, could have accomplished this marvel?... Ah! it was He who had ravished our hearts. "The Beloved chosen among thousands, the odor alone of his ointments suffices to draw us after him. Follow­ing his steps, young maidens run lightly on the road." (Canticle of Canticles.)

Jesus has attracted us together, although by different ways; together He has raised us above all the fragile things of this world whose image passes away. He has placed, so to speak, all things under our feet. Like Zachaeus, we climbed a tree to see Jesus. .. . Then we could say with Saint John of the Cross: "All is mine, all is for me, the earth is mine, the heavens are mine, God is mine, and the Mother of my God is mine”. With regard to the Blessed Virgin, I must confide to you one of my simple ways with her. I surprise myself at times by saying to her: "But good Blessed Virgin, I find I am more blessed than you, for I have you for Mother, and you do not have a Blessed Virgin to love. ... It is true you are the Mother of Jesus, but this Jesus you have given entirely to us.. . and He, on the Cross, He gave you to us as Mother. Thus we are richer than you since we possess Jesus and since you are ours also. Formerly, in your humility, you wanted one day to be the little servant of the happy Virgin who would have the honor of being the Mother of God, and here I am, a poor little creature, and I am not your ser­vant but your child. You are the Mother of Jesus, and you are my Mother." No doubt, the Blessed Virgin must laugh at my simplici­ty, and nevertheless what I am telling her is really true!... Celine, what a mystery is our grandeur in Jesus. ... This is all that Jesus has shown us in making us climb the symbolic tree about which I was just talking to you. And now what science is He about to teach us? Has He not taught us all?... Let us listen to what He is saying to us: "Make haste to descend, I must lodge today at your house.'"

Well, Jesus tells us to descend…Where, then, must we descend? Céline, you know better than I, however, let me tell you where we must now follow Jesus. In days gone by, the Jews asked our divine Savior: "Master, where do you live?' And He answered: "The foxes have their lairs, the birds of heaven their nests, but I have no Place to rest my head." This is where we must descend in order that we may serve as an abode for Jesus. To be so poor that we do not have a place to rest our head. This is, dear Céline, what Jesus as done in my soul during my retreat. ... You understand, there is question here of the interior. Besides, has not the exterior already been reduced to nothing by means of the very sad trial of Caen?... In our dear Father, Jesus has stricken us in the most sensitive ex­terior part of our heart; now let us allow Him to act, He can com­plete His work in our souls. What Jesus desires is that we receive Him into our hearts. No doubt, they are already empty of creatures, but, alas, I feel mine is not entirely empty of myself, and it is for this reason that Jesus tells me to descend.... He, the King of kings, humbled Himself in such a way that His face was hidden," and no one recognized Him... and I, too, want to hide my face, I want my Beloved alone to see it, that He be the only one to count my tears, that in my heart at least He may rest His dear head and feel that there He is known and understood!...

Céline, I cannot tell you all I would like, my soul is powerless.... Ah, if only I could!... But, no, this is not in my power.. .why be sad, do you not always think what I am thinking?... Thus all I do not tell you, you divine. Jesus makes you feel it in your heart. Has He not, moreover, set up His abode there to console Himself for the crimes of sinners? Yes, it is there in the intimate retreat of the soul that He instructs us together, and one day He will show us the day which will no longer have any setting....

Happy feast. How sweet it will be one day for your Thérèse to wish it to you in heaven!...

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc