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LT 178 - To Mme Guérin

LT 178                 From Thérèse to Mme. Guérin.

July 20-21, 1895

 

J.M.J.T.

Jesus                                                                     July 20, 1895

Dear little Aunt,

I was really touched when seeing you were thinking of your little Thérèse; she, too, is thinking very much about you, and although she has not yet written her dear Aunt, it is not through indifference, but because her heart is so filled with tenderness and affection that she does not know how to express her thoughts....

I must, however, make an attempt at the risk of saying to little Aunt some things that will displease her. Does not truth come out of the mouths of children? Well, you must forgive me if I speak the truth, I who am and want to remain always a child.

I am going to give you my little spiritual direction and show you how good God is to me. I love the reading of the lives of the saints very much, the account of their heroic deeds sets my courage on fire and attracts me to imitate them; but I admit that, at times, I happen to envy the blessed lot of their relatives who had the joy of living in their company and of enjoying their conversations. Now I have nothing to envy, for I am in a position to contemplate at close quarters the actions of saints, to see their struggles and the generosity with which they submit themselves to God's will.

Dear little Aunt, I know it would displease you if I were to say that you are a saint, however, I really want to do so.. .but if I do not say it to you, I can tell you something which you must not tell Uncle because he would love me no longer, this thing you know better than I. It is that he is a saint such as are few on earth and his faith can be compared to that of Abraham.... Ah! if you only knew with what sweet emotion my soul was filled yesterday when seeing him with his angelic little MarieWe were plunged into a very great sorrow because of our dear Léonie, it was like a real agony. God, who willed to try our faith, was sending us no consolation whatever, and, as for me, I was unable to offer any other prayer but that of Our Lord on the Cross: "My God, my God, why have You aban­doned us!" Or like that in the garden of agony: "My God, may Your will be done and not ours," Then to console us, our divine Savior did not send us the angel who sustained Him in Gethsemani but one of His saints, still a traveler on earth and filled with His divine strength. When we saw his calm, his resignation, our anx­ieties were dispelled, we felt the support of a paternal hand.... Oh, dear little Aunt! how great are God's mercies on His poor children!... If you only knew the sweet tears I shed when listening to the heavenly conversation of my holy Uncle.... He seemed to me already transfigured, his language was not that of a faith that hopes but a love that possesses. At the moment when trial and

humiliation came to visit him, he appeared to forget everything in order to think of nothing but to bless the divine hand which was taking from him his Treasure and, as a reward, was testing him like a saint.... St. Teresa was very right in saying to Our Lord, who was loading her with crosses when she was undertaking great works for Him: "Ah! Lord, I am not surprised that You have so few friends; You treat them so badly!'" On another occasion, she said that to souls whom God loves with an ordinary love He gives some trials, but on those He loves with a love of predilection He lavishes His crosses as the most certain mark of His tenderness.

(July 21)

I had left aside my letter yesterday without finishing it, for Marie arrived with Léonie; our emotion was very great when seeing her. We were unable to make her say a word, she was crying so much; finally, she ended up by looking at us, and everything went off well. I am not giving you any other details, little Aunt, because you can obtain all through Marie, who was a really valiant woman during the painful circumstances that had just taken place. We told her this, but I really saw that the compliment did not please her, so I called her "little angel." She told me, laughing, that this pleased her more than "valiant woman." She has a gaiety about her that could make a cat laugh, and this distracts her poor companion. We served them on the earthenware plates just like Carmelites, and this really amused them.

Ah! what virtue your little Marie has.... The control she has over herself is surprising. It is not always energy that one lacks in becom­ing a saint, and yet it is a most necessary virtue; with energy one can easily reach the summit of perfection. If she could only give a little of hers to Léonie, your little angel would still have enough, and it would do no harm to the latter.... Dear little Aunt, I notice that my sentences are not clear; I am hurrying up in order to give my letter to Marie, who did not want me to write you, saying that she was going to deliver my messages or else give me three sous to get a stamp. But I did not want to wait any longer to send dear Aunt something other "than a look"; expressive as this may be, she would be unable to see it from so far away.

I wanted to speak to you about Jeanne and Francis, but I do not have the time. All I can say is that I count them in the number of the saints I am permitted to contemplate at close range on earth and that I rejoice at seeing them soon in heaven in the company of their children, whose bright crowns will augment their own glory.. ..

Dear Aunt, if you cannot read me, it is Marie's fault; to scold her kiss her for me and tell her to hug you tightly for me.

Your very little daughter,

Thérèse of the Child Jesus rel. carm. ind.

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc