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LT 247 - to Fr. Bellière - June 21, 1897.

J.M.J.T.

Carmel of Lisieux                                          June 21, 1897

Jesus

Dear little Brother,

I thank Our Lord with you for the great grace He has seen fit to grant you on the day of Pentecost; it is also on this beautiful feast (ten years ago) that I obtained not from my director but from my father the permission to become an apostle in Carmel. This is still one more rapprochement between our souls.

Oh, dear Brother, I beg you, never believe "you bore or distract me" when speaking much about yourself. Would it be possible that a sister not take interest in all that has to do with her brother? As for what distracts me, you have nothing to fear; on the contrary, your letters unite me more to God by making me contemplate close­ly the marvels of His mercy and His love.

Sometimes Jesus is pleased "to reveal his secrets to the littlest one," and the proof is that after reading your first letter of Oc­tober 15, '95, I thought the same thing as your director: You can­not be a saint by halves, you will have to be one totally or not at all. 1 felt that you had to have a courageous soul, and it was for this that I was happy to become your sister....

Do not think you frighten me by speaking "about your beautiful, wasted years." I myself thank Jesus, who has looked at you with a look of love as, in the past, He looked at the young man in the Gospel. More blessed than he, you have answered faithfully the Master's call, you have left all to follow Him, and this at the most beautiful age of your life, at eighteen. Ah! Brother, like me you can sing the mercies of the Lord, they sparkle in you in all their splen­dor.... You love St. Augustine, Saint Magdalene, these souls to whom "many sins were forgiven because they loved much.” I love them too, I love their repentance, and especially... their loving audacity! When I see Magdalene walking up before the many guests, washing with her tears the feet of her adored Master, whom she is touching for the first time, I feel that her heart has understood the abysses of love and mercy of the Heart of Jesus, and, sinner though she is, this Heart of love was not only disposed to pardon her but to lavish on her the blessings of His divine intimacy, to lift her to the highest summits of contemplation.

Ah! dear little Brother, ever since I have been given the grace to understand also the love of the Heart of Jesus, I admit that it has expelled all fear from my heart. The remembrance of my faults humbles me, draws me never to depend on my strength which is on­ly weakness, but this remembrance speaks to me of mercy and love even more.

When we cast our faults with entire filial confidence into the devouring fire of love, how would these not be consumed beyond return?

I know there are some saints who spent their life in the practice of astonishing mortifications to expiate their sins, but what of it: "There are many mansions in the house of my heavenly Father," Jesus has said, and it is because of this that I follow the way He is tracing out for me. I try to be no longer occupied with myself in anything, and I abandon myself to what Jesus sees fit to do in my soul, for I have not chosen an austere life to expiate my faults but those of others.

I just read over my note, and I wonder if you are going to under­stand me, for I have explained myself very poorly. Do not think that I condemn the repentance you have for your faults and your desire to expiate them. Oh, no! I am far from doing so, but, you know, we are now two, the work will be done more quickly (and I with my way will do more than you), so I hope that one day Jesus will make you walk by the same way as myself.

Pardon me, dear little Brother, I do not know what is the matter with me today, for I am not saying what I would like to say. I have no more space for answering your letter; I shall do it another time. Thank you for your dates, I have already celebrated your twenty- third birthday. I am praying for your dear parents whom God has taken out of this world, and I am not forgetting the mother whom you love.

Your unworthy little Sister, Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face rel. carm. ind.  

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