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From Isidore Guérin to Thérèse - July 24-25, 1897.

La Musse, July 24 & 25, '97

My dear little Angel,

I would have liked to answer earlier the admirable letter you sent us a few days ago, but I was unable to do so because of the state of my health. For several days now, I have been suffering from an attack of the gout that, even this morning, has redoubled in intensi­ty; but this afternoon, feeling much better, I am taking advantage of it by paying a little visit to your bed of pain. Your letter was the cause of an inexpressible surprise and joy; it moistened my eyes with tears. What was the nature of these tears? I cannot analyze it. A crowd of different sentiments brought them about. The pride of hav­ing such an adopted daughter, admiration for so great a courage and so great a love of God, and 1 cannot hide it, my darling, sadness against which human nature is defenseless when faced with a separa­tion that appears eternal to it. Faith and reason protest, and we give in to their arguments, but they cannot stop the painful groanings of the body when seeing itself deprived of one of its most precious members. You were your good mother's little pearl; you were your aged father's little queen; and you are the most beautiful little flower of the lily-wreath crowning, scenting, and giving me a forestate of the perfections of heaven. Whatever may be the sorrow haunting and restraining me at certain moments, it has never come to my mind to dispute over you with the love of your Bridegroom, who is call­ing you. Would one seek to hold back in the mire, into which is sinking and hardly living, a dear one who extends her arms to the Saviour after whom she has sighed for a long time? This would be a poorly understood affection, a selfishness. Each time one of my five little Carmelite daughters crossed the threshold of the cloister, I experi­enced an inner rending similar in every way to what one feels at the loss of a beloved person. The wound was gradually healed, and when it is opened again at the final separation, it will be less painful. And, then, when one is growing old, the feelings are purified, one ex­periences better one's nothingness, sees better the purpose and brevity of life and the measureless happiness of eternity, understands bet­ter that real family joys and love for one's own will receive their complete development and indestructibility only when they are in­termingled with the divine love that will consume them in the same ardor. This is what we think, we who have faith. But the world longs for the mud in which it moves about, having no idea whatever of the splendor and beauty of the heavens. When I think of you, a flower so pure and so chaste, I begin to despise humanity. The dis­tant sound of these maledictions has never struck your ears; you do not even suspect the frightful and hideous depth of the wounds gnaw­ing away at humanity, and, when you do see them from the height of heaven, with what deep pity you will be moved at the sight of your own dear ones who are still living in the midst of this stench. Yes, you will pray for us, for me above all, the least good, the most soiled because he has already lived much, seen, and brushed against all the infamies of a corrupt world, and because he is of a more pas­sionate nature, and he will owe his salvation only to the holy souls who have always helped him with their prayers.

They say that the swan, always mute and silent during its life, gives forth a sublime song when it sees death approaching. Your letter, my darling, is no doubt the last song you have dedicated to us.' We shall preserve it as a precious deposit. The pious thoughts it inspires in us will perhaps teach us to feel a little bit the flame of divine love which is consuming you and to which you desire to be united more intimately. Dear little white bird, who has seen the burning bush ever since its tender childhood, who has been fascinated by its brilliance, and who has drawn near in such a way that it will soon be inter­mingled with It! A Dieu, my beloved child, precious pearl, whom your good mother entrusted to me; the remembrance of your virtues and your innocence will never leave me, and I hope that your prayers will make me worthy of being reunited with all my own in the eternal abode. The one who has perhaps the right to call himself your second father and who kisses you from the very bottom of his heart,

Isidore Guérin

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc

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