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Ms A 48v

[48v°] him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance …” For a grace received faithfully, He granted me a multitude of others. He gave Himself to me in Holy Communion more frequently than I would have dared hope. I’d taken as a rule of conduct to receive, without missing a single one, [5] the Communions my confessor permitted, allowing him to regulate the number and not asking. At this time in my life, I didn’t have the boldness I now have, for I’m very sure a soul must tell her confessor the attraction she feels to receive her God. It is not to remain in a golden ciborium that He comes to us each day from [10] heaven; it’s to find another heaven, infinitely more dear to Him than the first: the heaven of our soul, made to His image, the living temple of the adorable Trinity!

Jesus, aware of the desire and uprightness of my heart, allowed my confessor to tell me to receive Communion during the month of May four times a [15] week; the month having passed, he added a fifth whenever a feast occurred. Sweet were the tears that flowed from my eyes when leaving the confessional. It appeared to be Jesus Himself who desired to give Himself to me, for I went to confession only a few times, and never spoke about my interior sentiments. The way I was [20] walking was so straight, so clear, I needed no other guide but Jesus. I compared directors to faithful mirrors, reflecting Jesus in souls, and I said that for me God was using no intermediary, He was acting directly!

When a gardener carefully tends a fruit he wants to ripen before its time, it’s not to leave it hanging on a tree but to set it on his table. It was with such an intention

 

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Ms A 48r

[48r°]       a spark,
       The special wine,
       Cause flowings in them from the balsam of God.

Yes, it was very lightly we followed in Jesus’ footprints. The sparks of love He sowed so generously in our souls, and the delicious and strong wine He gave us to drink made all passing [5] things disappear before our eyes, and from our lips came aspirations of love inspired only by Him. How sweet were the conversations we held each evening in the belvédère! With enraptured gaze we beheld the white moon rising quietly behind the tall trees, the silvery rays it was casting upon sleeping nature, the bright stars twinkling in the deep skies, the light breath of the evening breeze [10] making the snowy clouds float easily along; all this raised our souls to heaven, that beautiful heaven whose “obverse side” alone we were able to contemplate.

I don’t know if I’m mistaken, but it seems to me the outpourings of our souls were similar to those of St. Monica with her son when, at the port of Ostia, they were lost in ecstasy at the sight of the Creator’s marvels! It [15] appears we were receiving graces like those granted to the great saints. As the Imitation says, God communicates Himself at times in the midst of great splendor or “gently veiled, under shadows and figures.” It was in this way He deigned to manifest Himself to our souls, but how light and transparent the veil was that hid Jesus from our gaze! Doubt was [20] impossible, faith and hope were unnecessary, and Love made us find on earth the One whom we were seeking. “Having found us alone, he gave us his kiss, in order that in the future no one could despise us.”

Graces as great as this were not to be without fruit and it was abundant. The practice of virtue became sweet and natural to us. At the beginning, it is true, my face betrayed the struggle, but little by little this vanished and renunciation was easy, even the first call of grace. Jesus has said: “For to

 

 

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Ms A 47v

[47v°] custom (I didn’t read Papa’s books), I asked to read it.

This reading was one of the greatest graces in my life. I read it by the window of my study, and the impressions I received are too deep to express in human words.

[5] All the great truths of religion, the mysteries of eternity, plunged my soul into a state of joy not of this earth. I experienced already what God reserved for those who love Him (not with the eye but with the heart), and seeing the eternal rewards had no proportion to life’s small sacrifices, I wanted to love, to love [10] Jesus with a passion, giving Him a thousand proofs of my love while it was possible. I copied out several passages on perfect love, on the reception God will give His Elect at the moment He becomes their Reward, great and eternal, and I repeated over and over the words of love burning in my heart.

Céline had become the [15] confidante of my thoughts. Ever since Christmas we could understand each other; the distance of age no longer existed because I had grown in both height and grace. Before this epoch I’d often complained at not knowing Céline’s secrets, and she told me I was too little, that I’d have to grow “as high as a stool” so that [20] she could have confidence in me. I loved climbing up on that precious stool when I was standing by her side and telling her to speak intimately to me; but all to no avail, a distance separated us still!

Jesus, wanting to have us advance together, formed bonds in our hearts stronger than blood. He made us become spiritual sisters, and in us were realized the words of St. John of the Cross’ Canticle (speaking to her Spouse, the bride exclaims):

       Following Your footprints
       Maidens run lightly along the way;
       The touch of


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Ms A 47r

[47r°] bad to do it. I don’t believe I offended God (although I recognize the fact that I spent useless time in it), for I confined myself to a certain number of hours, unwilling to go beyond in order to mortify my intense desire to know things.

I was at the most dangerous age for young girls, [5] but God did for me what Ezechiel reports in his prophecies:

“Passing by me, Jesus saw that the time had come for me to be loved, He entered into a covenant with me and I became His own. He spread his mantle over me, he washed me with precious perfumes, He reclothed me in embroidered robes, He gave me priceless necklaces and ornaments. He nourished me with purest flour, with honey and oil in abundance. Then I became beautiful in His eyes and He made me a mighty queen.”

Yes, Jesus did all this for me. I could take each word and prove it was realized in me, but the graces I already mentioned are sufficient proof. I’m going to speak, therefore, only of the [15] food He provided “in abundance.” I was nourished for a long time on the “pure flour” contained in the Imitation of Christ, this being the only book which did me any good, for as yet I had not discovered the treasures hidden in the Gospels.

I knew almost all the chapters of my beloved Imitation by heart. This little book never parted company with me, for in summer I carried it in my pocket, in winter, in my muff. [20] At Aunt’s they used to amuse themselves by opening the book at random and telling me to recite the chapter before them. With my new desire for knowledge at the age of fourteen, God found it necessary to join to the “pure flour” some “honey and oil in abundance.”  This honey and oil He showed me in Abbé Arminjon’s conferences on the end of the present world and the mysteries of the future life. This book had been lent to Papa by my dear Carmelites, and, contrary to my

 


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Ms A 46v

[46v°] grace Jesus had given me when He attracted me to pray for sinners. Wasn’t it before the wounds of Jesus, when seeing His divine blood flowing, that the thirst for souls had entered my heart? I wished to give them this immaculate blood to drink, this blood which was to purify them from their stains, and the lips of my “first child” [5] were pressed to the sacred wounds!

What an unspeakably sweet response! After this unique grace my desire to save souls grows each day, and I seemed to hear Jesus say to me what he said to the Samaritan woman: “Give me to drink!” It was a true interchange of love: to souls I was giving the blood of Jesus, to Jesus I was offering these same souls refreshed by the divine dew. [10] I slaked His thirst and the more I gave Him to drink, the more the thirst of my poor little soul increased, and it was this ardent thirst He was giving me as the most delightful drink of His love.

God was able in a very short time to extricate me from the very narrow circle in which I was turning without knowing how to come out. When seeing the road He made me [15] travel, my gratitude was great; but I must admit, if the biggest step was taken, there still remained many things for me to leave behind. Freed from its scruples and its excessive sensitiveness, my mind developed.

I had always loved the great and the beautiful, but at this epoch in my life I was taken up with an extreme desire for learning. Not satisfied with the lessons and work [20] my teacher was giving me, I applied myself to some special studies in history and science, and I did this on my own. The other studies left me indifferent, but these two subjects attracted all my attention; in a few months I acquired more knowledge than during my years of study. Ah! this was really only vanity and affliction of spirit. The chapter in the Imitation which speaks of knowledge99 came frequently to my mind, but I found ways of continuing all the same, telling myself that being at an age for studying, it could not be

 

 

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