From Céline to Thérèse - August 17, 1892

From Céline to Thérèse.

La Musse, August 17, 1892

Dear Thérèse,

I who yesterday, in the letter to our Mother, was asking for a short response, was not expecting such a surprise. Oh! if you only knew what good your short note did me! I did not grow tired of reading it, of meditating on it. And I find Our Lord is so good to you, He gives you so many lights that I go no further.... I love to contemplate the miracles of graces, the strange mysteries taking place in the soul of my Thérèse. This does me good.

You speak to me about beautiful nature which is presented to my gaze, about infinite horizons unfolding before me. Alas! the eye becomes accustomed to everything, even to the most beautiful things, and the attraction of all that is not our "Divine Charm" pales and wears out. I question immensity, I dream at night when gazing on the stars, or rather I try to dream, for my soul is downcast and nothing gives me any response. I would like to think of beautiful things, and I think of nothing. I am like a little donkey that goes grazing on the highway without knowing what it is doing. Right now, my state is to see without seeing, to understand without understand­ing. I would be unable to stop at anything tangible. I go on "sup­ported without any support!"

Oh, Thérèse, yes, "we have in our Beloved, the lakes, the moun­tains, the breezes, the wooded solitary valleys." In Him, we find all that, while in all that we do not find Him, unless He gives life to these pale objects by His glance and His presence.

Thérèse! if you only knew the strange effect the things of earth have on me.

Formerly I would have contemplated La Musse with pleasure, thrilled before its eloquent structures, its slender spires and graceful steps; I would have sauntered along the pathways of the park while meditating upon the vanity of earthly riches; my heart would have leapt for joy at the thought that Jesus was making me disdain the futility that others prize so highly. Right now, my thoughts do not linger long enough to come to such a conclusion. My spirit is as though flattened out, a plain without highs or lows, just a flat sur­face throughout. Even though I look about and say to myself: "Why do you not admire these marvelous vistas, and fill yourself with such magnificence," I cannot work up any enthusiasm as I have lost the power to distinguish between the beautiful and the ugly. Something within me forces me to see all in the same perspective, as though all had been covered by the same veneer.

My Thérèse, your Céline at present is going through a succession of voids, or rather one mysterious void....

It is true, I am in darkness, reduced to the state of the log; I hard­ly think of Jesus, but perhaps, without noticing it, the log is being consumed under the ashes…          

I would not be able to tell you either, oh, my beloved Thérèse, whether I am thinking of souls; no, I repeat it, I am thinking of nothing. I am in the most total incapacity.

Tell my dear little Pauline that her letter did me much good. I am not answering her because I know that she will be more pleased that I write you in preference to herself. She is so good, Pauline! Kiss my dear little Marie for me, and especially my dear Mother; tell her that I am grateful to her for having allowed you to write me.

Your little Céline

P.S. Tell Pauline not to worry about the picture; if she does not paint it, it will be all right just the same. Let her do what she wants. I do not understand why Léonie did not send the chocolate for the feast; Aunt was depending on her. Marie kisses her Mother and her little sisters. She would be happy to receive a word from her dear Mother at my address.. .but we do not ask this!


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