LT 142 - To Céline

LT 142                 From Thérèse to Céline

July 6, 1893




Carmel, July 6, 1893

Dear Céline,

Your two letters were like a sweet melody for my heart.... I am happy to see Jesus' predilection for my Céline. How He loves her, how He looks tenderly upon her!... Now here we are, all five of us, on our way. What joy to be able to say: "I am sure of doing God's will." This holy will is clearly manifested with regard to Céline. She is the one whom Jesus has chosen among us all to be the crown, the reward of the holy patriarch who has delighted heaven by his fidelity. How dare you say you have been forgotten, less loved than the others? I say you have been CHOSEN by privilege, your mis­sion is all the more beautiful because, while remaining our dear Father's visible angel, you are at the same time the spouse of Jesus. This is true, perhaps Céline thinks, but I am doing less than the others for God. I have more consolations and consequently less merits. "My thoughts are not your thoughts," says the Lord. Merit does not con­sist in doing or in giving much, but rather in receiving, in loving much.... It is said, it is much sweeter to give than to receive, and it is true. But when Jesus wills to take for Himself the sweetness of giving, it would not be gracious to refuse. Let us allow Him to take and give all He wills. Perfection consists in doing His will, and the soul that surrenders itself totally to Him is called by Jesus Himself "His mother, His sister," and His whole family. And elsewhere: "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word (that is, he will do my will) and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him." Oh, Céline how easy it is to please Jesus, to delight His Heart, one has only to love Him, without looking at one's self, without examining one's faults too much. Your Thérèse is not in the heights at this moment, but Jesus is teaching her to learn "to draw profit from everything, from the good and the bad she finds in herself.'" He is teaching her to play at the bank of love, or rather He plays for her and does not tell her how He goes about it, for that is His affair and not Thérése's. What she must do is aban­don herself, surrender herself, without keeping anything, not even the joy of knowing how much the bank is returning to her. But after all she is not the prodigal child, it is not worthwhile for Jesus to set a banquet for her "since she is always with Him.' Our Lord wills to leave the faithful sheep in the desert. How much this says to me!... He is sure to them; they could no longer go astray, for they are captives of love. So Jesus takes away His tangible presence from them to order to give His consolations to sinners. If He does lead them to Tabor, it is for a few moments, the valley is most fre­quently the place of His repose. "It is there He takes his rest at mid­day." The morning of our life has passed, we have enjoyed the Perfumed breezes of the dawn. Then everything smiled at us, Jesus was making us feel His sweet presence, but when the sun became hot, the Beloved led us into His garden, He made us gather the myrrh of trial by separating us from everything and from Himself, ne hill of myrrh has strengthened us with its bitter scents, so Jesus has made us come down again, and now we are in the valley. He leads us beside the waters... Dear Céline, I do not know too well at I am saying to you, but it seems you will understand, divine what 1 would like to say. Ah! let us be always Jesus' drop of dew. In that is happiness, perfection.... Fortunately, I am speaking to you, for other persons would be unable to understand my language, and I admit it is true for only a few souls. In fact, directors have others advance in perfection by having them perform a great number of acts of virtue, and they are right; but my director, who is Jesus, teaches me not to count up my acts. " He teaches me to do all through love, to refuse Him nothing, to be content when He gives me a chance of proving to Him that I love Him. But this is done in peace, in aban­donment, it is Jesus who is doing all in me, and I am doing nothing

I feel very much united to my Céline. I believe God has not often made two souls who understand each other so well, never a dis­cordant note. The hand of Jesus touching one of the lyres makes the other vibrate at the same time.... Oh! let us remain hidden in our divine Flower of the fields until the shadows lengthen; let us allow the drops of liqueur to be appreciated by creatures. Since we are pleasing our Lily, let us remain joyfully His drop, His single drop of dew!... And to this drop that has consoled Him during the ex­ile, what will He not give us in the homeland?... He tells us Himself: "He who is thirsty, let him come to me and drink," and so Jesus is and will be our ocean.... Like the thirsty hind we long for this water that is promised to us, but our consolation is great: to be the ocean of Jesus also, the ocean of the Lily of the valleys!...

Your heart alone will be able to read this letter, for I myself have difficulty in deciphering it. I have no more ink, I was obliged to spit into our inkwell to make some.. .is this not something to laugh about?...

I kiss the whole family, but especially my dear king, who will receive a kiss from my Céline from his queen.

Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face rel. carm. ind.

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc