LT 167 - To Céline

LT 167                From Thérèse to Céline.

July 18, 1894



July 18, 1894

Dear Céline,

I am not surprised at your trials; I passed through this last year and I know what it is!... God willed that I make my sacrifice; I made it and now, like you, I have felt calm in the midst of suffering.

But I felt something else, that frequently God wants only our will; He asks all, and if we were to refuse Him the least thing, He loves us too much to give in to us; however, as soon as our will is con­formed to His, as soon as He sees we seek Him alone, then He con­ducts Himself with us as in the past He conducted Himself with Abraham. ... This is what Jesus is making me feel interiorly, and I think that you are on TRIAL, that now the cutting off is taking place which you feel is necessary.... It is now that Jesus is break­ing your nature, that He is giving you the cross and tribulation. The more I go on, the more I have the inner certitude that one day you will come here. Mother Marie de Gonzague advises me to tell you this. She was so kind when reading your letter, if you had seen her you would have been touched!. ..

Fear nothing. Here you will find more than anywhere else the cross and martyrdom\... We shall suffer together, as in the past the Chris­tians who used to join together in order to give each other more courage in the hour of trial. . ..

And then Jesus will come, He will take one of us, and the others will remain for a short time in exile and tears.... Céline, tell me, would the suffering be as great if we were, one at Lisieux and the other at Jerusalem?... Would the Blessed Virgin have suffered as much if she had not been at the foot of the Cross of her Jesus?...

You perhaps believe I do not understand you?. .. And I assure you that I am reading into your soul.... I read that you are faithful to Jesus, willing only His will, seeking only His love; fear nothing. In the present trial God is purifying what might be too human in our affection, but the foundation itself of this affection is too pure for Him to break it. Listen well to what I am going to say to you. Never, never, will Jesus separate us. If I die before you, do not believe I shall be far from your soul, never shall we have been more united! It is perhaps this which Jesus wills to make you feel when speaking to you of separation? But, above all, do not worry, I am not sick; on the contrary, I have iron health, however, God can break iron just like clay.... All this is childishness, let us not think of the future (I am speaking about myself, for I do not look upon the trial visiting my dear Céline's soul as something childish).

Exterior crosses, what are they?. .. We might be far from each other without suffering, if Jesus were to comfort our souls.... What is a real cross is the martyrdom of the heart, the interior suffering of the soul, and this, which no one sees, we shall be able to bear without ever being separated.

I know well that all I am saying to you and [saying] nothing are absolutely the same thing; your interior trial will cease only on the day set by Jesus, but since He wills to make use of me at times to do good to your soul, perhaps my words are the expression of His will.... It is incredible how we always have the same trials! A little earlier or later, we have to drink of the same cup.

When the storm is very strong on the land, everybody says: "There is no longer anything to fear for the ships, for the storm is no longer raging on the sea." Well, I say to Céline: The storm has passed over my soul, it is now visiting hers, but I do not fear, soon the calm will be restored, "a great serenity will follow the storm."

You want to know some news about my girl. Well, I believe she WILL STAY; she was not brought up like us; it is very unfortunate for her, her education is the cause of her unattractive ways, but basically she is good. Now she loves me, but I am careful to touch her only with white silk gloves.... However, I have a title which gives me a lot of trouble: I am a little hunting dog, I am the one chasing the game all day long. You realize the hunters (mistresses of novices and Prioresses) are too big to slip into the bushes, but a little dog.. .it has a sensitive nose and it slips in everywhere!... So I am watching my girl closely, and the hunters are not unhappy with their little dog.... I do not want to do any harm to my little rabbit, but I lick it, telling it with compassion its fur is not sleek enough, its appearance is too much that of a wild rabbit, in a word, I am trying to make it such as my hunters want it to be: a very sim­ple little rabbit which is to be busied only with the little grass it has to graze on. I am jesting, but basically I think the little rabbit is worth more than the little dog... in its place, I would have been lost forever a long time ago in the vast forest of the world!!!... I thank you for your two little photographs, they are charming.

Thérèse of the Child Jesus


I beg you to give my kindest regards to all the dear travelers who are enjoying themselves so much there. I understand what you feel regarding the boys.... But this is only for a passing moment, one day you will not see too much of them. Console yourself!...

I am sending you two little canticles I composed; show them to dear little Marie. Tell her I love her and am praying for her.... Oh! may suffering ennoble her soul and bring it close to its goal!. ..

Mother Marie de Gonzague is not writing her because the letter is addressed to Aunt; she will write the next time!... Ask Aunt for My Song for Today, Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart wanted to send it to her.


© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc