LT 190 - To Mother Marie de Gonzague

LT 190                From Thérèse to Mother Marie de Gonzague.

June 20, 1896


June 29, 1896

Legend of a very little Lamb.

In a cheerful and fertile meadow, there lived a happy shepherdess. She loved her flock with all the tenderness of her heart, and the sheep and the lambs loved their shepherdess too… But perfect happiness is not to be found in this valley of tears. One day, the beautiful blue sky of the meadow was covered with clouds, and the shepherdess became sad; she no longer found any joy in taking care of her flock. And must I say it? The thought of separating herself from it forever

came into her mind.... Fortunately, she loved a very little lamb, and often she took it up in her arms, caressed it, and as though the lamb were her equal, the shepherdess confided to it her troubles and at times shed tears with it.

Seeing its shepherdess crying, the poor little lamb was upset; it sought vainly in its very little heart the means of consoling her whom it loved more than itself....

One night, the little lamb fell asleep at its shepherdess' feet. Then the meadow.. .the clouds… everything disappeared before its eyes. It was in a country infinitely more vast and more beautiful. In the midst of a flock that was whiter than the snow, it saw a Shepherd resplendent with glory and gentle majesty.... The poor lamb did not dare to advance, but, coming to it, the Good, the Divine Shepherd took it up on His knees, kissed it as its sweet shepherdess had done in the past, and then He said: "Little Lamb, why do these tears glisten in your eyes, and why does your shepherdess whom I love often shed tears?... Speak, I want to console both of you."

"If I am crying," answered the lamb, "it is only when I see my dear shepherdess weeping. Listen, Divine Shepherd, to the reason for her tears. In the past, she believed she was loved by her dear flock; she would have given her life to make it happy, but because of Your commands she was obliged to absent herself for some years; when she returned, it seemed she no longer recognized the same spirit that she had loved so much in her lambs. You know, Lord, it is to the flock that You have given the power and the freedom of choos­ing its shepherdess. Well, instead of seeing herself chosen unanimous­ly as in the past, it was only after having deliberated seven times that the flock placed the staff in her hands. ... You, who in the past wept on our earth, do You not understand how much my dear shepherdess' heart must be suffering?...

The Good Shepherd smiled, and bending over the lamb He said: "Yes, I understand. . .but let your shepherdess be consoled. I am the one who has not permitted but willed the great trial that has made her suffer so much." The little lamb answered: "Is it possible, Jesus! I believed You were so good, so gentle.... Could You not, then, have given the staff to another, just as my dear Mother desired, or if You wanted absolutely to place it again in her hands, why did You not do so after the first deliberation?..." "Why, little lamb?

It is because I love your shepherdess! Throughout her life I have watched over her with jealous care; she had already suffered very much for Me in her soul, in her heart. However, there was lacking the special trial that I have just sent her after I had prepared it from all eternity."

"Ah, Lord! I can see now that You do not know the greatest sor­row of my shepherdess... or else You do not want to confide it to me!. .. You think also that the primitive spirit of our flock is going away.... Alas, how would my shepherdess not think so?... There is so great a number of shepherdesses who deplore the same disasters in their sheepfolds...." Jesus replied: "It is true. The spirit of the world is creeping even into the midst of the most distant meadows, but it is easy to be mistaken in the discernment of intentions. I, who see all, who know the most secret thoughts, I tell you: The flock of your shepherdess is dear to Me among all others, and it has served me only as an instrument to accomplish My work of sanctification in your dear Mother's soul."

"Ah! Lord, I assure You that my shepherdess does not under­stand all You are telling me. .. and how would she understand it since no one judges things in the way You are showing them to me?. .. I know some sheep who are doing much harm to my shepherdess with their mundane reasoning. ... Jesus, why do You not tell these sheep the secrets You are confiding to me, why do You not speak to the heart of my shepherdess?..." "If I were to speak to her, her trial would disappear, her heart would be filled with so great a joy that her staff would never have seemed so light.. . but I do not want to take her trial away from her, I want only that she may under­stand the truth and recognize that her cross is coming from heaven and not from earth."

"Lord, speak then to my shepherdess. How do you expect her to understand the truth since she hears only falsehood around her?..."

"Little lamb, are you not the favorite of your shepherdess?... Well! repeat to her the words I am speaking in your heart." "Jesus, I shall do it, but I would prefer if You gave this charge to one of the sheep whose reasoning is mundane.... I am so little... my voice is so weak, how will my shepherdess believe me?..."

"Your shepherdess knows that I am pleased to hide my secrets from the wise and the prudent, she knows I reveal them to the lit­tlest ones, to the simple lambs whose white wool is not soiled by the dust on the road. ... She will believe you, and if tears still flow from her eyes, these tears will no longer have the same bitterness, they will adorn her soul with the austere brightness of suffering loved and accepted with gratitude."

"I understand You, Jesus, but there is still a mystery I would like to fathom: Tell me, I beg You, why have You chosen the dear sheep of my shepherdess to try her? .... If You had chosen strangers, the trial would have been sweeter...." Then showing the lamb His feet, His hands, and His heart, adorned with luminous wounds, the Good Shepherd answered: "Look at these wounds; they are the ones I received in the house of those who loved Me!... This is the reason why they are so beautiful, so glorious, and why for all eternity their brilliance will revive the joy of the angels and saints.. ..

"Your shepherdess wonders what she has done to estrange her sheep, and I, what had I done to My people?.... In what had I made them sad?

"Your dear Mother, then, must rejoice in having a share in My sorrows.... If I am removing from her human support, it is only to fill her very loving heart!...

"Blessed is the one who places his support in Me, for he is setting up in his heart steps which will lift him up to heaven. Notice, little lamb, that I am not saying that one must separate himself completely from creatures, despise their love, their kindness, but, on the con­trary, one must accept them in order to please Me, and to use them as so many steps, for to separate oneself from creatures would serve only one thing: to walk and go astray on the paths of this earth.... To lift oneself up one must place his foot on the steps of creatures and attach himself to Me only.... Do you understand, little lamb?"

"Lord, I believe it, but above all I feel that Your words are the truth, for they bring peace, joy to my little heart. Ah! may they enter sweetly into the very big heart of my shepherdess!...

"Jesus, before I return to her, I have a prayer to make to You. Do not leave us languishing on this earth of exile for a long time, call us to the joys of the heavenly meadow where You will lead our dear flock eternally through flowery paths."

The Good Shepherd replied: "Dear little lamb, I will answer your request. Soon, yes soon, 1 shall take the shepherdess and her lamb; then throughout eternity you will be grateful for the blessed suffer­ing that will have merited so much happiness, and I Myself will dry all tears from your eyes!". ..


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