LT 196 - To Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart

LT 196                 From Thérèse to Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart.

September 13 (?), 1896


Oh, dear Sister! you ask me to give you a souvenir of my retreat, a retreat that perhaps will be the last. Since our Mother permits it, it is a joy for me to come to speak with you, who are my Sister twice over, with you who lent me your voice, promising in my name that I wanted to serve Jesus alone when it was not possible for me to speak.... Dear little Godmother, the child whom you offered to the Lord is the one who speaks to you this evening, she is the one who loves you as a child can love its Mother.... In heaven only you will know all the gratitude that overflows my heart.... Oh, dear Sister, you would like to hear the secrets Jesus confides to your little daughter; these secrets He confides to you, I know, for you are the one who taught me to gather the divine teachings. However, I am going to try to stammer some words, although I feel that it is impossible for human words to repeat things that the human heart can hardly sense...

Do not believe I am swimming in consolations; oh, no! my con­solation is to have none on earth. Without showing Himself, without making His voice heard, Jesus teaches me in secret. It is not by means of books, for I do not understand what I am reading, but at times a word like this one that I drew out at the end of prayer (after having remained in silence and aridity) comes to console me: "Here is the Master I am giving you; he will teach you all you must do. I want to have you read in the book of life wherein is contained the science of Love." The science of Love, oh! yes, this word re­sounds sweetly in the ear of my soul. I desire only this science. Hav­ing given all my riches for it, I look upon this as having given nothing, just as the spouse in the sacred canticles.... I understand so well that it is only love that can make us pleasing to God that this love is the only good that I ambition. Jesus is pleased to show me the only road which leads to this divine furnace, and this road is the abandonment of the little child who sleeps without fear in his Father's arms.. .. "Whoever is a little one, let him come to me" said the Holy Spirit through the mouth of Solomon, and this same Spirit of Love has said again: "Mercy is granted to little ones." In His name, the Prophet Isaias reveals to us that on the last day: "The Lord will lead his flock into pastures, he will gather together the little lambs and will press them to his bosom," and as though all these pro­mises were not enough, the same Prophet, whose inspired glance was already plunged into the eternal depths, cried out in the Lord's name: "As a mother caresses her child, so will I comfort you; I will carry you on my bosom, and I shall rock you on my knees.'"

Oh, dear Godmother, after language like this, there is nothing to do but be silent and weep with gratitude and love            Ah! if all weak and imperfect souls felt what the littlest of all souls feels, the soul of your little Thérèse, not one would despair of reaching the sum­mit of the mountain of love, since Jesus does not ask for great ac­tions but only abandonment and gratitude, since He has said in Psalm XLIX: "I have no need of the he-goats from your flocks, for all the beasts of the forest belong to me, and the thousands of animals that graze on the hills; I know all the birds of the mountains.... If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the earth and all it con­tains are mine. Must I eat the flesh of bulls and drink the blood of goats?...

"Offer to God sacrifices of praise and thanksgivingSee, then, all that Jesus is asking from us. He has no need of our works but only of our love, for this same God, who declares He has no need to tell us if He is hungry, did not hesitate to beg for a little water from the Samaritan woman. He was thirsty.... But when He said: "Give me to drink,"" it was the love of His poor creatures that the Creator of the universe was asking for. He was thirsty for love.... Ah! I feel it more than ever, Jesus is parched; He meets with only the ungrateful and indifferent among His disciples of the world and among His own disciples He finds, alas! few hearts that give themselves to Him without any reservations, that understand all the tenderness of His infinite Love. Dear Sister, how blessed we are to understand the intimate secrets of our Spouse. Ah! if you were will­ing to write all that you know about them, we would have beautiful pages to read, but I know that you prefer to keep in the bottom of your heart "the secrets of the King." You say to me: "It is honorable to publish the works of the Most High.'’ I find you are right in keeping silence, and it is only in order to please you that I write these lines, for I feel my powerlessness in repeating in earthly words the secrets of heaven. And, then, after having written out pages and pages, I would find that I had still not begun.... There are so many different horizons, so many infinitely varied nuances, that the palette of the heavenly Painter alone will be able, after the night of this life, to furnish me with colors capable of painting the marvels that He reveals to the eyes of my soul.

Dear Sister, you have asked me to write you about my dream and "my little doctrine" as you call it. ... I have done this in the follow­ing pages, but so poorly that it seems to me impossible for you to understand. Perhaps you are going to find my expressions exag­gerated .... Ah! pardon me, this must be laid to my unpleasant style; I assure you that there is no exaggeration in my little soul, that all is calm and at rest there....

When writing, I am speaking to Jesus; it is easier for me to express my thoughts.. .which, alas, does not prevent their being poorly expressed!


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