LT 213 - To l'abbé Bellière

LT 213            From Thérèse to l'abbé Bellière.

December 26, 1896   

Lisieux Carmel


December 26, 1896


Monsieur l'Abbé,

I would have liked to answer you sooner, but the rule of Carmel does not allow the writing or receiving of letters during the time of Advent. However, our revered Mother permitted me by way of ex­ception to read your letter, understanding you needed to be par­ticularly aided by prayer.

I assure you, Monsieur l'Abbé, I am doing all that is within my power to obtain the graces necessary for you; these graces certainly will be granted to you since Our Lord never asks sacrifices from us above our strength. At times, it is true, this divine Saviour makes us feel all the bitterness of the chalice that He is offering our soul. When He asks the sacrifice of all that is dearest in this world, it is impossible, without a very special grace, not to cry out like Him in the garden of agony: "Father, let this chalice pass from me. . .however, may your will be done and not mine.'"

It is very consoling to think that Jesus, the Strong God, knew our weaknesses, that He trembled at the sight of the bitter chalice, this chalice that He had in the past so ardently desired to drink. ...

Monsieur l'Abbé, your lot is really beautiful since Our Lord chose it for Himself and since He first wet His lips with the cup He is of­fering you.

A Saint has said: "The greatest honor God can give a soul is not to give it much but to ask much from it! Jesus is treating you then as a privileged one. He wills that you already begin your mission and that through suffering you may save souls. Is it not in suffer­ing, in dying that He Himself redeemed the world?... I know you aspire to the joy of sacrificing your life for the divine Master, but martyrdom of the heart is not less fruitful than the pouring out of one's blood, and now this martyrdom is yours. I am right, then, in saying that your lot is beautiful, that it is worthy of an apostle of Christ.

Monsieur l'Abbé, you come seeking consolations from her whom Jesus has given you as a sister, and you have the right. Since Reverend Mother allows me to write you, I would like to respond to the sweet mission entrusted to me, but I feel the surest means of reaching my goal is to pray and to suffer....

Let us work together for the salvation of souls; we have only the one day of this life to save them and thus to give the Lord proofs of our love. The tomorrow of this day will be eternity, and then Jesus will restore to you a hundredfold the very sweet and very legitimate joys that you sacrificed for Him. He knows the extent of your sacrifice, He knows the suffering of those dear to you increases your own, but He also suffered this martyrdom. To save our souls He left His Mother, He saw the Immaculate Virgin standing at the foot of the Cross, her heart transpierced by a sword of sorrow. So I hope our divine Saviour will console your good mother, and I am asking Him for this immediately. Ah! if the divine Master allowed those whom you are leaving for His love to glimpse the glory He is reserving for you, the multitude of souls who will make up your cortege in heaven, they would already be rewarded for the great sacrifice your separation will cause them.

Our Mother is still sick; however, she has been a little better for several days now. I trust the divine Child Jesus will restore to her the strength she will use for His glory. This reverend Mother is send­ing you the picture of St. Francis of Assisi that will teach you the means of finding joy in the midst of the trials and combats of life.

I hope, Monsieur l'abbé, that you will continue to pray for me who am not an angel as you appear to believe, but a poor little Carmelite, who is very imperfect and who in spite of her poverty has, like you, the desire to work for the glory of God.

Let us remain close to the crib of Jesus through prayer and suffering.

Your unworthy little sister, Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face rel. carm. ind.


© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc