LT 224 - to Fr. Bellière - April 25, 1897.

J.M.J.T. Alleluia

Dear little Brother,

My pen or rather my heart refuses henceforth to call you "Mon­sieur l'Abbé," and our good Mother told me I could use when writing to you the name I always use when I speak of you to Jesus. It seems to me that the divine Saviour has seen fit to unite our souls in working for the salvation of sinners, just as He united, in the past, the souls of the Venerable Père de la Colombière and Blessed Margaret Mary. I was reading recently in the Life of this saint: "One day, when I was approaching Our Lord to receive Him in Holy Commun­ion, He showed His Sacred Heart as a burning furnace and two other hearts (her own and that of P. de la Colombière) that were about to be united and engulfed in It, saying: 'It is thus that My pure love unites three hearts forever.' He made me understand that this union was for His glory, and for this reason He willed us to be like brother and sister, equally endowed with spiritual goods. Then I pointed out to Our Lord my poverty and the inequality there was between a priest of such great virtue and a poor sinner like me, and He said: 'The infinite riches of My Heart will make up for everything and will equalize everything.'

Perhaps, Brother, the comparison does not appear fair to you? It is true that you are not yet a Père de la Colombière, but I do not doubt that one day, you will be a real apostle of Christ like him. As for myself, the thought does not come into my mind to compare myself with Blessed Margaret Mary. I simply state that Jesus has chosen me to be the sister of one of His apostles, and the words that the "holy Lover of His Heart" addressed to Him out of humility, I repeat to Him myself in all truth ; so I hope that His infinite riches will make up for all that I lack in accomplishing the work He en­trusts to me.

I am really happy that God has used my poor verses to do you a little good; I would have been embarrassed in sending them to you if I had not remembered that a sister should have nothing to hide from her brother. It is truly with a fraternal heart that you welcomed and judged them.... You were undoubtedly surprised to find again Vivre d'Amour. My intention was not to send it to you twice; I had already begun to copy it when I remembered you had it already, and it was too late to stop.

Dear little Brother, I must admit that in your letter there is something that caused me some sorrow, and it is that you do not know me such as I am in reality. It is true that to find great souls one must come to Carmel; just as in virgin forests there grow flowers of a fragrance and brilliance unknown to the world, so Jesus in His mercy has willed that among these flowers there should grow littler ones; never will I be able to thank Him enough, for it is thanks to this condescension that I, a poor flower without splendor, find myself in the same garden as the roses, my Sisters. Oh, Brother! I beg you to believe me. God has not given you as a sister a great soul but a very little and a very imperfect one.

Do not think that it is humility that prevents me from acknowledg­ing the gifts of God. I know He has done great things in me, and I sing of this each day with joy. 1 remember that the one must love more who has been forgiven more, so I take care to make my life an act of love, and I am no longer disturbed at being a little soul; on the contrary, I take delight in this. That is why 1 dare to hope "my exile will be short," but it is not because I am prepared. I feel that I shall never be prepared if the Lord does not see fit to transform me Himself. He can do so in one instant; after all the graces He has granted me, I still await this one from His infinite mercy.

You tell me, Brother, to beg for the favor of martyrdom for you; this favor I have often sought for myself, but I am not worthy of it, and truly we can say with St. Paul: "It is not the work of him who wills or who runs, but of God who shows mercy." Since the Lord seems to will to grant me only the martyrdom of love, I hope He will permit me, by means of you, to gather the other palm we are striving after. I am pleased to see that God has given us the same attractions, the same desires. I made you smile, dear little Brother, when singing My Weapons. Well! I shall make you smile once more when I tell you that I dreamt in my childhood of fighting on the fields of battle.. .. When I was beginning to learn the history of France, the account of Joan of Arc's exploits delighted me; I felt in my heart the desire and the courage to imitate her. It seemed the Lord destined me, too, for great things. I was not mistaken, but instead of voices from heaven inviting me to combat, I heard in the depths of my soul a gentler and stronger voice, that of the Spouse of Virgins, who was calling me to other exploits, to more glorious conquests, and into Carmel's solitude. I understood my mission was not to have a mortal king crowned but to make the King of heaven loved, to submit to Him the kingdom of hearts.

It is time to stop, and yet 1 must still thank you for the dates you sent me. I would really like you to add to them the years, for I do not know your age. So that you may excuse my simplicity, I am sending you the memorable dates of my life, and it is also with the intention that we be particularly united through prayer and gratitude on those blessed days.

If God gives me a little goddaughter, I shall be very happy to answer your request by giving it as protectors: the Blessed Virgin, Saint Joseph, and my Patroness.

Finally, dear little Brother, I come to an end, begging you to ex­cuse my long scribbling and the rambling of my letter.

In the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I am for eternity,

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

(It is understood that our relationship will remain secret, is it not? No one except your director must know the union that Jesus has formed between our souls.)

© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc