From sr Genevieve (Celine) to Mother Agnes of Jesus – February 24, 1908

From sr Genevieve (Celine) to Mother Agnes of Jesus – February 24, 1908

+ Jesus                                                                                       24th February 1908


                                                               Darling little Mother

  Today, then, was the last time I renewed my vows in your hands. It was 12 years ago that I did so for the first time, and what a lot of feelings then crowded my poor little heart! I wanted to refuse Jesus nothing; nothing at all. Alas, such a lot has happened since then! There has been so much pain! O little Mother, Jesus has broken my chains once again! I’m free and nothing can stop me. Oh, I want to seize this freedom in order to run towards my goal! Mother, I cannot say that I had a single thought over the course of my retreat. During my meditations, my mind was blank and I couldn’t put two ideas together. During the Office, I had many distractions and yet I can say that this retreat will leave me with an unforgettable memory. O little Mother, it was in the evening, during the exercise of the Stations of the Cross almost every day, that Jesus deemed fit to raise me to Him and unite me to Him so closely that I couldn’t help but weep. God seemed so good and so merciful, and I so imperfect, that I couldn’t strike a balance, so to speak. It was as though love was waging war against me. It was as though Jesus was shooting fire-tipped arrows at me like darts of fire. I wanted to respond with trust and love but I was incapable of doing so and Jesus kept firing. Unable to stand it anymore, I wept. O Mother, it was such a dreadful battle and yet what rapture!

Mother, I thought so many things, or rather, felt so many things that it would be impossible for me to relate everything to you. In my madness, I felt compelled to say the following prayer, which soothed me a little. I said, “O Jesus, how I’d like to be God, Your equal, because I would immediately place my crown on Your dear head and surrender all my power and dignity to You. O Jesus, if it would bring You glory, I would happily fade into nothingness if, by doing so, I could make one single soul love You! O Jesus, I give You everything I own; everything. Use me as You see fit. I can be happy anywhere, especially if You allow me to be Your stepping-stone.” Oh, How I’d love to raise Him up, and make Him known and loved!

Little Mother, I can’t tell you what I felt. It was a delightful martyrdom. I wanted to respond and Jesus’ response was stronger than mine, so I had only my tears to defend myself. At one moment I felt weak and powerless, and the next I experienced rapture, but only when I allowed myself to do so. O Mother, Jesus showed me the vanity of things that pass, the fleetingness of life, how few people love Him, and how good He is. I therefore realised that I had my own life, which I could use as I saw fit, and do as much or as little for Jesus as I pleased. Feeling very close to His heart, I asked Him whether my efforts were fruitful and that I might become a saint.

Little Mother, I don’t want to treat myself to anything on earth. I want to seek and love suffering. It is what I asked of Jesus when He was showing me favour. Also, like Thérèse, I seek suffering that is hidden and visible to Jesus alone. One morning I was awoken by the sensation that someone was whispering in my ear and that I was repeating their words: “The more you surrender yourself to love, the more you surrender yourself to suffering.” Yet this is what I want and I’m convinced that Jesus will help me. O little Mother, you are my ideal, the angel who prepared me for my 1st Communion, and the gentle mother who raised me, and I pray that I might at last, in the evening of my life, let you taste the fruits of virtue from the tree that Jesus planted deep in my poor little heart. O Mother, how I want to love Jesus and make Him loved! This is my burning desire. I feel it with such vehemence that only Jesus is aware of it, because He was the One who lit this flame inside me.

               Your little daughter

   Geneviève of St Teresa, u.c.n.

Note added on 20th April 1947:

Later on, my opinions changed and the sentence I heard was banned, to the extent that I had to fight against it being published in the “Little Catechism of Merciful Love”.

In actual fact, after two years of intense anguish and of considering suffering as pleasing to God and as coming from Him, I was inwardly enlightened on Our Saviour’s words, “Come to me, all you who suffer and I will give you rest.”

And so in 1931, I began, pen in hand, to think about the “Problem of suffering”, in order to seek the answer and demonstrate it, and this brought me immense peace.

   At present, it seems to me that little Thérèse did not wish to leave her poor little sister in exile for too long and came to instruct me in the truths of heaven, because it was not my mission to examine them on earth.

   I can compare that time in my life, when I adopted the sentence I heard in my dream, with one of the numerous stations that line the path to heaven. The pious soul necessarily stops at these stations before reaching their goal, that is to say entering into the knowledge of God. This divine journey must last a whole lifetime and continue for eternity because “eternal life consists of knowing Him.”

            Sr Geneviève of the Holy Face and St Teresa, o.c.d. [Order of Discalced Carmelites]