July 7, 1894.
My dear Celine,
Léonie's letter worries us a lot...
Ah! how unhappy she will be if she returns to the world! But I confess to you that I hope it's only a temptation, you have to pray a lot for her. The good Lord can give him what he lacks...
Our Mother is on a long retreat, that is why she is not going to write to you, she is thinking of you and of Mary, she is going to pray a lot for her two little girls.
I don't know if you're still in the same frame of mind as the other day, but I'm going to tell you a passage from Cant anyway. of the cants. which perfectly expresses what a soul plunged into drought and which nothing can rejoice or console: “I went down to the garden of walnut trees, to see the fruits of the valley, to consider whether the vine had blossomed; and if pomegranates had grown... I no longer knew where I was... my soul was troubled because of the chariots of Aminadab” (chap. vi, verses x and xi... ).
This is indeed the image of our souls; often we descend into the fertile valleys where our heart loves to nourish itself, the vast field of scriptures which has so often opened before us to spread its rich treasures in our favour, this vast field seems to us to be an arid desert without water... We don't even know where we are anymore, instead of peace, light we only find trouble or at least darkness... But as the bride we know the cause of our trial. Our soul is disturbed by the chariots c'Aminadab... We are not yet in our homeland and the test must purify us like gold in the crucible, we sometimes believe ourselves abandoned, alas! Are the chariots, the vain noises which afflict us within us or outside of us? we do not know... but Jesus knows it well, He sees our sadness and suddenly his sweet voice is heard, a voice sweeter than the breath of spring: “Come back, Come back, my Shulamite, come back, come back so that we may consider you!... (Cant. chap. vi, v.xii). What a call that of our Spouse!... Oh what! we no longer even dared to look at ourselves so much we thought we were without brilliance and adornment and Jesus calls us, He wants to consider us at leisure, but He is not alone, with Him the two other people of the Holy Trinity come to take possession of our soul... Jesus had promised it long ago when he was about to ascend to his Father and our Father; He said with ineffable tenderness: "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home in him." Keeping the word of Jesus is the only condition of our happiness, the proof of our love for Him. But what is this word?... It seems to me that the word of Jesus is Himself... Him Jesus, the Word, the Word of God!... He tells us this later in the same Gospel of St John, praying to his Father for his disciples. He expresses himself thus: "Sanctify them by your word, your word is the truth"; in another place Jesus teaches us that He is the way, the truth, the life. So we know what is the Word that we must keep; like Pilate we will not ask Jesus, "What is Truth?" We have it, the Truth. We keep Jesus in our hearts!... Many times as the Bride we can say, "Our Beloved is a bunch of myrrh," that He is a bridegroom of blood to us... But how sweet it will be for us to hear one day these sweet words come from the mouth of our Jesus: "It is you who have remained constantly with me in all the trials that I have had, so I have prepared for you my kingdom as my Father has prepared it for me (gospel). The trials of Jesus, what a mystery! So he has trials too? Yes, He has some and often He is alone treading the wine in the press, He is looking for comforters and cannot find any... Many serve Jesus when He consoles them, but few consent to keep company with Jesus sleeping on the waves or suffering in the garden of agony!... Who would want to serve Jesus for Himself?... Ah! it will be us... Céline and Thérèse will unite more and more, in them will be fulfilled this prayer of Jesus: "My Father, may they be one as we are one." Yes, Jesus is already preparing his kingdom for us, as his Father has prepared it for him. He prepares it for us by leaving us in the test, He wants our face to be seen by creatures, but that they are hidden so that no one recognizes us but Him alone!... But also what happiness to think that the Good God, the entire Trinity is watching us, that it is within us and enjoys considering us. But what does she want to see in our heart? if not “music choirs in an army camp?” (cant. ch. vii, v. 1) "How then can we sing the songs of the Lord in a foreign land?... For a long time our harps have been suspended from the willows of the shore. We cannot use them!... Our God, the guest of our soul knows this well, so He comes to us with the intention of finding a home, an empty tent in the midst of the battlefield of the earth. He asks only that and He Himself is the Divine Musician who takes care of the concert... Ah!
“We don't know how to ask for anything properly, but it is the Spirit who asks in us with groans that cannot be expressed” (St Paul). We therefore have only to deliver our soul, to abandon it to our great God. What does it matter then that she is without gifts that shine on the outside since within shines the King of Kings with all his glory! How great a soul must be to contain a God! ... and yet the soul of a day-old child is a Paradise of delights to him, what will it be like for ours who have struggled, suffered to steal the heart of their Beloved?...
My darling Céline, I assure you that I don't know what I'm telling you, it shouldn't have any sequel, but it seems to me that you're going to understand all the same!... I would like to tell you so many things!. ..
Don't answer me a long letter to tell me about your soul, a single short word will suffice, I prefer that you write a very amusing letter for everyone. The good Lord wants me to forget myself, to please.
I kiss my good Uncle, my dear Aunt, and my little Sister. For my darling Papa, I smile at him and guard him through his visible angel to whom I am so intimately united that we are one!...
Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face rel.carm.ind.