the Carmel
Therese's correspondence LT 167 – To Celine – July 18, 1894

MARTIN Thérèse, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus
MARTIN Céline, Sister Geneviève of the Holy Face




July 18 1894

                My dear Celine,

                I am not surprised by your ordeals, I went through it last year and I know what it is!... The good Lord wanted me to make my sacrifice, I did it and then like you I felt calm in the midst of suffering.
                But I felt something else still, it is that often the good Lord only wants our will, He asks for everything and if we refuse Him the slightest thing He loves us too much to yield to us, but as soon as our will conforms to his, that he sees that it is he alone that we are looking for, then he behaves towards us as he behaved in the past towards Abraham... This is what Jesus makes me feel in my heart and I think that you you are in the test, that it is now that the retrenchment takes place that you need... (It is now that Jesus breaks your nature, that he gives you the cross and the tribulation.) The more I go the more I have the intimate certainty that one day you will come here, Mother M. de Gonz. recommend me to tell you, she was quite good reading your letter, if you had seen her you would have been touched!...
                Do not be afraid, here you will find the cross and martyrdom more than anywhere else!... We will suffer together, as in the past the Christians who united in order to give each other more courage in the hour of trial...
                And tears Jesus will come, He will take one of us and the others will remain for a little while in exile and tears... Céline, tell me, would the suffering be as great if we were there? one in Lisieux and the other in Jerusalem?... Would the Blessed Virgin have suffered so much if she had not been at the foot of the Cross of her Jesus?...
                Do you think maybe I don't understand you? and I assure you that I read in your soul... I read that you are faithful to Jesus, wanting only his will, seeking only his love, fear nothing; in the present trial the good Lord purifies what could be too sensitive in our affection but the very basis of this affection is too pure for him to break it... Listen carefully to what I am going to tell you. Never, never, Jesus will separate us... if I die before you, don't think that I will move away from your soul, we will never have been more united!... Perhaps that is what Jesus wants make you feel by talking to you about separation but above all don't worry, I am not sick, on the contrary, I have iron health only the good Lord can break iron like clay... All this it's childishness, let's not think about the future (I'm talking about myself because I don't view the ordeal that is visiting the soul of my darling Céline as childish).
                External crosses, what are these?... We could move away from each other without suffering if Jesus consoled our souls... What is a true cross is the martyrdom of the heart, the intimate suffering of the soul, and that which no one sees we will be able to carry without ever separating.
                I know very well that everything I tell you and then nothing is absolutely the same thing, your inner trial will only cease on the day marked by Jesus; but since he wants to use me sometimes to do good to your soul, perhaps my words are the expression of his will... It's incredible how we always have the same trials! a little earlier or later we must drink from the same cup.
                When the storm is very strong on land everyone says: "There is nothing more to fear for the vessels because the storm is no longer rumbling over the sea." Well ! I say to Céline: The storm has passed over my soul, it is now visiting yours, but I'm not afraid, calm will soon be reborn (a great serenity will follow the storm).
                You want to know about my daughter, well! I think she will stay, she was not brought up like us, it is very unfortunate for her, her education is the cause of her unattractive manners but deep down she is good, now she likes me, but I try not to touch her except with white silk gloves... However, I have a title that gives me a lot of trouble, I'm a "little hunting dog", it's me who runs after game all day. You know, the hunters (mistresses of novices and Prioresses) are too big to slip into the bushes, but a little dog... it has a fine nose and then it slips everywhere!... so I watch over my daughter up close and the hunters are not unhappy with their little dog... I don't want to hurt my little rabbit but I lick him, telling him with compassion that his hair is not smooth enough, that his eyes are too much that of a wild rabbit, finally I try to make it as my hunters want it ‑ A very simple little rabbit who only takes care of the little grass that he has to graze. I'm having fun, but deep down I think the rabbit is better than the little dog... in his place, I would have been lost forever in the vast forest of the world a long time ago!!!...
                I thank you for your 2 small pho., they are charming.

Th. of the Child Jesus.

                Please say a thousand kind things from me to all the dear travelers who have so much pleasure there. I understand how you feel for the boys... But it's only a moment to pass, one day you won't see too many of them, console yourself!...
                I am sending you two little hymns that I have composed, show them to my dear little Marie, tell her that I love her, that I pray for her. Oh! how suffering enlarges my soul and the approach of the end!...
                Mr. Marie de Gonz. do not write to her because the letter is addressed to my Aunt, it will be for the next time!... Ask my Aunt for my song today, it is to her that Sr M. of the SC has wanted to address it.

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