the Carmel
Therese's correspondence LT 190 – To Mother Marie de Gonzague – June 29, 1896

MARTIN Thérèse, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Marie de Gonzague



June 29, 1896

Legend of a very small Lamb.

In a smiling and fertile meadow lived a happy Shepherdess; she loved her flock with all the tenderness of her heart, and sheep and lambs also loved their Shepherdess... But perfect happiness is not found in the valley of tears; one day the beautiful blue sky of the meadow was covered with clouds and the Shepherdess became sad, she no longer found joy in tending her flock and, need we say? the thought of going away from him forever came to her mind... Fortunately she still loved a very small lamb, often she took him in her arms, caressed him and, as if the lamb had been her equal, the Shepherdess confided his sorrows to him and sometimes wept with him...
Seeing his Shepherdess weep, the poor child was distressed, he searched in vain in his tiny little heart for the means of consoling the one he loved more than himself.
One evening the little lamb fell asleep at the feet of his Shepherdess, then the meadow... the clouds... everything disappeared from his eyes. He found himself in an infinitely larger and more beautiful countryside. In the midst of a flock whiter than snow he saw a Shepherd resplendent with glory and sweet majesty... The poor lamb did not dare to advance, but coming to him, the Good, the Divine Shepherd took him on his knees, kissed him as his gentle Shepherdess used to be... then he said: "Little Lamb, why do tears shine in your eyes, why does your Shepherdess whom I love, often shed tears?... speak, I want to console you both.”
“If I cry, replied the lamb, it is only when I see my dear Shepherdess crying, listen, Divine Shepherd, the subject of her tears: Formerly she thought herself loved by her dear flock, she would have given her life for make him happy, but by your order she was obliged to be absent for some years; on her return, she seemed to no longer recognize the same spirit she had loved so much in her sheep. You know it, Lord, it is to the flock that you have given the power and the freedom to choose its shepherdess. Well, instead of seeing himself as once chosen unanimously, it was only after deliberating 7 times that the rod was placed in his hands... You who once wept on our land, do you not understand how much the heart of my darling Shepherdess must suffer?..."
(The good Shepherd smiles and, leaning towards the lamb): "Yes, he says, I understand... but let your Shepherdess console herself, it is I who, not allowed, but wanted, the great ordeal which made him suffer so much. - “Is it possible, Jesus!” resumed the little lamb. "I believed that you were so good, so gentle... couldn't you have given the crook to another, as my dear Mother wished, or if you absolutely wanted to put it back in her hands, why not? not have done so after the first deliberation?...» - «Why, little lamb? it's because I love your Shepherdess! All her life I kept her with jealous care, she had already suffered a lot for me, in her soul, in her heart, however she lacked the test of choice that I have just sent to her after having prepared her from all eternity. »
“Oh! Lord, I can see now that you don't know my Shepherdess' greatest sorrow... or else you don't want to entrust it to me!... You also think that the primitive spirit of our flock is going away. .. Alas! how would my Shepherdess not think so?... There are so many shepherdesses who lament the same disasters in their sheepfolds..." - "It is true", resumed Jesus, "the spirit of the world slips even in the middle of the most distant meadows, but it is easy to be mistaken in the discernment of intentions, I who see everything, who know the most secret thoughts, I tell you: the flock of your Shepherdess is dear to me above all , he served me only as an instrument to accomplish my work of sanctification in the soul of your dear Mother. »
- “Oh! Lord, I assure you that my Shepherdess does not understand everything you tell me... and how would she understand it, since no one judges things the way you show them to me... I know sheep who do much harm to my Shepherdess with their down-to-earth reasoning... Jesus, why don't you tell these sheep the secrets that you entrust to me, why don't you speak to the heart of my Shepherdess?...” - "If I spoke to her, her ordeal would disappear, her heart would be filled with such joy that her crook would never have felt so light...but I don't want to take her ordeal away from her, I only want her to understand the truth and that she recognizes that her cross comes to her from Heaven and not from earth. »
- "Lord, then speak to my Shepherdess, how do you expect her to understand the truth since she only hears lies around her..."
- “Little lamb, aren't you the favorite of your shepherdess?... Well! repeat to him the words that I spoke to your heart.”
- "Jesus, I will do it but I would prefer that you give the commission to one of the sheep, whose reasoning is down to earth... I am so small... my voice is so weak, how my Shepherdess Will she believe me?...» - «Your Shepherdess knows very well that I like to hide my secrets from the wise and prudent, she knows that I reveal them to the smallest, to the simple lambs whose white wool does not was not soiled by the dust of the road... She will believe you and if tears still flow from her eyes, these tears will no longer have the same bitterness, they will embellish her soul with the austere brilliance of the suffering loved and gratefully received. »
- "I understand you, Jesus, but there is still a mystery that I would like to deepen: Tell me, I beg you, why you chose the beloved sheep of my Shepherdess to test her... If you had taken strangers , the ordeal would have been more gentle..." Then showing the lamb his feet, his hands and his heart embellished with luminous wounds, the Good Shepherd replied: - "Look at these wounds, these are the ones I received in the house of those who loved me!... That is why they are so beautiful, so glorious and that throughout all eternity their brilliance will delight the angels and the Saints with joy...» «Your Shepherdess wonders what she did to keep her sheep away, and what had I done to my people? How had I saddened him?...» «Your darling Mother must therefore rejoice in having a share in my pain... If I take away her human support, it is to fill her heart alone if loving!...» Blessed is he who puts his support in me, he disposes in his heart of the degrees to rise up to Heaven. Note well, little lamb... I am not saying to separate oneself completely from creatures, to despise their love, their thoughtfulness, but on the contrary to accept them to please myself, to use them as so many degrees, because, to move away from creatures would only serve one thing, to walk and get lost in the paths of the earth... To rise, you must put your foot on the steps of creatures and only attach yourself to I alone... Do you understand, little Lamb? »
- “Lord, I believe it, but above all I feel that your words are the truth because they bring peace, joy to my little heart, ah! may they gently penetrate the great heart of my Shepherdess!...» «Jesus, before returning to her, I have a prayer to make to you... Do not let us languish long on the land of exile, call us to the joys of the Celestial Prairie where you will eternally lead our dear little herd through the flowery paths. »
“Dear little lamb (replied the Good Shepherd), I will grant your request, soon, yes soon, I will take the Shepherdess and her lamb; then during eternity you will bless the happy suffering which will have deserved you so much happiness, and I myself will wipe all the tears from your eyes!...”

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