the Carmel
Therese's correspondence LT 213 – To Abbé Bellière – December 26, 1896

MARTIN Thérèse, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus
BELLIERE Maurice-Marie-Louis Father



Carmel of Lisieux

December 26, 1896


                The Reverend,

                I would have liked to be able to answer you sooner but the rule of Carmel does not allow me to write or receive letters during the Advent season, however Our Venerable Mother allowed me by exception to read yours, understanding that you needed to be especially supported by prayer.
                I assure you, Father, that I am doing everything that depends on me to obtain for you the graces you need. These graces will certainly be granted to you since Our Lord never asks us to sacrifice beyond our strength. Sometimes, it is true, this divine Savior makes us feel all the bitterness of the chalice which he presents to our soul. When he asks for the sacrifice of all that is dearest in this world, it is impossible, except for a very special grace, not to cry out like him in the garden of agony: "My Father, let this chalice depart from me...yet your will be done and not mine.”
                It is very consoling to think that Jesus, the Mighty God, knew our weaknesses, that he trembled at the sight of the bitter chalice, this chalice that once he had so ardently desired to drink...
                Monsieur l'Abbé, your share is truly beautiful since Our Lord chose it for Himself and was the first to wet His lips with the cup He is presenting to you.
                A Saint said it: The greatest honor that God can do to a soul is not to give it a lot, it is to ask a lot of it! Jesus therefore treats you as privileged. He wants you to begin your mission already and to save souls through suffering. Was it not by suffering, by dying that He Himself redeemed the world?... I know that you aspire to the happiness of sacrificing your life for the divine Master, but the martyrdom of the heart is no less fruitful. that the shedding of blood and from now on this martyrdom is yours; I am therefore quite right to say that your part is beautiful, that it is worthy of an apostle of Christ.
                Father, you come to seek consolation from the one Jesus gave you as a sister and you have the right to do so. Since our Reverend Mother allows me to write to you, I would like to respond to the sweet mission entrusted to me, but I feel that the surest way to reach my goal is to pray and suffer...
                Let us work together for the salvation of souls, we only have the one day in this life to save them and thus give the Lord proof of our love. The day after this day will be eternity, then Jesus will return to you a hundredfold the joys so sweet and so legitimate that you sacrifice to him, he knows the extent of your sacrifice, he knows that the suffering of those who are dear to you increases even more yours but He too suffered this martyrdom; to save our souls he left his Mother, he saw the Immaculate Virgin, standing at the foot of the cross, her heart pierced with a sword of pain, so I hope that our Divine Savior will console your good Mother, and I urges him. Ah! if the divine Master allowed those you are going to leave for his love to glimpse the glory he has in store for you, the multitude of souls who will form your procession in Heaven, they would already be rewarded for the great sacrifice that your estrangement will cause them.
                Our Mother is still ill, however she has been feeling a little better for a few days, I hope that the Divine Child Jesus will give her strength which she will spend for her glory. This Venerable Mother sends you the image of St. Francis of Assisi who will teach you how to find joy in the midst of the trials and struggles of life.
                I hope, Father, that you will continue to pray for me, who am not an angel as you seem to believe, but a poor, imperfect little Carmelite who, despite her poverty, like you, has the desire to work for the glory of God.
                Let us remain united in prayer and suffering near the manger of Jesus.

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

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