the Carmel
Therese's correspondence LT 261 – To Abbé Bellière – July 26, 1897

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


July 26, 1897
My dear little brother,

How happy your letter gave me! If Jesus listened to your prayers and prolonged my exile because of them, He also in his love answered mine, since you are resigned to losing “my presence, my sensitive action” as you say. Ah! my brother, let me tell you: the good Lord has very sweet surprises in store for your soul, it is, you wrote to me, "unaccustomed to supernatural things" and I, who am not for nothing your little sister , I promise to make you taste, after my departure for eternal life, what happiness one can find in feeling close to one a friendly soul. It will not be this more or less distant correspondence, always quite incomplete, that you seem to regret, but a fraternal conversation that will charm the angels, a conversation that creatures cannot blame since it will be hidden from them. Ah! How good it will seem to me to be freed from this mortal remains which would oblige me, if by some impossibility I found myself with several people in the presence of my dear little brother, to regard him as a stranger, an indifferent one!... I please, my brother, do not imitate the Hebrews who regretted "the onions of Egypt", I have served you only too much for some time now these vegetables which make you cry when you bring them to your eyes without being cooked.
Now I dream of sharing with you “the hidden manna” (Revelation) that the Almighty has promised to give “to the overcomer”. It is only because it is hidden that this heavenly manna attracts you less than "the onions of Egypt", but I am sure, as soon as I am allowed to present you with a completely spiritual food, you will not you will no longer regret the one I would have given you if I had still remained on earth for a long time. Ah! your soul is too great to attach itself to any consolation here below. It is in the heavens that you must live beforehand, for it is said, "Where your treasure is, there is your heart also." Your only Treasure, is it not Jesus? Since He is in Heaven, that is where your heart must dwell, I am simply telling you, my dear little brother, it seems to me that it will be easier for you to live with Jesus when I am close to Him for Never.
You must know me only imperfectly to fear that a detailed account of your faults might diminish the tenderness I have for your soul! O my brother, believe me, I will not need to “put my hand on Jesus' mouth”! He has long since forgotten your infidelities, only your desires for perfection are present to rejoice his heart. I beg you, don't drag yourselves any longer at his feet, follow this "first momentum which carries you into his arms", that is your place, and I have noticed even more than in your other letters that you are forbidden to go to Heaven by any other way than that of your poor little sister.
I completely agree with you, "The divine Heart is more saddened by the thousand little indelicacies of its friends than by the faults, even serious ones, committed by people in the world" but, my dear little brother, it seems to me that it is only when his people, not noticing their continual indelicacy, make a habit of it and do not ask Him for forgiveness, that Jesus can say these touching words which are put into our mouths by the Church during Holy Week: " These wounds that you see in the middle of my hands are those that I received in the house of those who loved me!” For those who love him and who come after every indelicacy to ask him for forgiveness by throwing themselves into his arms, Jesus trembles with joy, he says to his angels what the father of the prodigal son said to his servants: "Put on him of her first robe, put a ring on her finger, let's rejoice." Ah! my brother, how little is known about the goodness, the merciful love of Jesus!... It is true that to enjoy these treasures, one must humble oneself, recognize one's nothingness, and that is what many souls do not want not do, but, my little brother, this is not how you act, so the path of simple and loving trust is well suited for you.
I would like you to be simple with the good Lord, but also... with me, are you surprised by my sentence? It is because, my dear little brother, you beg my pardon "for your indiscretion" which consists in wanting to know if in society your sister was called Geneviève; I find the request quite natural; to prove it to you I am going to give you details on my family because you were not very well informed.
The good Lord gave me a father and a mother more worthy of Heaven than of earth, they asked the Lord to give them many children and to take them for Him. This desire was granted, four little angels flew to Heaven, and the 5 children who remained in the arena took Jesus as their husband. It was with heroic courage that my father, like a new Abraham, climbed Mount Carmel three times to immolate to God what he held most dear. First it was his two eldest, then the third of his daughters on the advice of his director and led by our incomparable father made a trial in a convent of the Visitation (the good Lord was satisfied with the acceptance, later she returns to the world where she lives as being in the cloister). The chosen one of God only had two children left, one aged 18, the other 14, the latter, "little Thérèse" asked him to fly to Carmel, which she obtained without difficulty of her good father who pushed the condescension so far as to lead her first to Bayeux, then to Rome in order to remove the obstacles which delayed the immolation of the one he called his queen. When he had taken her to the port, he said to the only child left to him: "If you want to follow the example of your sisters, I consent to it, do not worry about me." The angel who was to support the old age of such a saint answered him that after his departure for Heaven, he would also fly to the cloister, which filled with joy the one who lived only for God alone. But such a beautiful life had to be crowned by a test worthy of it. Shortly after my departure, the father whom we so rightly cherished was seized with an attack of paralysis in his legs which repeated itself several times, but it could not settle there, the ordeal would have been too mild, for the heroic patriarch had offered himself to God as a victim, so the paralysis changing its course fixed itself in the venerable head of the victim whom the Lord had accepted... I do not have the space to give you touching details, I only want tell you that we had to drink the chalice to the dregs and separate ourselves for three years from our venerable father, entrusting him to religious but foreign hands. He accepted this ordeal, the humiliation of which he understood, and pushed his heroism to the point of not wanting anyone to ask for his cure.
A Dieu, my dear little brother, I hope to write to you again if the trembling of my hand does not increase, for I have been obliged to write my letter several times. - Your little Sister, not “Geneviève”, but “Thérèse” of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face.

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