Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Dieu, but Not Farwell - St. Therese's Promise to Pray for Her Priest in Death

Therese wanted to be sure that Maurice was not left without a proper good-bye. The indications of death were by now undeniable: “I can tell you with assurance that the Spouse is at the door."  By the time Thérèse wrote this letter to Maurice, she had reached the summit of her mysticism. From the mountaintop she saw the landscape as a whole and was sure of what she said to him. This time, with a clarity which left no doubt, she solemnized her promise to him, knowing that it was no empty wish but something which God would bring to fulfillment.


July 13, 1897

My dear little Brother,

Maybe when you read this little word I shall no longer be on earth but in the land of eternal happiness! I don’t know the future, but I can tell you with assurance that the Spouse is at the door. It would take a miracle to keep me in this land of exile, and I don’t think Jesus is about to work this useless miracle.

O my dear little brother, how happy I am to die! Yes, I am happy, not to be delivered from the sufferings of here below (quite the opposite, suffering joined to love is the only thing that seems to me desirable in this valley of tears). I’m happy to die because I feel that it’s God’s Will, and because I shall be much more useful than I am now to souls who are dear to me, to yours very specially.

In your last letter to our Mother you asked that I write you often during your vacation.  If the Lord still wants to prolong my pilgrimage for a few weeks, and if our good Mother gives permission, I shall still be able to scribble you a few little notes like this one, but what’s more likely is that I shall be doing more than writing to my dear little brother, more indeed than speaking to him in the tedious language of earth: I shall be very near to him, I shall see everything he needs, and I shall give God no rest until He grants me everything I want! … When my dear little brother leaves for Africa, I shall follow him not only in thought and in prayer; my soul will be with him forever, and his faith will know very well how to discover the presence of a little sister whom Jesus gave him, to be a support to him, not for a mere two years but until the last day of his life.

All these promises, my brother, seem a little fanciful to you perhaps, but you have to start realizing that the good God has always treated me like a spoiled child. It is true that His Cross has followed me from the cradle, but Jesus made me love that Cross with a passion. He has always made me desire whatever He wanted to give me. Will He begin, then, to fulfill those desires no longer once I am in heaven? I just can’t believe that, and I say to you: “Soon, little brother, I shall be near you.

Ah! I earnestly beg you to pray hard for me. I need prayers so much right now. But above all pray for our Mother. She would love to keep me here below for a good while yet, and to obtain that, this kind Mother has had a novena of Masses offered for me to Our Lady of Victories, who once cured me in my childhood. But feeling that the miracle wasn’t going to happen, I have asked and obtained from the Holy Virgin that she console my Mother’s heart, or rather that she make her agree that Jesus should carry me off to Heaven.

À Dieu little brother until we meet in Heaven soon.
Th. de l’Enf. de la S.F.
rel. carm.
[Thérèse of the Infant and of the Holy Face
Carmelite Religious]”

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