Chapter 11


It is not only when He is about to send me some trial that Our Lord
gives me warning and awakens my desire for it. For years I had
cherished a longing which seemed impossible of realisation–to have a
brother a Priest. I often used to think that if my little brothers had
not gone to Heaven, I should have had the happiness of seeing them at
the Altar. I greatly regretted being deprived of this joy. Yet God went
beyond my dream; I only asked for one brother who would remember me
each day at the Holy Altar, and He has united me in the bonds of
spiritual friendship with two of His apostles. I should like to tell
you, dear Mother, how Our Divine Master fulfilled my desire.

In 1895 our holy Mother, St. Teresa, sent my first brother as a gift
for my feast. It was washing day, and I was busy at my work, when
Mother Agnes of Jesus, then Prioress, called me aside and read me a
letter from a young Seminarist, in which he said he had been inspired
by St. Teresa to ask for a sister who would devote herself specially to
his salvation, and to the salvation of his future flock. He promised
always to remember this spiritual sister when saying Mass, and the
choice fell upon me. Dear Mother, I cannot tell you how happy this made
me. Such unlooked-for fulfillment of my desire awoke in my heart the
joy of a child; it carried me back to those early days, when pleasures
were so keen, that my heart seemed too small to contain them. Years had
passed since I had tasted a like happiness, so fresh, so unfamiliar, as
if forgotten chords had been stirred within me.

Fully aware of my obligations, I set to work, and strove to redouble my
fervour. Now and again I wrote to my new brother. Undoubtedly, it is by
prayer and sacrifice that we can help our missionaries, but sometimes,
when it pleases Our Lord to unite two souls for His Glory, He permits
them to communicate their thoughts, and thus inspire each other to love
God more. Of course an express command from those in authority is
needed for this, otherwise, it seems to me, that such a correspondence
would do more harm than good, if not to the missionary, at least to the
Carmelite, whose manner of life tends to continual introversion. This
exchange of letters, though rare, would occupy her mind uselessly;
instead of uniting her to God, she would perhaps fancy she was doing
wonders, when in reality, under cover of zeal, she was doing nothing
but producing needless distraction.–And here am I, launched, not upon
a distraction, but upon a dissertation equally superfluous. I shall
never be able to correct myself of these lengthy digressions which must
be so wearisome to you, dear Mother. Forgive me, should I offend again.

Last year, at the end of May, it was your turn to give me my second
brother, and when I represented that, having given all my merits to one
future apostle, I feared they could not be given to another, you told
me that obedience would double their value. In the depths of my heart I
thought the same thing, and, since the zeal of a Carmelite ought to
embrace the whole world, I hope, with God’s help, to be of use to even
more than two missionaries. I pray for all, not forgetting our Priests
at home, whose ministry is quite as difficult as that of the missionary
preaching to the heathen. . . . In a word, I wish to be a true daughter
of the Church, like our holy Mother St. Teresa, and pray for all the
intentions of Christ’s Vicar. That is the one great aim of my life. But
just as I should have had a special interest in my little brothers had
they lived, and that, without neglecting the general interests of the
Church, so now, I unite myself in a special way to the new brothers
whom Jesus has given me. All that I possess is theirs also. God is too
good to give by halves; He is so rich that He gives me all I ask for,
even though I do not lose myself in lengthy enumerations. As I have two
brothers and my little sisters, the novices, the days would be too
short were I to ask in detail for the needs of each soul, and I fear I
might forget something important. Simple souls cannot understand
complicated methods, and, as I am one of their number, Our Lord has
inspired me with a very simple way of fulfilling my obligations. One
day, after Holy Communion, He made me understand these words of the
Canticles: ”Draw me: we will run after Thee to the odour of Thy
ointments.” [130] O my Jesus, there is no need to say: ”In drawing me,
draw also the souls that I love”: these words, ”Draw me,” suffice. When
a soul has let herself be taken captive by the inebriating odour of Thy
perfumes, she cannot run alone; as a natural consequence of her
attraction towards Thee, the souls of all those she loves are drawn in
her train.

Just as a torrent carries into the depths of the sea all that it meets
on its way, so, my Jesus, does the soul who plunges into the shoreless
ocean of Thy Love bring with it all its treasures. My treasures are the
souls it has pleased thee to unite with mine; Thou hast confided them
to me, and therefore I do not fear to use Thy own words, uttered by
Thee on the last night that saw Thee still a traveller on this earth.
Jesus, my Beloved! I know not when my exile will have an end. Many a
night I may yet sing Thy Mercies here below, but for me also will come
the last night, and then I shall be able to say:

”I have glorified Thee upon earth: I have finished the work which Thou
gavest me to do. I have manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou hast
given me out of the world. Thine they were, and to me Thou gavest them;
and they have kept Thy word. Now they have known that all things which
Thou hast given me are from Thee: because the words which Thou gavest
me I have given to them; and they have received them, and have known
for certain that I came forth from Thee, and they have believed that
Thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for
them whom Thou hast given me, because they are Thine. And all mine are
Thine, and Thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no
more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy
Father, keep them in Thy name, whom Thou hast given me, that they may
be one, as we also are one. And now I come to Thee, and these things I
speak in the world, that they may have my joy filled in themselves. I
do not ask that Thou take them away out of the world, but that Thou
preserve them from evil. They are not of the world, as I also am not of
the world. And not for them only do I pray, but for those also who
through their word shall believe in me. Father, I will that where I am
they also whom Thou hast given me may be with me, that they may see my
glory which Thou hast given me, because Thou hast loved me before the
foundation of the world. And I have made known Thy name unto them, and
will make it known, that the love wherewith Thou hast loved me may be
in them and I in them.” [131]

Yea, Lord, thus would I repeat Thy words, before losing myself in Thy
loving embrace. Perhaps it is daring, but, for a long time, hast thou
not allowed me to be daring with Thee? Thou hast said to me, as the
Prodigal’s father to his elder son: ”All I have is thine.” [132] And
therefore I may use thy very own words to draw down favours from Our
Heavenly Father on all who are dear to me.

My God, Thou knowest that I have ever desired to love Thee alone. It
has been my only ambition. Thy love has gone before me, even from the
days of my childhood. It has grown with my growth, and now it is an
abyss whose depths I cannot fathom.

Love attracts love; mine darts towards Thee, and would fain make the
abyss brim over, but alas! it is not even as a dewdrop in the ocean. To
love Thee as Thou lovest me, I must make Thy Love mine own. Thus alone
can I find rest. O my Jesus, it seems to me that Thou couldst not have
overwhelmed a soul with more love than Thou hast poured out on mine,
and that is why I dare ask Thee to love those Thou hast given me, even
as Thou lovest me.

If, in Heaven, I find that thou lovest them more than Thou lovest me, I
shall rejoice, for I acknowledge that their deserts are greater than
mine, but now, I can conceive no love more vast than that with which
Thou hast favoured me, without any merit on my part.

. . . . . .

Dear Mother, what I have just written amazes me. I had no intention of
writing it. When I said: ”The words which Thou gavest me I have given
unto them,” I was thinking only of my little sisters in the noviciate.
I am not able to teach missionaries, and the words I wrote for them
were from the prayer of Our Lord: ”I do not ask that Thou shouldst take
them out of the world; I pray also for them who through their word
shall believe in Thee.”

How could I forget those souls they are to win by their sufferings and

But I have not told you all my thoughts on this passage of the Sacred
Canticles: ”Draw me–we will run!” Our Lord has said: ”No man can come
to Me except the Father Who hath sent Me, draw him,” [133] and later He
tells us that whosoever seeks shall find, whosoever asks shall receive,
that unto him that knocks it shall be opened, and He adds that whatever
we ask the Father in His Name shall be given us. It was no doubt for
this reason that, long before the birth of Our Lord, the Holy Spirit
dictated these prophetic words: ”Draw me–we will run!” By asking to be
drawn, we desire an intimate union with the object of our love. If iron
and fire were endowed with reason, and the iron could say: ”Draw me!”
would not that prove its desire to be identified with the fire to the
point of sharing its substance? Well, this is precisely my prayer. I
asked Jesus to draw me into the Fire of His love, and to unite me so
closely to Himself that He may live and act in me. I feel that the more
the fire of love consumes my heart, so much the more shall I say: ”Draw
me!” and the more also will souls who draw near me run swiftly in the
sweet odour of the Beloved.

Yes, they will run–we shall all run together, for souls that are on
fire can never be at rest. They may indeed, like St. Mary Magdalen, sit
at the feet of Jesus, listening to His sweet and burning words, but,
though they seem to give Him nothing, they give much more than Martha,
who busied herself about many things. It is not Martha’s work that Our
Lord blames, but her over-solicitude; His Blessed Mother humbly
occupied herself in the same kind of work when she prepared the meals
for the Holy Family. All the Saints have understood this, especially
those who have illumined the earth with the light of Christ’s teaching.
Was it not from prayer that St. Paul, St. Augustine, St. Thomas
Aquinas, St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa, and so many other friends
of God drew that wonderful science which has enthralled the loftiest

”Give me a lever and a fulcrum on which to lean it,” said Archimedes,
”and I will lift the world.”

What he could not obtain because his request had only a material end,
without reference to God, the Saints have obtained in all its fulness.
They lean on God Almighty’s power itself and their lever is the prayer
that inflames with love’s fire. With this lever they have raised the
world–with this lever the Saints of the Church Militant still raise
it, and will raise it to the end of time.

Dear Mother, I have still to tell you what I understand by the sweet
odour of the Beloved. As Our Lord is now in Heaven, I can only follow
Him by the footprints He has left–footprints full of life, full of
fragrance. I have only to open the Holy Gospels and at once I breathe
the perfume of Jesus, and then I know which way to run; and it is not
to the first place, but to the last, that I hasten. I leave the
Pharisee to go up, and full of confidence I repeat the humble prayer of
the Publican. Above all I follow Magdalen, for the amazing, rather I
should say, the loving audacity, that delights the Heart of Jesus, has
cast its spell upon mine. It is not because I have been preserved from
mortal sin that I lift up my heart to God in trust and love. I feel
that even had I on my conscience every crime one could commit, I should
lose nothing of my confidence: my heart broken with sorrow, I would
throw myself into the Arms of my Saviour. I know that He loves the
Prodigal Son, I have heard His words to St. Mary Magdalen, to the woman
taken in adultery, and to the woman of Samaria. No one could frighten
me, for I know what to believe concerning His Mercy and His Love. And I
know that all that multitude of sins would disappear in an instant,
even as a drop of water cast into a flaming furnace.

It is told in the Lives of the Fathers of the Desert how one of them
converted a public sinner, whose evil deeds were the scandal of the
whole country. This wicked woman, touched by grace, followed the Saint
into the desert, there to perform rigorous penance. But on the first
night of the journey, before even reaching the place of her retirement,
the bonds that bound her to earth were broken by the vehemence of her
loving sorrow. The holy man, at the same instant, saw her soul borne by
Angels to the Bosom of God.

This is a striking example of what I want to say, but these things
cannot be expressed. Dearest Mother, if weak and imperfect souls like
mine felt what I feel, none would despair of reaching the summit of the
Mountain of Love, since Jesus does not ask for great deeds, but only
for gratitude and self-surrender.

He says: ”I will not take the he-goats from out of the flocks, for all
the beasts of the forests are mine, the cattle on the hills and the
oxen. I know all the fowls of the air. If I were hungry, I would not
tell thee, for the world is Mine, and the fulness thereof. Shall I eat
the flesh of bullocks, or shall I drink the blood of goats? Offer to
God the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.” [134]

This is all Our Lord claims from us. He has need of our love–He has no
need of our works. The same God, Who declares that He has no need to
tell us if He be hungry, did not disdain to beg a little water from the
Samaritan woman. He was athirst, but when He said: ”Give me to drink,”
[135] He, the Creator of the Universe, asked for the love of His
creature. He thirsted for love.

And this thirst of Our Divine Lord was ever on the increase. Amongst
the disciples of the world, He meets with nothing but indifference and
ingratitude, and alas! among His own, how few hearts surrender
themselves without reserve to the infinite tenderness of His Love.
Happy are we who are privileged to understand the inmost secrets of Our
Divine Spouse. If you, dear Mother, would but set down in writing all
you know, what wonders could you not unfold!

But, like Our Blessed Lady, you prefer to keep all these things in your
heart. [136] To me you say that ”It is honourable to reveal and confess
the world of God.” [137] Yet you are right to keep silence, for no
earthly words can convey the secrets of Heaven.

As for me, in spite of all I have written, I have not as yet begun. I
see so many beautiful horizons, such infinitely varied tints, that the
palette of the Divine Painter will alone, after the darkness of this
life, be able to supply me with the colours wherewith I may portray the
wonders that my soul descries. Since, however, you have expressed a
desire to penetrate into the hidden sanctuary of my heart, and to have
in writing what was the most consoling dream of my life, I will end
this story of my soul, by an act of obedience. If you will allow me, it
is to Jesus I will address myself, for in this way I shall speak more
easily. You may find my expressions somewhat exaggerated, but I assure
you there is no exaggeration in my heart–there all is calm and peace.

O my Jesus, who can say how tenderly and gently Thou dost lead my soul!
The storm had raged there ever since Easter, the glorious feast of Thy
triumph, until, in the month of May, there shone through the darkness
of my night one bright ray of grace. . . . My mind dwelt on mysterious
dreams sent sometimes to Thy favoured ones, and I thought how such a
consolation was not to be mine–that for me, it was night, always the
dark night. And in the midst of the storm I fell asleep. The following
day, May 10, just at dawn, I dreamt that I was walking in a gallery
alone with Our Mother. Suddenly, without knowing how they had entered,
I perceived three Carmelites, in mantles and long veils, and I knew
that they came from Heaven. ”Ah!” I thought, ”how glad I should be if I
could but look on the face of one of these Carmelites!” And, as if my
wish had been heard, I saw the tallest of the three Saints advance
towards me. An inexpressible joy took possession of me as she raised
her veil, and then covered me with it.

At once I recognised our Venerable Mother, Anne of Jesus, foundress of
the Carmel in France. [138] Her face was beautiful with an unearthly
beauty; no rays came from it, and yet, in spite of the thick veil which
enveloped us, I could see it suffused by a soft light, which seemed to
emanate from her heavenly countenance. She caressed me tenderly, and
seeing myself the object of such affection, I made bold to say: ”Dear
Mother, I entreat you, tell me, will Our Lord leave me much longer in
this world? Will He not soon come to fetch me?” She smiled sweetly, and
answered, ”Yes, soon . . . very soon . . . I promise you.” ”Dear
Mother,” I asked again, ”tell me if He does not want more from me than
these poor little acts and desires that I offer Him. Is He pleased with
me?” Then our Venerable Mother’s face shone with a new splendour, and
her expression became still more gracious: ”The Good God asks no more
of you,” she said, ”He is pleased, quite pleased,” and, taking my head
between her hands, she kissed me so tenderly that it would be
impossible to describe the joy I felt. My heart was overflowing with
gladness, and, remembering my Sisters, I was about to beseech some
favour for them, when, alas! I awoke. My happiness was too great for
words. Many months have passed since I had this wonderful dream, and
yet its memory is as fresh and delightful as ever. I can still picture
the loving smiles of this holy Carmelite and feel her fond caresses. O
Jesus! ”Thou didst command the winds and the storm, and there came a
great calm.” [139]

On waking, I realised that Heaven does indeed exist, and that this
Heaven is peopled with souls who cherish me as their child, and this
impression still remains with me–all the sweeter, because, up to that
time, I had but little devotion to the Venerable Mother Anne of Jesus.
I had never sought her help, and but rarely heard her name. And now I
know and understand how constantly I was in her thoughts, and the
knowledge adds to my love for her and for all the dear ones in my
Father’s Home.

O my Beloved! this was but the prelude of graces yet greater which Thou
didst desire to heap upon me. Let me remind Thee of them to-day, and
forgive my folly if I venture to tell Thee once more of my hopes, and
my heart’s well nigh infinite longings–forgive me and grant my desire,
that it may be well with my soul. To be Thy Spouse, O my Jesus, to be a
daughter of Carmel, and by my union with Thee to be the mother of
souls, should not all this content me? And yet other vocations make
themselves felt–I feel called to the Priesthood and to the
Apostolate–I would be a Martyr, a Doctor of the Church. I should like
to accomplish the most heroic deeds–the spirit of the Crusader burns
within me, and I long to die on the field of battle in defence of Holy

The vocation of a Priest! With what love, my Jesus, would I bear Thee
in my hand, when my words brought Thee down from Heaven! With what love
would I give Thee to souls! And yet, while longing to be a Priest, I
admire and envy the humility of St. Francis of Assisi, and am drawn to
imitate him by refusing the sublime dignity of the Priesthood. How
reconcile these opposite tendencies? [140]

Like the Prophets and Doctors, I would be a light unto souls, I would
travel to every land to preach Thy name, O my Beloved, and raise on
heathen soil the glorious standard of Thy Cross. One mission alone
would not satisfy my longings. I would spread the Gospel to the ends of
the earth, even to the most distant isles. I would be a Missionary, not
for a few years only, but, were it possible, from the beginning of the
world till the consummation of time. Above all, I thirst for the
Martyr’s crown. It was the desire of my earliest days, and the desire
has deepened with the years passed in the Carmel’s narrow cell. But
this too is folly, since I do not sigh for one torment; I need them all
to slake my thirst. Like Thee, O Adorable Spouse, I would be scourged,
I would be crucified! I would be flayed like St. Bartholomew, plunged
into boiling oil like St. John, or, like St. Ignatius of Antioch,
ground by the teeth of wild beasts into a bread worthy of God. [141]

With St. Agnes and St. Cecilia I would offer my neck to the sword of
the executioner, and like Joan of Arc I would murmur the name of Jesus
at the stake.

My heart thrills at the thought of the frightful tortures Christians
are to suffer at the time of Anti-Christ, and I long to undergo them
all. Open, O Jesus, the Book of Life, in which are written the deeds of
Thy Saints: all the deeds told in that book I long to have accomplished
for Thee. To such folly as this what answer wilt Thou make? Is there on
the face of this earth a soul more feeble than mine? And yet, precisely
because I am feeble, it has delighted Thee to accede to my least and
most child-like desires, and to-day it is Thy good pleasure to realise
those other desires, more vast than the Universe. These aspirations
becoming a true martyrdom, I opened, one day, the Epistles of St. Paul
to seek relief in my sufferings. My eyes fell on the 12th and 13th
chapters of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. I read that all
cannot become Apostles, Prophets, and Doctors; that the Church is
composed of different members; that the eye cannot also be the hand.
The answer was clear, but it did not fulfill my desires, or give to me
the peace I sought. ”Then descending into the depths of my nothingness,
I was so lifted up that I reached my aim.” [142]

Without being discouraged I read on, and found comfort in this counsel:
”Be zealous for the better gifts. And I show unto you a yet more
excellent way.” [143] The Apostle then explains how all perfect gifts
are nothing without Love, that Charity is the most excellent way of
going surely to God. At last I had found rest.

Meditating on the mystical Body of Holy Church, I could not recognise
myself among any of its members as described by St. Paul, or was it not
rather that I wished to recognise myself in all? Charity provided me
with the key to my vocation. I understood that since the Church is a
body composed of different members, the noblest and most important of
all the organs would not be wanting. I knew that the Church has a
heart, that this heart burns with love, and that it is love alone which
gives life to its members. I knew that if this love were extinguished,
the Apostles would no longer preach the Gospel, and the Martyrs would
refuse to shed their blood. I understood that love embraces all
vocations, that it is all things, and that it reaches out through all
the ages, and to the uttermost limits of the earth, because it is

Then, beside myself with joy, I cried out: ”O Jesus, my Love, at last I
have found my vocation. My vocation is love! Yes, I have found my place
in the bosom of the Church, and this place, O my God, Thou hast Thyself
given to me: in the heart of the Church, my Mother, I will be LOVE! . .
. Thus I shall be all things: thus will my dream be realised. . . .”

Why do I say I am beside myself with joy? This does not convey my
thought. Rather is it peace which has become my portion–the calm peace
of the sailor when he catches sight of the beacon which lights him to
port. O luminous Beacon of Love! I know how to come even unto Thee, I
have found the means of borrowing Thy Fires.

I am but a weak and helpless child, yet it is my very weakness which
makes me dare to offer myself, O Jesus, as victim to Thy Love.

In olden days pure and spotless holocausts alone were acceptable to the
Omnipotent God. Nor could His Justice be appeased, save by the most
perfect sacrifices. But the law of fear has given place to the law of
love, and Love has chosen me, a weak and imperfect creature, as its
victim. Is not such a choice worthy of God’s Love? Yea, for in order
that Love may be fully satisfied, it must stoop even unto nothingness,
and must transform that nothingness into fire. O my God, I know
it–”Love is repaid by love alone.” [144] Therefore I have sought, I
have found, how to ease my heart, by rendering Thee love for love.

”Use the riches that make men unjust, to find you friends who may
receive you into everlasting dwellings.” [145] This, O Lord, is the
advice Thou gavest to Thy disciples after complaining that ”the
children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children
of light.” [146]

Child of light, as I am, I understood that my desires to be all things,
and to embrace all vocations, were riches that might well make me
unjust; so I set to work to use them for the making of friends. Mindful
of the prayer of Eliseus when he asked the Prophet Elias for his double
spirit, I presented myself before the company of the Angels and Saints
and addressed them thus: ”I am the least of all creatures. I know my
mean estate, but I know that noble and generous hearts love to do good.
Therefore, O Blessed Inhabitants of the Celestial City, I entreat you
to adopt me as your child. All the glory that you help me to acquire,
will be yours; only deign to hear my prayer, and obtain for me a double
portion of the love of God.”

O my God! I cannot measure the extent of my request, I should fear to
be crushed by the very weight of its audacity. My only excuse is my
claim to childhood, and that children do not grasp the full meaning of
their words. Yet if a father or mother were on the throne and possessed
vast treasures, they would not hesitate to grant the desires of those
little ones, more dear to them than life itself. To give them pleasure
they will stoop even unto folly.

Well, I am a child of Holy Church, and the Church is a Queen, because
she is now espoused to the Divine King of Kings. I ask not for riches
or glory, not even the glory of Heaven–that belongs by right to my
brothers the Angels and Saints, and my own glory shall be the radiance
that streams from the queenly brow of my Mother, the Church. Nay, I ask
for Love. To love Thee, Jesus, is now my only desire. Great deeds are
not for me; I cannot preach the Gospel or shed my blood. No matter! My
brothers work in my stead, and I, a little child, stay close to the
throne, and love Thee for all who are in the strife.

But how shall I show my love, since love proves itself by deeds? Well!
The little child will strew flowers . . . she will embrace the Divine
Throne with their fragrance, she will sing Love’s Canticle in silvery
tones. Yes, my Beloved, it is thus my short life shall be spent in Thy
sight. The only way I have of proving my love is to strew flowers
before Thee–that is to say, I will let no tiny sacrifice pass, no
look, no word. I wish to profit by the smallest actions, and to do them
for Love. I wish to suffer for Love’s sake, and for Love’s sake even to
rejoice: thus shall I strew flowers. Not one shall I find without
scattering its petals before Thee . . . and I will sing . . . I will
sing always, even if my roses must be gathered from amidst thorns; and
the longer and sharper the thorns, the sweeter shall be my song.

But of what avail to thee, my Jesus, are my flowers and my songs? I
know it well: this fragrant shower, these delicate petals of little
price, these songs of love from a poor little heart like mine, will
nevertheless be pleasing unto Thee. Trifles they are, but Thou wilt
smile on them. The Church Triumphant, stooping towards her child, will
gather up these scattered rose leaves, and, placing them in Thy Divine
Hands, there to acquire an infinite value, will shower them on the
Church Suffering to extinguish its flames, and on the Church Militant
to obtain its victory.

O my Jesus, I love Thee! I love my Mother, the Church; I bear in mind
that ”the least act of pure love is of more value to her than all other
works together.” [147]

But is this pure love really in my heart? Are not my boundless desires
but dreams–but foolishness? If this be so, I beseech Thee to enlighten
me; Thou knowest I seek but the truth. If my desires be rash, then
deliver me from them, and from this most grievous of all martyrdoms.
And yet I confess, if I reach not those heights to which my soul
aspires, this very martyrdom, this foolishness, will have been sweeter
to me than eternal bliss will be, unless by a miracle Thou shouldst
take from me all memory of the hopes I entertained upon earth. Jesus,
Jesus! If the mere desire of Thy Love awakens such delight, what will
it be to possess it, to enjoy it for ever?

How can a soul so imperfect as mine aspire to the plenitude of Love?
What is the key of this mystery? O my only Friend, why dost Thou not
reserve these infinite longings to lofty souls, to the eagles that soar
in the heights? Alas! I am but a poor little unfledged bird. I am not
an eagle, I have but the eagle’s eyes and heart! Yet, notwithstanding
my exceeding littleless, I dare to gaze upon the Divine Sun of Love,
and I burn to dart upwards unto Him! I would fly, I would imitate the
eagles; but all that I can do is to lift up my little wings–it is
beyond my feeble power to soar. What is to become of me? Must I die of
sorrow because of my helplessness? Oh, no! I will not even grieve. With
daring self-abandonment there will I remain until death, my gaze fixed
upon that Divine Sun. Nothing shall affright me, nor wind nor rain. And
should impenetrable clouds conceal the Orb of Love, and should I seem
to believe that beyond this life there is darkness only, that would be
the hour of perfect joy, the hour in which to push my confidence to its
uttermost bounds. I should not dare to detach my gaze, well knowing
that beyond the dark clouds the sweet Sun still shines.

So far, O my God, I understand Thy Love for me. But Thou knowest how
often I forget this, my only care. I stray from Thy side, and my
scarcely fledged wings become draggled in the muddy pools of earth;
then I lament ”like a young swallow,” [148] and my lament tells Thee
all, and I remember, O Infinite Mercy! that ”Thou didst not come to
call the just, but sinners.” [149]

Yet shouldst Thou still be deaf to the plaintive cries of Thy feeble
creature, shouldst Thou still be veiled, then I am content to remain
benumbed with cold, my wings bedraggled, and once more I rejoice in
this well-deserved suffering.

O Sun, my only Love, I am happy to feel myself so small, so frail in
Thy sunshine, and I am in peace . . . I know that all the eagles of Thy
Celestial Court have pity on me, they guard and defend me, they put to
flight the vultures–the demons that fain would devour me. I fear them
not, these demons, I am not destined to be their prey, but the prey of
the Divine Eagle.

O Eternal Word! O my Saviour! Thou art the Divine Eagle Whom I
love–Who lurest me. Thou Who, descending to this land of exile, didst
will to suffer and to die, in order to bear away the souls of men and
plunge them into the very heart of the Blessed Trinity–Love’s Eternal
Home! Thou Who, reascending into inaccessible light, dost still remain
concealed here in our vale of tears under the snow-white semblance of
the Host, and this, to nourish me with Thine own substance! O Jesus!
forgive me if I tell Thee that Thy Love reacheth even unto folly. And
in face of this folly, what wilt Thou, but that my heart leap up to
Thee? How could my trust have any limits?

I know that the Saints have made themselves as fools for Thy sake;
being ‘eagles,’ they have done great things. I am too little for great
things, and my folly it is to hope that Thy Love accepts me as victim;
my folly it is to count on the aid of Angels and Saints, in order that
I may fly unto Thee with thine own wings, O my Divine Eagle! For as
long a time as Thou willest I shall remain–my eyes fixed upon Thee. I
long to be allured by Thy Divine Eyes; I would become Love’s prey. I
have the hope that Thou wilt one day swoop down upon me, and, bearing
me away to the Source of all Love, Thou wilt plunge me at last into
that glowing abyss, that I may become for ever its happy Victim.

O Jesus! would that I could tell all little souls of Thine ineffable
condescension! I feel that if by any possibility Thou couldst find one
weaker than my own, Thou wouldst take delight in loading her with still
greater favours, provided that she abandoned herself with entire
confidence to Thine Infinite Mercy. But, O my Spouse, why these desires
of mine to make known the secrets of Thy Love? Is it not Thyself alone
Who hast taught them to me, and canst Thou not unveil them to others?
Yea! I know it, and this I implore Thee! . . .



[130] Cant. 1:3.

[131] Cf. John 17.

[132] Luke 15:31.

[133] John 6:44.

[134] Ps. 49[50]:9-14.

[135] John 4:7.

[136] Cf. Luke 2:19.

[137] Tob. 12:7.

[138] The Venerable Mother Anne of Jesus–in the world, Anne of
Lobera–was born in Spain in 1545. She entered the Carmelite Order in
1570, in the first convent of St. Joseph of Avila, and shortly
afterwards became the counsellor and coadjutor of St. Teresa, who
called her, ”her daughter and her crown.” St. John of the Cross, who
was her spiritual director for fourteen years, described her as ”a
seraph incarnate,” and her prudence and sanctity were held in such
esteem that the most learned men consulted her in their doubts, and
accepted her answers as oracles. She was always faithful to the spirit
of St. Teresa, and had received from Heaven the mission to restore the
Carmel to its primitive perfection. Having founded three convents of
the Reform in Spain, she established one in France, and another in
Belgium. She died in the odor of sanctity in the Carmel of Brussels on
March 4, 1621. On May 3, 1878, His Holiness Pope Leo XIII signed the
Decree introducing the Cause of her Beatification.

[139] Matt. 8:10.

[140] St. Francis of Assisi, out of humility, refused to accept the
sublime dignity of the Priesthood, and remained a Deacon until his
death. [Ed.]

[141] An allusion to the beautiful words of the martyr St. Ignatius of
Antioch, uttered when he heard the roar of the lions in the Roman
arena. ”I am the wheat of Christ; let me be ground by the teeth of the
wild beasts, that I may become clean bread.” [Ed.]

[142] St. John of the Cross.

[143] 1 Cor. 12:31.

[144] St. John of the Cross.

[145] Cf. Luke 16:9.

[146] Luke 16:8.

[147] St. John of the Cross.

[148] Isa. 38:14.

[149] Matt. 9:15.