I SHALL BE LOVE.......
my Beloved! this grace was only the prelude to the greatest graces You
wished to bestow upon me. Allow me, my only Love, to recall them to You today, today which is the sixth anniversary of our union. Ah! my Jesus, pardon me if I am unreasonable in wishing to express my desires and longings which reach even unto infinity. Pardon me and heal my soul by giving her what she longs for so much!
To be Your Spouse, to be a Carmelite, and by my union with You to be the Mother of souls, should not this suffice me? And yet it is not so. No doubt, these three privileges sum up my true vocation: Carmelite, Spouse, Mother, and yet I feel within me other vocations. I feel the vocation of THE WARRIOR, THE PRIEST, THE APOSTLE, THE DOCTOR, THE MARTYR. Finally, I feel the need and the desire of carrying out the most heroic deeds for You, 0 Jesus.
I feel within my soul the courage of the Crusader, the Papal Guard, and I
would want to die on the field of battle in defense of the Church. I feel
in me the vocation of the PRIEST. With what love, 0 Jesus, I would take
You in my hands when, at my voice, You would come down from heaven. And with what love would I give You to souls! But alas! while desiring to be
a Priest, I admire and envy the humility of St. Francis of Assisi and I
feel the vocation of imitating him in refusing the sublime dignity of the
Jesus, my Love, my Life, how can I combine, these contrasts? How can I realize
the desires of my poor little soul? Ah! in spite of my littleness, I would like
to enlighten souls as did the Prophets and the Doctors. I have the vocation of
the Apostle. I would like to travel over the whole earth to preach Your Name and
to plant Your glorious Cross on infidel soil. But 0 my Beloved, one mission
alone would not be sufficient for me, I would want to preach the Gospel on all
the five continents simultaneously and even to the most remote isles. I would be
a missionary, not for a few years only but from the beginning of creation until
the consummation of the ages. But above all, 0 my Beloved Savior, I would shed
my blood for You even to the very last drop.
Martyrdom was the dream of my youth and this dream has grown with me
within Carmel's cloisters. But here again, I feel that my dream is a
folly, for I cannot confine myself to desiring one kind of martyrdom. To
satisfy me I need all. Like You, my Adorable Spouse, I would be scourged
and crucified. I would die flayed like St. Bartholomew. I would be
plunged into boiling oil like St. John; I would undergo all the tortures
inflicted upon the martyrs.
St. Agnes and St. Cecelia, I would present my neck to the sword, and like Joan
of Arc, my dear sister, I would whisper at the stake Your Name, 0 JESUS. When
thinking of the torments which will be the lot of Christians at the time of
Anti-Christ, I feel my heart leap with joy and I would that these torments be
reserved for me. Jesus, Jesus, if I wanted to write all my desires, I would have
to borrow Your Book of Life, for in it are reported all the actions of all the
saints, and I would accomplish all of them for You.
0 my Jesus! what is your answer to all my follies? Is there a soul more
little, more powerless than mine? Nevertheless even because of my
weakness, it has pleased You, 0 Lord, to grant my little childish desires
and You desire, today, to grant other desires that are greater than the
During my meditation, my desires caused me a veritable martyrdom, and I
opened the Epistles of St. Paul to find some kind of answer. Chapters 12
and 13 of the First Epistle to the Corinthians fell under my eyes. I read
there, in the first of these chapters, that all cannot be apostles,
prophets, doctors, etc., that the Church is composed of different members,
and that the eye cannot be the hand at one and the same time. The answer
was clear, but it did not fulfill my desires and gave me no peace.
But just as Mary Magdalene found what she was seeking by always stooping down and looking into the empty tomb, so 1, abasing myself to the very depths of my nothingness, raised myself so high that I was able to attain my end.
becoming discouraged, I continued my reading, and this sentence
consoled me: "Yet strive after the better gifts, and I point out to you a
yet more excellent way." And the Apostle explains how all the most perfect
gifts are nothing without love. That Charity is the excellent way that
leads most surely to God.
I finally had rest. Considering the mystical body of the Church, I had
not recognized myself in any of the members described by St. Paul, or
rather I desired to see myself in them all. Charity gave me the key to my
I understood that if the Church had a body composed of different members,
the most necessary and most noble of all could not be lacking to it, and
so I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was
burning with love. I understood it was Love alone that made the Church's
members act, that if Love ever became extinct, apostles would not preach
the Gospel and martyrs would not shed their blood. I understood that Love
comprised all vocations, that Love was everything, that it embraced all
times and places...in a word, that it was eternal!
Then, in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out:
0 Jesus, my Love, my vocation, at last I have found it ... my vocation is Love! Yes, I have found my place in the Church and it is You, 0 my God. who have given me this place; in the heart of the Church, my Mother, I SHALL BE LOVE.
From St Therese of Lisieux's Story of A Soul
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