Quote of the day: 5 September

After receiving Papa’s permission, I believed I’d be able to fly to Carmel without any fears, but painful trials were still to prove my vocation.

It was with trembling I confided my resolution to Uncle. He showed me great tenderness but did not grant me his permission to leave. He forbade me to speak about my vocation to him until I was seventeen.

It was contrary to human prudence, he said, to have a child of fifteen enter Carmel. This Carmelite life was, in the eyes of many, a life of mature reflection, and it would be doing a great wrong to the religious life to allow an inexperienced child to embrace it. Everybody would be talking about it, etc., etc. He even said that for him to decide to allow me to leave would require a miracle.

I saw all reasoning with him was useless and so I left, my heart plunged into the most profound bitterness. My only consolation was prayer. I begged Jesus to perform the miracle demanded, since at this price only I’d be able to answer His call.

A long time passed by before I dared speak to him again. It was very difficult for me to go to his home, and he himself seemed to be no longer considering my vocation. I learned later on that my great sadness influenced him very much.

Before allowing any ray of hope to shine in my soul, God willed to send me a painful martyrdom lasting three days. Oh! never had I understood so well as during this trial, the sorrow of Mary and Joseph during their three-day search for the divine Child Jesus.

I was in a sad desert, or rather my soul was like a fragile boat delivered up to the mercy of the waves and having no pilot. I knew Jesus was there sleeping in my boat, but the night was so black it was impossible to see Him; nothing gave me any light, not a single flash came to break the dark clouds. No doubt, lightning is a dismal light, but at least if the storm had broken out in earnest I would have been able to see Jesus for one passing moment.

But it was night! The dark night of the soul! I felt I was all alone in the garden of Gethsemane like Jesus, and I found no consolation on earth or from heaven; God Himself seemed to have abandoned me.

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus

Manuscript A, folios 50v–51r

Literally: “It was night! The deep night of the soul! Like Jesus in the garden of agony, I felt alone”

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