Thérèse made her First Communion on 8 May 1884, at the age of 11 years and 4 months. She suffered a lot from the waiting period that was imposed on her; she couldn’t understand this law, which seemed so severe to her, of being delayed by a year, because she was born, she said, two days too late.
One day, we met Bishop Hugonin, who was on his way to the train station: “Oh, Marie,” she said, “do you want me to run and ask him for permission to make my First Communion?” I had great difficulty in holding her back. When I told her that in the early days of Christianity, very small children received the Holy Eucharist after their baptism, she showed great admiration: “Why then,” she said to me, “isn’t it like that anymore?”
At Christmas, seeing us go to midnight Mass and her staying at home because she was too small, she would say to me again, “If you wanted to take me, I would go to Communion too, I would slip in among the others, they wouldn’t notice it. Could I do that?” And she was very sad when I told her that it was impossible.
She prepared for her First Communion with extraordinary fervor, doing many acts of virtue every day, which she marked in a special little book. I also gave her a little page on renunciation, which she meditated on with delight. You could feel that her soul was longing with all its strength to be united with Jesus; so, on the day of her First Communion, it seemed to me that she was an angel rather than a mortal creature.
During her second Communion retreat, Therese was plagued by scruples. It was especially on the eve of her confessions that they increased. She would come and tell me about all her alleged sins. I tried to cure her by telling her that I took her sins upon myself, which were not even imperfections, and I only allowed her to mention two or three of them. She was so obedient that she followed my advice to the letter.
Here is what she wrote on this subject:
Marie “was indispensable to me, so to speak. I told my scruples only to her and was so obedient that my confessor never knew my ugly malady. I told him just the number of sins Marie permitted me to confess, not one more, and could pass as being the least scrupulous soul on earth in spite of the fact that I was scrupulous to the highest degree” (Ms A 41v).
She was delivered from her troubles through prayer; it was to her brothers and sisters who had preceded her to heaven that she addressed herself, and soon peace came to flood her soul again.
Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart, O.C.D. (Marie Martin)
Ordinary Process, Witness 3
Response to the Fourteenth Question (excerpt)
Translation from the French text is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.