Meaning isn’t something created by our hands or even something our eyes can gleefully find. No. Meaning is a revelation known within the heart via love. How does this revelation occur? The answer to that lies in
the bareness of the Cross.
Jesus gave us the Cross so the Cross might give us Love
L 106 To Madame de Bobet
[February 10, 1902]
Dijon Carmel, February 10
J. M. + J. T.
Very dear Madame,
I don’t know how to thank you, you have spoiled me so much; if you knew how much pleasure you have given me! I so desired this beautiful Canticle of Saint John of the Cross, and, given by you with this pretty thought on its first page,* it is doubly precious to me. It is right here beside me on my little board in our dear little cell; but will I tell you that I need to look at it in order to think of you, dear Madame?
Oh no, of course not, for my thoughts and my heart, or rather my soul, find you in the One near whom there is neither separation nor distance and in whom it is so good to meet. Would you like Him to be our “Rendez-vous,” our Meeting Place, dear Madame? Our souls have certainly made an impact on each other: we know each other very little and we love each other so much. Oh! it is Jesus who has done that; may He thus bind us together and may He consume us in the flames of His love.
A Dieu, dear Madame, know that behind the grilles of Carmel you have a little heart that keeps a very faithful memory of you, a soul wholly united to yours and deeply fond of you. Thank you again. I don’t know how to say it, it is He who will bring it to you on behalf of His little fiancée.
Elizabeth of the Trinity
A kiss to dear little Simone.
*The book Vie et oeuvres de saint Jean de la Croix, vol. 4, Le Cantique spirituel et La vive Flamme d’amour [Life and Works of Saint John of the Cross, vol. 4, The Spiritual Canticle and The Living Flame of Love], 1892, 3d ed., autographed on February 3, 1902, by Mme. de Bobet, carries this thought: “Jesus gave us the Cross so the Cross might give us Love.” Simone was Mme. de Bobet’s daughter.
The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel
Jesus asked her what she wanted, and she said, “When you come into your kingdom, please let one of my sons sit at your right side and the other at your left.”
Jesus answered, “Not one of you knows what you are asking. Are you able to drink from the cup that I must soon drink from?”
James and John said, “Yes, we are!”
Jesus replied, “You certainly will drink from my cup! But it isn’t for me to say who will sit at my right side and at my left. That is for my Father to say.”
“[I]t should be understood that people ought not rejoice except in walking along the path that leads to life and in doing works with charity. What profit is there in anything that is not the love of God, and what value has it in God’s sight?”
Ascent of Mount Carmel III:30
O St. John of the Cross
You were endowed by our Lord with the spirit of self-denial
and a love of the cross.
Obtain for us the grace to follow your example
that we may come to the eternal vision of the glory of God.
O Saint of Christ’s redeeming cross
the road of life is dark and long.
Teach us always to be resigned to God’s holy will
in all the circumstances of our lives
and grant us the special favor
which we now ask of thee
(mention your request).
Above all, obtain for us the grace of final perseverance,
a holy and happy death and everlasting life with you
and all the saints in heaven.
Lady of the mystic mountain,
where the Lord has set His throne,
up its steep way to the Spirit,
none can walk save love alone.
Grant us grace to climb Mount Carmel
and to learn that love is loss.
Guide us still our ways outdistance
all earth’s treasures save the cross.