"I will spend my Heaven doing good on earth."
|Therese occupied herself with reading
and writing almost up to the end of her life. That event
loomed ever nearer as tuberculosis made a steady advance.
During the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday,
1896, she suffered a pulmonary haemorrhage. Although her
bodily and spiritual sufferings were extreme, she wrote
many letters, to members of her family and to distant
friends, as well as continuing <Histoire d'un ame>.
She carried on a correspondance with Carmelite sisters at
Hanoi, China; they wished her to come out and join them,
not realizing the seriousness of her ailment. She had a
great yearning to respond to their appeal. At intervals
moments of revelation came to her, and it was then that
she penned those succinct reflections that are now
repeated so widely. Here are three of them that give the
flavor of her mind: "I will spend my Heaven doing
good on earth." "I have never given the good
God aught but love, and it is with love that He will
repay." "My 'little way' is the way of
spiritual childhood, the way of trust and absolute
A further insight is given us in a letter Therese wrote, shortly before she died, to Pere Roulland, a missionary in China. "Sometimes, when I read spiritual treatises, in which perfection is shown with a thousand obstacles in the way and a host of illusions round about it, my poor little mind soon grows weary, I close the learned book, which leaves my head splitting and my heart parched, and I take the Holy Scriptures. Then all seems luminous, a single word opens up infinite horizons to my soul, perfection seems easy; I see that it is enough to realize one's nothingness, and give oneself wholly, like a child, into the arms of the good God. Leaving to great souls, great minds, the fine books I cannot understand, I rejoice to be little because 'only children, and those who are like them, will be admitted to the heavenly banquet."
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