Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Spiritual Roses from Story of a Soul - Venerable Anne of Jesus

Welcome to my series featuring excerpts from the book that started it all - Story of a Soul. I'm calling the series Spiritual Roses from Story of a Soul and I hope that you will visit here every day for an inspirational message from our dear little saint.

"O Jesus, my Beloved, who could express the tenderness and sweetness with which You are guiding my soul! It pleases You to cause the rays of Your grace to shine through even in the midst of the darkest storm! Jesus, the storm was raging very strongly in my soul ever since the beautiful feast of Your victory, the radiant feast of Easter; one Saturday in the month of May, thinking of the mysterious dreams which are granted at time to certain souls, I said of myself that these dreams must be a very sweet consolation, and yet I wasn't asking for such a consolation. In the evening, considering the clouds which were covering her heaven, my little soul said again within herself that these beautiful dreams were not for her. And then she fell asleep in the midst of the storm. The next day was May 10, the second SUNDAY of Mary's month, and perhaps the anniversary of the day when the Blessed Virgin deigned to smile upon her little flower.

At the first glimmerings of dawn I was (in a dream) in a kind of gallery and there were several other persons, but they were at a distance. Our Mother was alone near me. Suddenly, without seeing how they had entered, I saw three Carmelites dressed in their mantles and long veils. It appeared to me that they were coming for our Mother, but what I did understand clearly was that they came from heaven. In the depths of my heart I cried out: 'Oh! how happy I would be if I could see the face of one of these Carmelites!' Then, as though my prayer were heard by her, the tallest of the saints advanced toward me; immediately I fell to my knees. Oh! what happiness! the Carmelite raised her veil or rather she raised it and covered me with it. Without the least hesitation, I recognized Venerable Anne of Jesus, Foundress of Carmel in France. Her face was beautiful but with an immaterial beauty. No ray escaped from it and still, in spite of the veil which covered us both, I saw this heavenly face suffused with an unspeakably gentle light, a light it didn't receive from without but was produced from within.

I cannot express the joy of my soul since these things are experienced but cannot be put into words. Several months have passed since this sweet dream, and yet the memory it has left in my soul has lost nothing of its freshness and heavenly charms. I still see Venerable Mother's glance and smile which was FILLED with LOVE. I believe I can still feel the caresses she gave me at this time.

Seeing myself so tenderly loved, I dared to pronounce these words: 'Oh Mother! I beg you, tell me whether God will leave me for a long time on earth. Will He come soon to get me?' Smiling tenderly, the saint whispered: 'Yes, soon, soon, I promise you.' I added: 'Mother, tell me further if God is not asking something more of me than my poor little actions and desires. Is He content with me?' The saint's face took on an expression incomparably more tender than the first time she spoke to me. 'God asks no other thing from you. He is content, very content!' After again embracing me with more love than the tenderest of mothers has ever given to her child, I saw her leave. My heart was filled with joy, and then I remembered my Sisters, and I wanted to ask her some favors for them, but alas, I awoke!

O Jesus, the storm was no longer raging, heaven was calm and serene. I believed, I felt there was a heaven and that this heaven is peopled with souls who actually love me, who consider me their child. This impression remains in my heart, and this all the more because I was, up until then, absolutely indifferent to Venerable Mother Anne of Jesus. I never invoked her in prayer and the thought of her never came to my mind except when I heard others speak of her, which was seldom. And when I understood to what a degree she loved me, how indifferent I had been toward her, my heart was filled with love and gratitude, not only for the Saint who had visited me but for all the blessed inhabitants of heaven."

Excerpted from Story of a Soul, ICS Publications, Third Edition, page 190. This book and many others along with a line of holy cards and photos of St. Therese imported from her monastery in Lisieux can be found at my webstore The Little Way.

St. Therese, open our hearts to your little way. Teach us to throw ourselves into the arms of Our Lord, casting away all doubt and fear and accepting all that He sends us as graces for the salvation of our souls.

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