Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pentecost 1883, Our Lady's smile

One Sunday, during the novena (Whit Sunday, 1883), Marie went into the garden, leaving me with Leonie, who was reading near the window. After a few minutes, I began to call softly: "Marie! Marie!" Leonie, accustomed to hear me moan like that, paid no attention, so I called louder, until Marie came back to me. I saw her come into the room quite well, but, at first, I did not recognize her. I looked around myself. I glanced anxiously into the garden, still calling: "Marie! Marie!"

What unutterable anguish that forceful struggle was, and Marie perhaps suffered even more than her poor little Therese. Finally, after vain efforts to make me recognize her, she whispered a few words to Leonie, and went away pale and trembling.

Soon my dear Leonie carried me to the window. There I saw the garden, but still I did not recognize Marie, who walked slowly, held out her arms, smiling at me, and calling me tenderly: "Therese, dear little Therese!" That last attempt failed again, my dear sister came in again and knelt at the foot of my bed in tears. She turned towards the statue of Our Lady, and pleaded her with the fervor of a mother who begs for her child's life. Leonie and Celine joined Marie in prayer, and that cry of faith forced open the gates of Heaven.

I too turned to my Heavenly Mother, finding no relief on earth and nearly dead with pain, begging Our Lady from the bottom of my heart to have pity on me.
 Suddenly, the statue came to life! The Virgin became very beautiful, so divinely beautiful that I shall never find words to describe her. The expression of Our Lady's face radiated an ineffable gentleness, goodness, and tenderness, but what touched me to the very depths of my soul was her gracious smile. Then, all my pain vanished; two big tears welled up in my eyes and flowed silently.

Ah, they were indeed tears of unmixed heavenly joy. "Our Blessed Lady has come to me, she has smiled at me. How happy I am, but I shall tell no one, or my happiness might disappear!" Such were my thoughts. Then, without any effort, I lowered my eyes, and I recognized my darling Marie. She looked lovingly at me, seemed very agitated, and she appeared as if she doubted the grace that I had just received.

Ah, indeed thanks to her prayers I had received the most unfathomable favor - a smile from the Blessed Virgin! Seeing my eyes fixed on the statue, she said to herself: "Therese is cured!" Yes, it was true. The Little Flower had come back to life again - a bright ray from Our Lady's glorious Sun had warmed and set her free forever from her cruel enemy. "The dark winter is past, the rain is over and gone," and the Virgin Mary's Little Flower became so strong that five years later she opened wide her petals on the fertile mountain of Carmel.
(Story of the Soul, ch. 3)

 credit: after A Moment with Mary