“I went down into the garden of nut-trees to see the fruits of the valleys, and to look if the vineyard has flourished, and the pomegranates were in bud. I know longer knew where I was: my soul was troubled because of the chariots of Aminadab” (Canticle of Canticles 6:10-11).
There is the true picture of our souls. Often we go down into the fertile valleys where our heart loves to find its nourishment.
And the vast fields of Holy Scripture, which have so often opened to yield us richest treasures, now seem but an arid and waterless waste.
We no longer even know where we stand. In place of peace and light, all is sorrow and darkness.
But, like the Spouse in the Canticles, we know the cause of this trial: “My soul was troubled because of the chariots of Aminadab.”
We are not as yet in our true country, and as gold is tried in the fire so must our souls be purified by temptation. We sometimes think we are abandoned.
Alas! The chariots – that is to say, the idle clamours which beset and disturb us – are they within the soul or without?
We cannot tell, but Jesus knows; He sees all our grief, and in the night, on a sudden, His Voice is heard: “Return, return, O Sulamites: return, return, that we may behold thee.”
[...] Jesus calls us that He may look upon us at leisure. He wills to see us; He comes, and with Him come the other two Persons of the Adorable Trinity to take possession of our soul.
Our Lord had promised this, when, with unspeakable tenderness, He had said of old: “If anyone love Me he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him.”
To keep the word of Jesus, then, is the one condition of our happiness, the proof of our love for Him; and this word seems to me to be His very Self, for He calls Himself the Uncreated Word of the Father.
In the Gospel of St. John He makes the sublime prayer: “Sanctify them by Thy word, Thy word is truth.” And in another passage Jesus teaches us that He is “the Way and the Truth and the Life.”
We know, then, what is this word which must be kept; we cannot say, like Pilate: “What is truth?” We possess the Truth, for our Beloved dwells in our hearts.
Often this Beloved is to us a bundle of myrrh. We share the chalice of His sufferings; but how sweet it will be to us one day to hear these gentle words:
“You are they who have continued with Me in My temptations, and I dispose to you, as My Father hath disposed to Me, a kingdom.”
Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1873-1897): Letters of Saint Thérèse to Her Sister Celine, 18.