From a letter Sister Thérèse carried on her heart on the day of her profession, 8 September 1890:
Basilica of St Thérèse in Lisieux
~ St Thérèse of Lisieux, Story of a Soul (translated by John Clarke OCD, p275) ~
The First Movement of the Dance with God
Let me be your dance master for a while! The first movement is forgiveness. It’s a very difficult movement. But, then, all beginnings are difficult, and there is so much forgiving to do. We have to forgive our parents for not being able to give us unconditional love, our brothers and sisters for not giving us the support we dreamt about, our friends for not being there for us when we expected them. We have to forgive our church and civil leaders for their ambitions and manipulations. Beyond all that, we have to forgive all those who torture, kill, rape, destroy – who make this world such a dark place. And we, ourselves, also have to beg forgiveness. The older we become, the more clearly we see that we, too, have wounded others deeply, and are part of a society of violence and destruction. It is very difficult to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. But, without this, we remain fettered to our past – unable to dance... Forgiveness enables us to take the first step of the dance.
~ Henri J. M. Nouwen, The only necessary thing: living a prayerful life, compiled and edited by Wendy Wilson Greer ~
Fr Henri J.M. Nouwen (1932 – 1996) ending a talk on The Life of the Beloved.