The ideas presented here come from the dialogues Bro Marcel Van had with the Lord Jesus, with the Blessed Mother, and with St Therese of the Child Jesus (it is indicated who is speaking or sending the message) with whom he enjoyed spiritual conversations. Brother Marcel’s holy life did not rest on these conversations but rather on his deep love for God, his obedience to his will, and his commitment and service to others. He died as a “confessor of the faith” – one who lived his faith heroically in the midst of trials – in a North Vietnamese Communist prison where he strived to bring joy and faith to his companions, Catholic or not.

a. the priesthood: a central question for van

Therese: Today I know that you will be sad and very sad… That’s why I want to ask you for your consent before speaking. And now, do you promise not to be sad? It is on this condition that I will dare to speak.

Marcel: Sister, I promise you.

Therese: In that case, I’ll tell you. Van, my dear little brother, God has let me know that you will not be a priest. […] Van, wait a little before crying. I have not told you everything yet, little brother. Yes, to be a priest is not difficult; so I did not tell you that you could not become a priest. On the other hand, who could boast of being worthy of the priestly vocation? Therefore, if God wants your apostolate to be exercised in another state of life, what do you think? […] The priestly state is a sublime state, but it is impossible to embrace it outside the will of God. Before all, and above all else, the state of life that is first among all others is to conform to the will of our Heavenly Father.

Marcel: But why does not God choose me to be a priest?

Therese: Come on little brother, while not being a priest, you still have the soul of a priest, you lead a life of priest and the desires of apostolate that you proposed to realize in the priestly state, you will realize them just as if you were really a priest. […] Yes, firmly believe that your desire for the priesthood is very pleasing to God. And if he wants you not to be a priest, it is to introduce you into a hidden life where you will be an apostle by sacrifice and prayer, as I was formerly. […] Little brother, rejoice, and be happy to have been placed among the “Apostles of the Love of God” […] Can there be greater happiness than this one? ?

Therese: If you had been stronger than me, God would certainly have called you to enter a more austere order; but because you are very weak, he has chosen for you a congregation proportionate to your strength. The little Jesus is very wise, he is not easily mistaken like you.

Jesus:Marcel, you must understand that I am more yours than you are mine … With regard to your true Father in heaven, you are a little child; you still love him, you abandon yourself to him, you do his will, you conform to it in everything … However, Marcel, your Father loves you more than you love him; so he always seeks to know your tastes and your wishes to follow them immediately. If you examine the behavior of children towards their parents on the earth, you will see that it is so. It is therefore that the true Father of Heaven follows more the will of his children than he lets them follow his own will.

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