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.

5.2 link between love and suffering

Thérèse: During this day, accept the sadness for the sake of Jesus. He waits tomorrow to talk to you … So you can rest, and, if you feel disgust, dear little brother, accept this sacrifice with good heart and offer it to console love.

Marcel: So now, I do not want to suffer anymore. What are you answering to this?

Jesus: Good. Not wanting to suffer is very easy, but unfortunately your will no longer belongs to you; the only right you have left is to use my will, as I myself have the right to use yours. You say you do not want to suffer anymore; in speaking thus, you are already using my will, since I never want to see you suffer. But on the other hand, since you want to prove to me your love, then you have to suffer … Oh! Little brother, impossible for you to escape Love. That’s why I told you before, “It’s only out of love that I have to allow you to endure the suffering.”

Jesus had just affirmed:

Jesus: Why did your brothers and sisters, the saints, have to suffer? Why yourself and other souls who love me with you too to suffer? It is not from my will that your sufferings come, but from yours who wishes to prove to me his love. But I know that only suffering is proof of love. Therefore by condescension I send you suffering, so that you have something to testify your love to your true Heavenly Father

Other passages complete this idea:

Jesus: O Marcel, since you wish to prove your love to me, I must seek a way to satisfy your desire; but there is none better than inner sufferings.

Jesus:Oh! My beloved friend, I see you are very sad … Do you know the cause of this sadness, O my spouse? Nothing but love that burns you. […] It is therefore that with my spouses who love me with a sincere heart I practice this kind of forgetfulness to experience the strength of their love, as do the people of the world.

Marcel: Little Jesus, you talk to me about suffering at all times; I do not like that at all. What can I not please you without having to suffer!

Jesus: There is no better way than this one. Even if you do not like it, you have to like it anyway. In any case, to prove to me your love, you must accept suffering.

Jesus: At this moment, do you know how I answer sinners? Calmed by the words of my spouses, words of love that resound in my ears, instead of responding to sinners with threats of punishment, I answer them with sweetness and love. And the graces I give them are precisely the graces sent by my spouses that I have accumulated in my heart. As for the wound inflicted upon me by sinners, each of my spouses receives its small share; some of them I send external sufferings to others, interior sorrows, etc. When I have sent to a spouse interior sorrows, it is a sign that she has a greater love for me. My little child, did you understand? When I send you inner or outer sufferings, accept them with joy. Do not be sad about having to endure the sadness.

Jesus: O my dear little friend, knowing how to accept sadness and disgust from my hand to make them fruitful, as it pleases me and how much it benefits souls. The only thing that saddens me is that many of my spouses are content to accept the suffering heartily but refuse to make it bear fruit. Once they have accepted it, they abandon it somewhere without taking care of it; or if they still think of making me happy, it is only when they enjoy my presence.

Jesus: My child, this is just a slight inner pain. Wanting to grant a sinner the grace to convert easily, I took away all his hesitations by charging you to suffer in his place. If you had not accepted, it would have been a long time before this sinner came back to me. All I ask you to save souls is that you accept small sacrifices of this kind.

Jesus: O my little spouse of my love, will you lead a great number of souls to my love? Do not forget that it will be at the cost of great suffering. I chose you to be the mother of souls; it is through suffering that the mother manages to turn her children into valuable people

Jesus: The tears of love that you now shed and the tears that you will shed in the time of the trial, I will collect them and put them in reserve to reveal them only in the day of our eternal union in love. It is then that we will contemplate together all the beauty … My child! For the souls who love me, not one of their tears is poured in pure loss.