St. Thérèse and inspiration

God does not inspire us to do what cannot be done.

Attr. to St. Thérèse of Lisieux

The actual quotation is:

I know that Jesus cannot will needless suffering for us, and that He would not inspire me with the desires I feel if He were unwilling to fulfill them.

Story of a Soul, Chapter VIII.

The difference may look subtle, but it’s significant, especially if we look at the wider context of what the saint wrote:

Ah! since that day love penetrates me and surrounds me; this Merciful Love each moment renews and purifies me, leaving in my heart no trace of sin. No, I cannot fear Purgatory; I know that I do not merit even to enter with the Holy Souls into that place of expiation, but I know too that the fire of Love is more sanctifying than the fire of Purgatory, I know that Jesus cannot will needless suffering for us, and that He would not inspire me with the desires I feel if He were unwilling to fulfill them.

This isn’t a call to action, to get out there and do something (though there certainly is a place for that). This is a statement of faith that Jesus is wouldn’t call us and then turn away.