The Return To God
By all means enjoy this happiness that Jesus Christ has given
you; this comes as a result of your return to the arms of the good Father, after the
degradation and bitterness that comes as a result of sin; it is the feast He always gives
to his poor, poor repentant children.
So long as it lasts don't worry about the future. What you have
read is unfortunately true but I repeat you must not think at the present moment about
what grace has reserved for you. On feast days we do not think about ordinary day life,
nor do we sadden our thoughts with the vision of the work and anguish of ferial days. In
springtime we do not think of the winter. If there are flowers we look at the flowers, if
there is snow we look at the snow. You will cope with the trial when it comes. Now God
wants you to experience all the sweetness of his company and all the happiness there is in
You tell me that the tears you shed for your sins and for the
sufferings of Jesus gives you joy and you cannot understand how anyone can think of them
without tears and a gentle feeling of compassion. Indeed if the aridities announced in
books make you sad, you cannot believe that you will ever be so insensible as to
My daughter, you will know what the future is like when it comes
and you will see that it is just as possible as the present time. Right now enjoy and
thank Jesus for his caresses.
Drink in the milk and honey, declaring that you will never again
It is very profitable to establish a programme of prayer, action
and religious practices in the first years of devout life.
You can draw it up together with your Confessor explaining to him
the family requirements and your duties. Devotion must not become an obstacle for your
domestic occupations. You will dedicate your free time to God.
All prayers are good. Apart from the Rosary I have no preference
for any formula of vocal prayer. Choose some prayers that are to your taste or that please
your religious sense and recite them methodically. Whilst you are in this state of fervour
I do not think it opportune to do the daily examination of conscience, nor is it
necessary. At the beginning of divine love there is no anxiety; it is enough to feel
anxiety before confession.
Any priest can give direction to the new lovers of God just as
any arm is suitable and sufficient to carry a tranquil and smiling child; it is the
turbulent children who require a maternal arm that is more skilful and patient.
It is therefore not yet a question of choice. So you can be
satisfied with your present guide.
Discretion In Zeal
You are right. Defects and sins are too horrible. To
your freshly revived eyes, purified by tears of penance, offences to God are insufferable,
but I beg you to moderate your zeal. It is not for you to act as a judge or teacher for
others, especially with adults and those with more experience than yourself.
You can speak to all of God's goodness and of the joy of finding
him again, but at the right time and in the right place and if you see that your
exhortations are not accepted it is better to keep quiet. Above all, don't look as if you
approved of evil whatever you do and don't make passionate reproaches.
Imitate the example of Jesus who is kind and patient. He sees
everything, hears everything and keeps silent about everything. Did He not keep silent
with you also for many years?
You cannot understand how they can offend so good a God. Take a
look at your past life and you will easily understand.
I sympathize with your astonishment, my son. When your eyes open
to the light all of a sudden they are dazzled and it is not possible to see clearly even
ourselves. But you will get used to this beautiful sun and you will see the others as well
Moderation With Penances
You don't feel mortifications and you would like to make a great
many, but you must go carefully and follow the advice of your Confessor.
You say you cannot agree with so much restraint from your guide,
as if the saints had not done long and hard penances.
With your spiritual enthusiasm and the exuberance of grace, you
think you can imitate the examples of penance that the Church points out for our
admiration, but believe me if you continue you will not be able to resist. In the height
of fervour you do not feel the suffering and it seems as if the body does not suffer
damage, even if you exaggerate, but in reality it suffers damage, and before long you
Perhaps our Lord will grant you the grace as He has done for some
chosen people to live and thrive on martyrdom and to feel a gentle joy in suffering; but
you must not expect it and much less must you think you actually have it.
Therefore be docile.
Because the Church is divine and also very prudent. It imposes
fasting only at the age of twenty one; and this is so that the tender age is not injured
by deprivation. And you want to wear yourself out so young?
I would like you to not fast for the time being, but would be
happy to know you are always strong in resisting snacks between meals. This mortification
does not damage your health and serves to make you exercise patience.
Let us not even mention hair-shirts, etc. Perhaps the time will
come. When? I will not say so as not to sadden your haste.
If you wish to sanctify yourself quickly begin by not wanting
what you want, but what obedience wants.
Moderation In The Desire To Love
To have too much desire to love and to want too much to feel love
are obstacles to feeling and enjoying love. You are like a child who, out of greed, not
only does not taste the food but runs the risk of suffocating and I correct you, spiritual
child, for this craving which you have mentioned to me. The one who runs gets tired, while
the one who walks with regularity goes a long way.
Our Lord does not like disorder or haste. He lives in peace and
Too much reading is a hindrance, therefore I disapprove of your
reading whole volumes in a few days. You must read to meditate and by meditating feed your
Put aside works of deep mysticism, because the time to read them
is not yet ripe. Content yourself for the moment with Preparation for Death by
Saint Alfonso dei Liguori (1696-1787), and The Way to Paradise (probably The
Ladder to Paradise by Saint John Climacus, +649) and similar books.
No hair-shirts, just put one round your head, that is round your
own good sense.
The Steps Of The Spiritual Path
Until the little birds have full-grown wings, they look at the
horizon from the tree-tops and they prudently stay still and quiet in their nests, content
with the maternal care and protection.
You want to fly like the Saints? If you knew, my daughter, how
far the Saints had to go to walk, suffer and languish before rising to those sublime
heights that you have read about!
Enjoy calmly this gentle new grace and do not bother to aspire
for higher gifts. After milk comes bread, then the fast, after the difficulties and the
anguish of the desert and finally you will be able to hope for the exuberant delights of
the promised land. I say "hope," because it is not certain that God wants to
give in this life the sublime joys of his love to all those who have served Him
faithfully; often after the trials are over, He crowns his chosen ones straight away in
Paradise, without giving them the expected joys on earth.
The grace of new fervour brings with it love of isolation and
withdrawal from company. This tendency therefore does not surprise me and I encourage you
to love solitude, mother of recollection; nevertheless excesses must be avoided at all
costs. There are those who urged by an interior inspiration isolate themselves too much
and almost show with their singularity a sort of disapproval of the conduct of others; and
there are those who for fear of appearing singular and being criticized, give themselves
up without regard or caution to their former carefree sociability.
You must not imitate either of these. Be affable without being
dissipated; gentle but firm in your resolution to serve our Lord more diligently.
Do not be afraid that amiable and fraternal conversation harms
devotion. The effort to be agreeable is charitable and charity is always precious. Besides
speaking and taking recreation does not prevent you to continue with your secret
conversation with Love.
The passions sleep but are not dead. Therefore you cannot and
must not light-heartedly trust yourself.
So long as you don't frighten yourself with premature struggles,
grace keeps down all enemies and you think you have them victoriously under control. No,
my dear daughter, sooner or later they could revive and disconcert you with a lively
Don't throw yourself self-confidently into opportunities,
negotiations, conversations, etc. For a young girl reticence with people of either sex is
always a good thing.
The Mystical Ladder
Did you ever climb a ladder all at once? And how then
could you imitate someone who reached the top progressively? Continue also to go up and
you will reach the top. The arms to cling with are humility and trust in God; the feet
are calm and resolution. Haste and desertion are always dangerous because they trip us up
and make us fall.
I praise your tears, but I must tell you in all truth that they
are not the gift of tears spoken of in certain mystics. At the beginning of the spiritual
life the abundance of grace makes it sweet to feel sorrow for one's sins and the
sufferings of Jesus and helping our sentiments it is possible to cry whenever we want.
When you have advanced spiritually, you will see clearly that you
now cry out of self-love rather than for the suffering caused to the Supreme God.
Leave God And The Ego Gains Ground
Leave God and the ego gains ground; but you must not worry too
much but instead resign yourself to following the way that everyone takes.
You cannot always stay in the cradle or in the arms of your
mother and if walking is difficult in the beginning, it is nevertheless good for you and
necessary. You accuse your mother of being heartless when she begins to leave you to
You find difficulty in meditating and in everything else! This is
not surprising. The sacrifice of doing your duty and your good will are equivalent to
giving to God what you can, and the beginning of your value and merit. At first God's
gentleness did everything and let you imagine it was your doing. Now He wants you to
exercise your strength as a woman to feel a bit the meaning of virtue and earning future
glory to his satisfaction. Is it not an honour that Jesus treats you as one who has left
childhood behind and capable of doing something?
Therefore, take courage and go on! If you sometimes feel too
tired, you can tell Him confidently: Jesus carry me for a bit in your arms.