|Spiritual Formation (cont)
Contemplation Of God
Think of God as more gentle than all gentleness, more good than
all goodness, more merciful than all mercy, more loving than all love and you will
understand Him in the most suitable way and the most pleasing to Him.
If with charity in your heart you also wish to awaken your
admiration, think of Him as strong, wise, beautiful, holy and pure more than can be
imagined. With just a gesture He made from nothing immense armies of Angels, most noble
creatures, shining with genius, admirably powerful, fascinating in their gentleness and
dignity; that is a sample for you of his wisdom and virtue.
Oh, how amiable and great is our God! How small we are when we
consider Him to be a little superior to us in benignity, generosity, patience, and glory.
Enlarge, enlarge your concept of Him in your intelligence and arouse the sentiments of
love and adoration in your heart.
Perpetual Union With God
If you ask me how much time you must spend in vocal prayers, and
in meditation, I reply that I leave it to your discretion, considering your family
circumstances, personal requirements, etc., etc. But if you want to know how long you must
remain in prayer or union with God, I exhort you with Saint Paul of the Cross (founder of
the Passionists 1694-1775) to remain so for twenty four hours a day. You must always do
everything looking at Him with interior affection so as to please Him: in your work,
arranging your affairs, eating, sleeping, during recreation, keeping your attention fixed
lovingly on the One who loves you and looks at you with perpetual love. Return often in
his presence with simple loving words from the heart and keeping Him in your memory.
I know that it is impossible for you at the stage of love you
have reached to keep a constant attention like souls that have exercised a great deal and
are advanced; but you can easily harbour the interior desire and wish to succeed doing
what you can for the time being.
However, never do anything with violence or torturing yourself,
but always gently and with patience.
Complete Abandonment To Providence
You ask me what Saint de Chantal asked Saint Francis de Sales.
She too wanted to know if her soul abandoned in God's hands could repose completely,
leaving to Him the care of what concerned her interiorly as well as exteriorly, and
placing all her trust in his Providence and will in such a way as to remain without a care
and without having to choose and without the desire for anything outside of what our Lord
worked in her and for her, having cast away every impediment or resistance.
How can you doubt? What can be more advantageous than this
abandonment what activity more fertile than this calm? God is father and mother and
I don't know if a child can do better than to go gently into the arms of its mother
without thinking or agitation.
There is no saint who has not cultivated complete
self-abandonment to God and in this way reached sanctity, and the unchanging calm through
the various and sometimes most painful events and contradictions of life. Therefore there
is no instructor leading souls to a great love of God who does not teach and recommend
And who can think, arrange and provide better than infinite
Wisdom and Charity?
Oh! Almighty Love, may everyone embrace You casting out all
anxiety and personal prudence.
Abandonment And Darkness
You want to know why the Dominus tecum remains a mystery
to you. It is very simple to understand when you know that the Dominus tecum was
not enough for Mary either when she was searching for her lost Son. His reply: "How
is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father's
business?" Lk 2,49 I assure you that no words, even if Jesus came to
speak to you personally, as He did to Mary Magdalene near the Holy Sepulchre, would get
you out of your anxious state until God the Father permits it. And the Father is charity
and does everything out of charity even when it may seem rigour to the soul. Who could
imagine that the Father looked with immense love at his Son hanging on the cross, when
even He seemed to unite Himself to his crucifiers in judging that He had been abandoned by
It is an old truth, but the drama is always new and the Father
always sees the souls perpetuated in his Son on the gibbet, and always the souls cry:
"Why have You abandoned me?" Mk 15,34 forgetting that after the
crown of thorns the glorious crown follows.
And you will forget the Father's prize, continuing to bewail his
abandonment all the time you are predestined to be on the cross, which will be more or
less long, but always in proportion to the strength you will be given to moan and lament
the dreaded abandonment.
It is the cross, and the cross has to come before joy. But how is
it possible, you will say, that such thick darkness comes from God?
Think daughter, amongst soldiers there are those destined to the
dugouts of the front line of battle almost from the beginning of the hostilities, while
others have never known them; and yet there is only one Supreme Commander. Everyone here
below is in the army and we all have different tasks: on you falls the advanced post,
reserved to brave men. Do you mind?
But the first are always the first and you would do well to thank
God who has chosen you and given you the courage.
You can write to me and you must, as there is no penance or
sacrifice more beautiful and pleasing than obedience.
As for replying, I will not follow your or my
judgment but our
Lord's that is as pleasant as it is supreme.
The terrifying knowledge of yourself consoles me because it is
the truth, but you must not stop at that. Just as the architect builds in height according
to the depth of the foundation, so must the spirit use the knowledge of its own misery to
raise itself and trust in the sublime mercy of the pious Excellence.
You know that gold is purified with fire and that love is a
flame: do you then want to fully rehabilitate and beautify yourself? Love. An act of love
and devotion is worth more than a hundred fasts and disciplines.
Humility, Trust, Manifestations Of Extraordinary
Humility is beautiful, but gentle trust is beautiful also. Shy
modesty is pleasing but not as much though as abandonment in the One who commands us to
hope and who opens his arms and Heart to us removing the screen of the garment and the
sacred enclosure of the ribs.
Having up to now remained silent and mistrusting the unusual
phenomena in yourself was beneficial for you to protect yourself from vainglory. In such
matters reserve is a test of the goodness of the origin. But now that the proof has been
given you must speak. I have ordered you to do so and you are safe from any trace of
vainglory and deception.
Indeed there could be deception in remaining silent, as Satan
loves to set his traps in closed souls. Or he will at least provoke you to extreme
diffidence and halt your progress wanted by God when He gave you his favours.
A Death Blow
Resign yourself to this death blow, and be at peace. Many are the
troubles of the just man, but out of them all the Lord delivers him Psalm 33,20.
You think yourself abandoned, but in reality you are not, because it is not easy that a
God called Charity abandons a soul made in his image and redeemed at the price of so much
suffering and blood.
Oh, how true it is that all things work together unto good for
the predestined Rom 8,28. To suffer humiliation is painful, but you may be sure
that divine Mercy will turn it to your consolation. And no matter what terrible accident
may overtake you, so long as you want to belong to God, it will contribute to carrying out
the desire of perfection. Therefore be calm. Or rather rejoice at the thought that on the
day of revelation you will understand how good God is in all his ways.
Patience With Oneself, Corporal Mortifications
Only you fear yourself, I and the others do not; but believe me
if the guides do not fear there is nothing to fear. Be determined to subdue your
irascibility and be, as the Apostle says, patient, kind, bearing with all things I
Cor 13,4 full of mercy also towards yourself who is the closest to yourself.
Considering your good health and strength I permit you to do some discipline during the
week and to add a little bit of mortification in eating on Wednesdays, Fridays and
Saturdays. I do not mean downright fasting but to leave off eating a few mouthfuls that at
the end of the meal satisfies sensuality without being necessary for the health. Seven
hours of sleep are enough. Any more inclines one to looseness. On the whole only the
amount that God wants will be beneficial to you.
Ask our Lord to save you from the grip of the dog and from the
lion's mouth Psalm 21,21-22, as the Prophet prays and add: "Be my help Oh God,
do not abandon or despise me, Oh my God and my Good."