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Title: Gold Dust - A Collection of Golden Counsels for the Sanctification of Daily Life
Author: Sylvain, Adrien, 1826-1914
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Gold Dust - A Collection of Golden Counsels for the Sanctification of Daily Life" ***

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   [Illustration]



   *GOLD DUST*

   A Collection of Golden Counsels for the Sanctification of Daily Life


   TRANSLATED AND ABRIDGED FROM THE FRENCH

   BY E. L. E. B.


   EDITED BY
   CHARLOTTE M. YONGE


   GROSSET & DUNLAP

   PUBLISHERS  NEW YORK



   _Printed in the United States of America_



   _To_

   _E. B. H._

   _This little book is most lovingly dedicated_



PREFACE


This little book is a translation from a collection of devotional thoughts
published in France under the title of "Paillettes d'Or." It is
necessarily a selection, since the gold dust which suits French readers
requires a fresh sifting for the English; but the value of most of the
thoughts seems to me well to deserve the term of gold. There are many who
will much enjoy having this little collection on their table, so as to be
able to take it up and dwell upon some one of its grains at leisure times
throughout the day's business.

    C. M. YONGE.

Feb. 12, 1880.



INTRODUCTION


In the south of France, during the summer, little children and old and
infirm poor who are incapable of hard work, in order to earn a livelihood,
employ themselves in searching the beds of dried up rivers for "Paillettes
d'Or," or golden dust, which sparkles in the sun, and which the water
carries away as it flows. What is done by these poor people and little
children for the gold dust GOD has sown in those obscure rivers, we would
do with those counsels and teachings which GOD has sown almost everywhere,
which sparkle, enlighten, and inspire for a moment, then disappear,
leaving but regret that the thought did not occur to collect and treasure
them.

Who is there that has not experienced at some time in his life those
teachings so soft and gentle, yet so forcible, which make the heart
thrill, and reveal to it suddenly a world of peace, joy, and devotion?

It may have been but a word read in a book, or a sentence overheard in
conversation, which may have had for us a two-fold meaning, and, in
passing, left us touched with an unknown power.

It was the smile on the lips of a beloved one whom we knew to be
sorrowful, that spoke to us of the sweet joy of resignation.

It was the open look of an innocent child that revealed to us all the
beauty of frankness and simplicity.

Oh! if we had but treasured all the rays of light that cross our path and
sparkle but for a moment; oh! if we had but engraved them on our hearts!
what a guide and comfort they would have been to us in the days of
discouragement and sorrow; what counsels to guide our actions, what
consolations to soothe the broken heart!

How many new means of doing good!

It is this simple work of gathering a little from every source--from
nature, from books, above all, from mankind itself--that is the intention
of one of your fellow-creatures, dear souls, you who long so to make your
lives more holy and devout!

And in the same way as the gold dust, gathered and accumulated from the
river's bed, was the means of bringing a little profit to the hearth, so
would we endeavor to carry a little joy to your hearts, and peace to your
souls.

Gather, then, these little counsels; gather them with watchfulness; let
them for a moment penetrate deep into your heart; then scatter them abroad
again, that they may go with their good words to the help of others.

They will not be importunate, will not even ask to be preserved; they do
not desire fame; all that they seek is to convey a transient blessing.



GOLD DUST


I.

"My LORD!" exclaimed once a devout soul, "give me every day a little work
to occupy my mind; a little suffering to sanctify my spirit; a little good
to do to comfort my heart."


II.

If by our deeds we become saints, true it is, that by our deeds also we
shall be condemned.

Yes, it is little by little that we press onward, either towards salvation
or eternal ruin; and when at last we reach the gate of glory, or that of
perdition, the cry escapes our lips, "Already!"

The first backward step is almost imperceptible; it was those tiny flakes
of snow, seeming to melt as they touch the earth, but falling one upon
another, that have formed that immense mass which seems ready to fall and
crush us.

Ah! if I tried to trace back to what first led to that act of sin, the
thought that produced the desire, the circumstance that gave rise to the
thought, I should find something almost imperceptible; perhaps a word with
a _double entendre_ I had heard, and at which I had smiled; a useless
explanation, sought out of mere curiosity; a hasty look, cast I knew not
wherefore, and which conscience prompted me to check; a prayer neglected,
because it wearied me; work left undone, while I indulged in some
day-dream that flitted before my fancy....

A week later the same things occur, but this time more prolonged; the
stifled voice of conscience is hushed.

Yet another week.... Alas! let us stop there; each can complete the sad
story for himself, and it is easy to draw the practical conclusion.


III.

A young girl, in one of those moments when the heart seems to overflow
with devotion, wrote thus in her journal: "If I dared, I would ask GOD why
I am placed in the world; what have I to do? I know not; my days are idly
spent, and I do not even regret them.... If I might but do some good to
myself or another, if only for the short space of a minute in each day!"
A few days later, when in a calmer mood she re-read these lines, she
added, "Why, nothing is easier! I have but to give a cup of cold water to
one of CHRIST'S little ones."

Even _less_ than that: a word of advice; something lent to another; a
little vexation patiently borne; a prayer for a friend offered to GOD; the
fault or thoughtlessness of another repaired without his knowledge--GOD
will recompense it all a thousand-fold!


IV.

Alms given in secret; that is the charity which brings a blessing.

What sweet enjoyment to be able to shed a little happiness around us!

What an easy and agreeable task is that of trying to render others happy.

FATHER! if I try to please and imitate Thee thus, wilt Thou indeed bless
me? Thanks! thanks! be unto Thee.


V.

Is it fair always to forget all the good or kindness shown to us by those
with whom we live, for the sake of _one_ little pain they may have caused
us, and which, most likely, was quite unintentional on their part?


VI.

When you sometimes find in books advice or example that you think may be
of service, you take care to copy and consult it as an oracle. Do as much
for the good of your soul. Engrave in your memory, and even write down,
the counsels and precepts that you hear or read; ... then, from time to
time, study this little collection, which you will not prize the less that
you have made it all yourself.

Books written by others in time become wearisome to us, but of those we
write ourselves we never tire. And it _will_ be yours, this collection of
thoughts chosen because you liked them; counsels you have given yourself;
moral receipts you have discovered, and of which, perhaps, you have proved
the efficacy.

Happy soul! that each day reaps its harvest.


VII.

Do you wish to live at peace with all the world? Then practise the maxims
of an influential man, who, when asked, after the Revolution, how he
managed to escape the executioner's axe, replied, "I made myself of no
reputation and kept silence."

Would you live peaceably with the members of your family, above all with
those who exercise a certain control of you? Use the means employed by a
pious woman, who had to live with one of a trying temper, and which she
summed up in the following words:--

"I do everything to please her.

"I fulfil all my duties with a smiling face, never revealing the trouble
it causes me.

"I bear patiently everything that displeases me.

"I consult her on many subjects of which, perhaps, I may be the better
judge."

Would you be at peace with your conscience? Let your Guardian Angel find
you at each moment of the day doing one of these four things which once
formed the rule of a saintly life: (1.) praying; (2.) laboring; (3.)
striving after holiness; (4.) practising patience.

Would you become holy? Try to add to the above actions the following
virtues: method, faith, spiritual combat, perseverance.

Finally, if you would live in an atmosphere of benevolence, make it your
study to be always rendering others service, and never hesitate to ask the
same of them.

In offering help, you make a step towards gaining a friend; in asking it,
you please by this mark of your confidence. The result of this will be a
constant habit of mutual forbearance, and a fear to be disobliging in
matters of greater importance.


VIII.

When teaching or working with others, never laugh or make fun of their
awkwardness. If it is caused by stupidity, your laughter is uncharitable;
if from ignorance, your mockery is, to say the least, unjust.

Teach the unskilful with gentleness; show him the right way to work; and
God, Who sees all your efforts, will smile on your patience, and send you
help in all your difficulties.


IX.

When the heart is heavy, and we suffer from depression or disappointment,
how thankful we should be that we still have work and prayer left to
comfort us. Occupation forcibly diverts the mind; prayer sweetly soothes
the soul.

"Then," writes one who had been sorely tried, "I tell my griefs to God, as
a child tells its troubles to its mother; and when I have told all I am
comforted, and repeat with a lightened heart the prayer of S. Françoise de
Chantal (who certainly suffered more than I), 'Thy will be done for ever
and ever, O LORD, without _if_ or _but_;' ... and then, for fear a murmur
may arise in my heart, I return immediately to my work, and become
absorbed in occupation."


X.

He who is never satisfied with anything, satisfies no one.


XI.

Are there many who try to be of some little help or comfort to the souls
with whom they are brought in contact through life?

Poor souls, that, perhaps, have no longer strength or will to manifest the
longing they experience, and who languish for want of help, without being
aware that they are perishing. Oh, mingle sometimes with your earthly help
the blessed Name of GOD; and if there remain one little spark of life in
the soul, that Name will rekindle it, and carry comfort and resignation;
even as air breathed into the mouth of any one apparently dead, rushes
into the lungs, and revives the sufferer, if but one breath of life
remains.

_Souls! Souls! I yearn for Souls!_--This is the cry of the SAVIOUR; and
for their sakes He died upon the Cross, and remains until eternity their
Intercessor.

_Souls! Souls! I must win Souls!_--It is the cry of Satan; and to obtain
them he scatters gold to tempt them, multiplies their pleasures and
vanities, and gives the praise that only infatuates.

_Souls! Souls! we long for Souls!_--Let this be our aim, readers and
writers of these our "Paillettes;" and for the sake of even _one_ soul,
let not fatigue, expense, or the criticism of the world, deter us....


XII.

How few there are who would thus dare to address GOD each night: "LORD,
deal with me to-morrow as I have this day dealt with others; ... those to
whom I was harsh, and from malice, or to show my own superiority, exposed
their failings; others, to whom, from pride or dislike, I refused to
speak,--one I have avoided, another I cannot like because she displeases
me; I will not forgive,--to whom I will not show any kindness."...

And yet let us never forget that, sooner or later, God will do unto us
even as we have done unto them.


XIII.

"Grant me, O LORD," said a humble soul, "that I may pass unnoticed through
the world."

This should be the wish, or rather the aim, of all true devotion.

Small virtues require the praise of man to sustain them, just as little
children require encouragement to walk or stand alone.

But true virtue goes quietly through the world, scattering good around,
and performing noble deeds, without even the knowledge that what it does
is heroic.


XIV.

S. Chantal one day was excusing herself to S. François de Sales for having
spoken hastily to some one, on the plea that it was in the cause of
justice. The Saint replied, "You have been more just than righteous; but
we should be more righteous than just."


XV.

A devout woman once wrote thus: "In my own family I try to be as little in
the way as possible, satisfied with everything, and never to believe for a
moment that any one means unkindly towards me.

"If people are friendly and kind to me, I enjoy it; if they neglect me, or
leave me, I am always happy alone. It all tends to my one aim,
forgetfulness of self in order to please GOD."


XVI.

Learning is not without its effect upon the soul; it either lends it wings
to bear it up to GOD, or leaves behind it tiny sparks, which little by
little consume the whole being.

If you would ascertain all the good or ill you have derived from all those
hours devoted to historians, poets, novelists, or philosophers, put to
yourself these questions: Since acquiring this knowledge, am I wiser? am I
better? am I happier?

Wiser?--That is to say, more self-controlled, less the slave of my
passions, less irritated by small vexations, braver in bearing
misfortunes, more careful to live for eternity?

Better?--More forbearing towards others, more forgiving, less uncharitable,
more reticent in opposing the faults of others, more solicitous for the
happiness of those around me?

Happier?--That would mean more contented with my station in life, striving
to derive all possible benefits from it, to beautify rather than to alter
it?

Have I more faith in GOD, and more calmness and resignation in all the
events of life?

If you cannot reply in the affirmative, then examine your heart
thoroughly, and you will find there, stifling the good that GOD has
implanted, these three tyrants that have obtained dominion over, you: (1.)
Pride; (2.) Ambition; (3.) Self-conceit.

From them have sprung: dissatisfaction and contempt of your life and its
surroundings, restlessness, a longing for power and dominion over others,
malice, habitual discontent, and incessant murmurings. Have you any
further doubts? Then inquire of those with whom you live.

Ah! if this be indeed the sad result, then, whatever may be your age,
close, oh! close those books, and seek once more those two elements of
happiness you ought never to have forsaken, and which, had you made them
the companions of your study, would have kept you pure and good.

I refer to prayer and manual labor.


XVII.

Listen to the story of a simple shepherd, given in his own words: "I
forget now who it was that once said to me, 'Jean Baptiste, you are very
poor?'--True.--'If you fell ill, your wife and children would be
destitute?'--True. And then I felt anxious and uneasy for the rest of the
day."

"At Evensong wiser thoughts came to me, and I said to myself: Jean
Baptiste, for more than thirty years you have lived in the world, you have
never possessed anything, yet still you live on, and have been provided
each day with nourishment, each night with repose. Of trouble GOD has
never sent you more than your share. Of help the means have never failed
you. To whom do you owe all this? To GOD. Jean Baptiste, be no longer
ungrateful, and banish those anxious thoughts; for what could ever induce
you to think that the Hand from which you have already received so much,
would close against you when you grow old, and have greater need of help?
I finished my prayer, and felt at peace."


XVIII.

The work of the Sower is given to each of us in this world, and we fall
short of our duty when we let those with whom we are brought in contact
leave us without having given them a kind thought or pious impression.

Nothing is so sad as the cry, "I am useless!" Happily none need ever _be_
so.

A kind word, a gentle act, a modest demeanor, a loving smile, are as so
many seeds that we can scatter every moment of our lives, and which will
always spring up and bear fruit.

Happy are those who have many around them ... they are rich in
opportunities, and may sow plenteously.


XIX.

Few positions in life are so full of importunities as that of the mother
of a family, or mistress of a house. She may have a dozen interruptions
while writing _one_ letter, or settling an account. What holiness, what
self-control, is needed to be always calm and unruffled amid these little
vexations, and never to manifest the slightest impatience!

Leaving the work without apparent annoyance, replying with a smile upon
the lips, awaiting patiently the end of a long conversation, and finally
returning calmly to the yet unfinished work--all this is the sign of a
recollected soul, and one that waits upon GOD.

Oh! what blessings are shed around them by such patient souls ... but,
alas! how rarely they are to be met with!


XX.

There are times in one's life when all the world seems to turn against us.
Our motives are misunderstood, our words misconstrued, a malicious smile
or an unkind word reveals to us the unfriendly feelings of others. Our
advances are repulsed, or met with icy coldness; a dry refusal arrests on
our lips the offer of help....

Oh, how hard it all seems, and the more so that we cannot divine the
cause!

Courage, patience, poor disconsolate one! GOD is making a furrow in your
heart, where He will surely sow His grace.

It is rare when injustice, or slights patiently borne, do not leave the
heart at the close of the day filled with marvellous joy and peace.

It is the seed GOD has sown, springing up and bearing fruit.


XXI.

That which costs little is of little worth. This thought should make us
tremble. In our self-examination we may experience at times a certain
satisfaction in noticing the little virtues we may possess, above all,
those that render us pleasing in the eyes of others.

For instance, we may like to pray at a certain place, with certain
sentiments, and we think ourselves devout; we are gentle, polite, and
smiling towards one person in particular; patient with those we fear, or
in whose good opinion we would stand; we are devoted, charitable,
generous, because the heart experiences an unspeakable pleasure in
spending and being spent for others; we suffer willingly at the hands of
some one we love, and then say we are patient; we are silent, because we
have no inclination to speak; shunning society because we fail to shine
there, and then fancy that we love retirement.

Take these virtues that give you such self-satisfaction, one by one, and
ask yourself at what sacrifice, labor, or cost, above all, with what care
you have managed to acquire them.... Alas! you will find that all that
patience, affability, generosity, and piety are but as naught, springing
from a heart puffed up with pride. It costs nothing, and it is worthless.

As self-sacrifice, says De Maistre, is the basis and essence of virtue, so
those virtues are the most meritorious that have cost the greatest effort
to attain.

Do not look with so much pride on this collection of virtues, but rather
bring yourself to account for your faults. Take just one, the first that
comes, impatience, sloth, gossip, uncharitableness, sulkiness, whatever it
may be, and attack it bravely.

It will take at least a month, calculating upon three victories every day,
not indeed to eradicate it,--a fault is not so short-lived,--but to prevent
its attaining dominion over you.

That one subdued, then take another. It is the work of a lifetime; and
truly to our faults may we apply the saying, "_Quand il n'y en a plus, il
y en a encore._"

"Happy should I think myself," said S. Francis de Sales, "if I could rid
myself of my imperfections but _one_-quarter of an hour previous to my
death."


XXII.

BEFORE HOLY COMMUNION

    JESUS


My child, it is not wisdom _I_ require of thee, it sufficeth if thou
lovest Me well.

Speak to Me as thou wouldst talk to thy mother if she were here, pressing
thee to her heart.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Hast thou none for whom thou wouldst intercede?_ Tell Me the names of thy
kindred and thy friends; and at the mention of each name add what thou
wouldst have Me do for them. Ask much fervently; the generous hearts that
forget themselves for others are very dear unto Me.

Tell Me of the poor thou wouldst succor, the sick thou hast seen
suffering, the sinful thou wouldst reclaim, the estranged thou wouldst
receive to thy heart again.

Pray fervently for all mankind.

Remind Me of My promise to hear all prayers that proceed from the heart;
and the prayer offered for one who loves us, and is dear to us, is sure to
be heartfelt and fervent.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Hast thou no favors to ask of Me?_ Give Me, if thou wilt, a list of all
thy desires, all the wants of thy soul. Tell Me, simply, of all thy pride,
sensuality, self-love, sloth; and ask for My help in thy struggles to
overcome them.

Poor child! be not abashed; many that had the same faults to contend
against are now saints in heaven.

They cried to Me for help, and by degrees they conquered.

Do not hesitate to ask for temporal blessings,--health, intellect, success.
I can bestow them, and never fail to do so, where they tend to make the
soul more holy. What wouldst thou this day, My child?... If thou didst but
know how I long to bless thee!...

       *       *       *       *       *

_Hast thou no interests which occupy thy mind?_

Tell Me of them all.... Of thy vocation. What dost thou think? What dost
thou desire? Wouldst thou give pleasure to thy mother, thy family, those
in authority over thee? what wouldst thou do for them?

And for Me hast thou no ardor? Dost thou not desire to do some good to the
souls of those thou lovest, but who are forgetful of Me?

Tell Me of one in whom thou hast interest; the motive that actuates; the
means thou wouldst employ.

Lay before Me thy failures, and _I_ will teach thee the cause.

Whom wouldst thou have to help thee? The hearts of all are in My keeping,
and _I_ lead them gently wheresoever _I_ will. Rest assured, all who are
needful to thee, _I_ will place around thee.

_Oh! My child, tell Me of all thy weariness_: who has grieved thee?
treated thee with contempt? wounded thy self-love?

Tell Me all, and thou wilt end by saying, all is forgiven, all forgotten
... and _I_, surely _I_ will bless thee!...

_Art thou fearful of the future?_ Is there in thy heart that vague dread
that thou canst not define, but which nevertheless torments thee?

Trust in My Providence.... _I_ am present with thee, _I_ know all, and _I_
will never leave thee nor forsake thee.

Are there around thee those seemingly less devout than formerly, whose
coldness or indifference have estranged thee from them without real
cause?...

Pray for them. _I_ can draw them back to thee if they are necessary to the
sanctification of thy soul.

_What are the joys of which thou hast to tell Me?_

Let Me share thy pleasures; tell Me of all that has occurred since
yesterday to comfort thee, please thee, to give thee joy!

That fear suddenly dispelled, that unexpected success, that token of
affection, the trial that proved thee stronger than thou thoughtest....

My child, _I_ sent it all; why not show some gratitude, and simply thank
thy LORD?

Gratitude draws down a blessing, and the Great Benefactor likes His
children to remind Him of His Goodness.

_Hast thou no promises to make to Me?_ I can read thy heart; thou knowest
it; thou mayst deceive man, but thou canst never deceive God. Be sincere.

_Art thou resolved to avoid all occasions of sin?_ To renounce that which
tempts thee; never again to open the book that excites thine imagination?
Not to bestow thine affection on one who is not devout, and whose presence
steals the peace from thy soul?

Wilt thou go now and be loving and forbearing towards one who has vexed
thee?...

Good, My child!... Go, then, return to thy daily toil; be silent, humble,
resigned, charitable; then return to Me with a heart yet more loving and
devoted, and _I_ shall have for thee fresh blessings.


XXIII.

"There will soon be none left," said S. Francis de Sales, "who will love
poor sinners but GOD and myself."

Oh! why do we fail in love towards those poor sinful ones! Are they not
very much to be pitied?

When they are prosperous, pray for them; but when misfortune comes (and
trouble weighs heavily upon the wicked), death depriving them of the only
beings they did not hate, afflicting them with a loathsome disease,
delivering them up to scorn and misery--oh! then, when all this comes upon
them, love them freely. It is by affection alone that we can reach the
worst characters, and the souls that are steeped in sin.

How many have died impenitent, who, if only some one had cared for them
and shown them love, might have become at last saints in heaven! Oh! the
sins that are committed, oh! the souls we suffer to wander from GOD, and
all because we are so wanting in love towards them.


XXIV.

Let us always be on our guard against _Prejudice_.

Some women have a way (of which they themselves are unconscious) of
turning the cold shoulder to some one member of their family.

For what reason? They cannot say, simply because the cause is never very
clearly defined and in this lies all the mischief.

Perhaps an air of indifference they may have fancied, and which arose
merely from fatigue, or trouble that could not be confided to them.

A word misinterpreted, because heard at a time when they felt
discontented, and their morbid imagination made everything appear in a
false light.

Some scandal to which they ought never to have listened, or, at least,
should have endeavored to fathom, going direct to the person concerned and
seeking an explanation.

And behold the result: they in their turn become cold, reserved, and
suspicious, misinterpreting the slightest gesture ... in a few days arises
a coldness, from the feeling they are no longer beloved; then follow
contempt and mistrust, finally, a hatred that gnaws and rends the very
heart.

It all springs up imperceptibly, till at last the family life is one of
bitterness and misery.

They console, or better still, excuse themselves, with the thought of
their suffering, never considering how much pain they give to others, nor
where the fault lies.


XXV.

Let it rest! Ah! how many hearts on the brink of anxiety and disquietude
by this simple sentence have been made calm and happy!

Some proceeding has wounded us by its want of tact; _let it rest_; no one
will think of it again.

A harsh or unjust sentence irritates us; _let it rest_; whoever may have
given vent to it will be pleased to see it is forgotten.

A painful scandal is about to estrange us from an old friend; _let it
rest_, and thus preserve our charity and peace of mind.

A suspicious look is on the point of cooling our affection; _let it rest_,
and our look of trust will restore confidence....

Fancy! we who are so careful to remove the briers from our pathway for
fear they should wound, yet take pleasure in collecting and piercing our
hearts with the thorns that meet us in our daily intercourse with one
another. How childish and unreasonable we are!


XXVI.

Of all the means placed by Providence within our reach, whereby we may
lead souls to Him, there is one more blessed than all others,--intercessory
prayer.

       *       *       *       *       *

How often, in the presence of one deeply loved, but, alas! estranged from
GOD, the heart of mother or wife has felt a sudden impulse to say an
earnest word, propose an act of devotion, to paint in glowing colors the
blessings of faith and the happiness of virtue ... and she has stopped,
deterred by an irresistible fear of how the words may be received; and she
says to herself, poor woman, "To-morrow I shall be braver."

       *       *       *       *       *

Poor mother! poor wife! go and tell to your Heavenly FATHER all you would,
but _dare_ not, say to the loved one who gives you so much pain.

Lay that sin-sick soul before the LORD, as long ago they laid the
paralytic man who could not, or perhaps _would_ not, be led to Him.

Plead for him with the long-suffering SAVIOUR, as you would plead with an
earthly master, upon whom depended all his future welfare, and say to Him
simply, "LORD, have patience with him yet a little longer."

Tell GOD of all your anxiety, your discouragements, the means employed for
success.

Ask Him to teach you what to say and how to act. One sentence learned of
GOD in prayer will do more for the conversion of a soul than all our poor
human endeavors. _That_ sentence will escape our lips involuntarily. We
may not remember that we have said it, but it will sink deep into the
heart, making a lasting impression, and silently fulfilling its mission.

       *       *       *       *       *

You are, perhaps, surprised, after many years, to see such poor results.
Ah! how little can you judge!...

Do you know what you have gained? In the first place, time--often a
physical impossibility to sin, which you may attribute to chance, but
which was, in reality, the work of Providence; and is it nothing, one sin
the less, in the life of an immortal soul?... Then a vague uneasiness
which will soon allow of no rest, a confidence which may enable you to
sympathize, more liberty left you for the exercise of religious acts; you
no longer see the contemptuous smile at your acts of devotion. Is all this
_nothing_?

Ah! if, while on your knees praying for the one you would have reconciled
to GOD, you could but see what is passing in his soul,--the wrestlings, the
remorse he strives vainly to stifle; if you could see the work of the Holy
Spirit in the heart, gently but firmly triumphing over the will, how
earnestly, how incessantly, would you continue to pray!

Only have patience to wait--perseverance not to grow weary.

It is the want of patience that often makes us exacting towards those we
desire to help.

More haste, less speed, is an old saying; the more we are exacting, the
less likely are we to succeed.

Men like to act freely, and to have the credit of their actions.

It is because we have not learned to persevere that the work seems never
to progress.

Courage, then! the ground may seem too dry for cultivation, but each
prayer will be as a drop of water; the marble may be very hard, but each
prayer is like the hammer's stroke that wears away its roughness.


XXVII.

The sweet peace of GOD bears the outward token of resignation.

When the Holy Spirit dwells within us everything seems bright.

Everything may not be exactly as we would wish it, but we accept all with
a good grace.... For instance, some change in our household or mode of
living upsets us. If GOD is with us, He will whisper, "Yield cheerfully
thy will; in a little while all will be forgotten."

Some command or employment wounds our pride; if GOD is with us, He will
say to us, "Be submissive, and _I_ will come to thine aid."

We may dislike a certain neighborhood; the society there may be repulsive
to us, and we are about to become morbid: GOD will tell us to continue
gracious and smiling, for He will recompense the little annoyances we may
experience. If you would discern in whom GOD'S Spirit dwells, watch that
person, and notice whether you ever hear him murmur.


XXVIII.

I WANT TO BE HOLY

Heavenly Father, aid Thy child, who longs to become holy!

But then, I must be patient under humiliation, let myself be forgotten,
and be even pleased at feeling myself set aside.

_Never mind! I am resolved; I wish to be holy!_

But I must never excuse myself, never be impatient, never out of temper.

_Never mind! I am resolved; I wish to be holy!_

Then I must continually be doing violence to my feelings,--submitting my
will always to that of my superiors, never contentious, never sulky,
finishing every work begun, in spite of dislike or ennui.

_Never mind! I am resolved; I wish to be holy!_

But then, I must be always charitable towards all around me; loving them,
helping them to the utmost of my power, although it may cause me trouble.

_Never mind! I am resolved; I wish to be holy!_

But I must constantly strive against the cowardice, sloth, and pride of my
nature, renouncing the world, the vanity that pleases, the sensuality that
rejoices me, the antipathy that makes me avoid those I do not like.

_Never mind! I am resolved; I still wish to be holy!_

Then, I shall have to experience long hours of weariness, sadness, and
discontent. I shall often feel lonely and discouraged.

_Never mind! I am resolved; I wish to be holy!_ for then I shall have Thee
always with me, ever near me. LORD, help me, for I want to be holy!

       *       *       *       *       *

HOW TO BECOME HOLY

Oh! it is quite easy, if I fulfil every duty to the best of my ability;
and many who had no more to do than I have become saints.

One day is the same as another. Prayer, worldly business, calls to be
devout, charitable, and faithful,--these are the duties that each hour
brings in its turn; and if I am faithful in their fulfilment, GOD will be
always ready to help me, and then what signifies a little ennui, pain, or
misfortune?

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SANCTIFICATION OF DAILY DUTIES

I will perform them as in GOD'S sight, conscious that He is present, and
smiling on my efforts.

I will perform each as if I had but one to accomplish, striving to render
it as perfect as possible.

I will fulfil each duty as if upon that one alone depended my salvation.

       *       *       *       *       *

MOTIVES FOR SANCTIFYING MY ACTIONS

GOD expects me to honor Him by that action.

GOD has attached a special blessing to that action, and awaits its
fulfilment to bestow it.

GOD notes each action; and of them all hereafter I must give an account.

GOD will see that I love Him, if I strive to fulfil every duty, in spite
of weariness and trouble.

I honor GOD by this action; and I, poor, weak, sinful child, am allowed to
glorify Him, in place of those who blaspheme and rebel against the Divine
will.


XXIX.

They say there is nothing which communicates itself so quickly amongst the
members of a family as an expression of coldness or discontent on the face
of one of its members. It is like the frost that chills us. This is not
altogether true; there is something which is communicated with equal
rapidity and greater force--I mean the smiling face, the beaming
countenance, the happy heart.


XXX.

LITTLE WORRIES

There is not a day in our lives that we are not distressed by some one of
those numberless little worries that meet us at every step, and which are
inevitable.

The wound made may not be deep; but the constant pricks, each day renewed,
imbitter the character, destroy peace, create anxiety, and make the family
life, that otherwise would be so sweet and peaceful, almost unendurable.

Life is full of these little miseries. Each hour brings with it its own
trouble.

Here are some of the little worries: An impatient word escapes our lips in
the presence of some one in whose estimation we would stand well.

A servant does his work badly, fidgets us by his slowness, irritates us by
his thoughtlessness, and his awkward blunders make us blush.

A giddy child in its clumsiness breaks something of value, or that we
treasure on account of its associations; we are charged with a message of
importance, and our forgetfulness makes us appear uncourteous, perhaps
ungrateful; some one we live with is constantly finding fault, nothing
pleases them. If, when night comes, we find we have not experienced these
little worries, then we ought to be grateful to GOD. Each of these, and
many more, are liable to befall us every day of our life.

       *       *       *       *       *

HOW TO BEAR LITTLE WORRIES

In the first place, expect them. Make them the subject of our morning
prayers, and say to ourselves, Here is my daily cross, do I accept
willingly? Surely! for it is GOD Who sends it. After all ... these little
troubles, looked at calmly, what are they? Ah, if there were never any
worse!

Secondly, we must be prepared for them. You know, if you wish to break the
force of a blow falling on you, you naturally bend the body; so let us act
with regard to our souls.

Accustom yourself, wrote a pious author, to stoop with sweet
condescension, not only to exigencies (that is your duty), but to the
simple wishes of those who surround you--the accidents which may intervene;
you will find yourself seldom, if ever, crushed.

To _bend_ is better than to _bear_; to bear is often a little hard; to
bend implies a certain external sweetness that yields all constraint,
sacrificing the wishes, even in holy things, when they tend to cause
disagreements in the family circle.

Submission often implies an entire resignation to all that GOD permits.
The soul that endures feels the weight of its trouble. The soul that
yields scarcely perceives it.

Blessed are those docile ones; they are those whom GOD selects to work for
Him.


XXXI.

TO OBTAIN PEACE

Approach the Blessed Sacrament, O restless soul, in search of peace, and,
humbly kneeling there, pour forth bravely, slowly, and with earnest
desire, the following prayer:--

    O JESUS, gentle and humble of heart, hear me!
    From the desire of being esteemed,
    From the desire of being loved,
    From the desire to be sought,
      Deliver me, JESUS.
    From the desire to be mourned,
    From the desire of praise,
    From the desire of preference,
    From the desire of influence,
    From the desire of approval,
    From the desire of authority,
    From the fear of humiliation,
    From the fear of being despised,
    From the fear of repulse,
    From the fear of calumny,
    From the fear of oblivion,
    From the fear of ridicule,
    From the fear of injury,
    From the fear of suspicion,
      Deliver me, JESUS.

That others may be loved more than myself. JESUS grant this desire.

That others may be more highly esteemed.

That others may grow and increase in honor, and I decrease. JESUS, grant
me to desire it.

That others may be employed, and I set aside. JESUS, grant me to desire
this.

That others may attract the praise, and myself be forgotten.

That others may be preferred in all.

Grant me the utmost holiness of which I am capable, then let others be
holier than myself. JESUS, grant me to desire it!

Oh, if GOD hearkens,--and hearken He surely will, if your prayer has been
sincere,--what joy in your heart, what peace on your countenance, what
sweetness will pervade your whole life!

More than half one's troubles arise from an exaggerated idea of one's own
importance, and the efforts we make to increase our position in the world.
Lacordaire says, that the sweetest thing on earth is to be forgotten by
all, with the exception of those who love us. All else brings more trouble
than joy; and as soon as we have completed our task here, and fulfilled
our mission, the best thing for us to do is to disappear altogether.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us each cultivate carefully and joyously the portion of soil
Providence has committed to our care. Let us never be hindered or
distracted by ambitious thoughts, that we could do better, or a false zeal
tempting us to forsake our daily task with the vain desire to surpass our
neighbors.... Let this one thought occupy our minds. To do _well_ what is
given us to do, for this is all that GOD requires at our hands. It may be
summed up in four words,--simply, zealously, cheerfully, completely.

       *       *       *       *       *

Then if we _are_ slighted, misunderstood, maligned, or persecuted, what
does it matter? These injuries will pass away; but the peace and love of
GOD will remain with us forever, the reward of our faith and patience. The
love of GOD! Who can describe all the joy, strength, and consolation it
reveals?

Never has human love, in its brightest dreams, been able to form any idea
of all the sweetness the love of GOD imparts to the soul, and which is
brought still nearer to us in the Blessed Sacrament.

I can well understand the words of a loving soul: "With heaven so near,
and daily communion with our GOD, how can we ever repine!"


XXXII.

AFTER HOLY COMMUNION

OUR FATHER WHICH ART IN HEAVEN

O JESUS! it is Thou Who biddest me say, FATHER! _My Father!_ Oh how that
Name rejoices my heart! _My Father!_ I can no longer feel alone; and
whatever may happen to me this day, I feel I am protected, comforted,
beloved.

JESUS! let me dwell on the sweetness of those words: _My Father!_ I need
not lift my eyes to heaven, Thou art within me, and where Thou dwellest
heaven must be.

Yes! heaven is within me! heaven with all its peace and love; and if I
keep free from guile this day, my day will be one of heavenly joy, and in
addition, the privilege of suffering for Thee.

HALLOWED BE THY NAME

To hallow Thy Name, O LORD, is to pronounce it with reverence and awe.

To-day I will pray more fervently, try to realize Thy Presence, Thy
Goodness, Thy Love; and my heart shall be a sanctuary into which nothing
shall penetrate that could be displeasing unto Thee.

To _hallow Thy Name_ is to call upon it fervently, to have it constantly
upon my lips; above all, before taking an important step, when there are
difficulties to be overcome, I will softly whisper the Invocation, which
is the secret of all holy living! "JESUS, meek and humble of heart, have
pity upon me."

THY KINGDOM COME

O JESUS, Thy kingdom is within my heart, reign there in all Thy
sovereignty and power, reign there absolutely!

My King! what dost Thou require of me to-day? Thy commandments, my rule of
life, my daily duties,--these are Thy commands that I will promise to obey;
more than that, I will regard all in authority over me as Thine
Ambassadors, speaking to me in Thy Name. What matters the tone or the
harshness of the order?

What does it signify if some unexpected command upsets all my previous
plans? It is Thy Voice I hear, Thou LORD, Whom I will obey always, and in
all things.

Thy kingdom is also in the hearts of others; and there would I see Thee
reigning. Then to whom can I speak of Thee this day? What counsels can I
give? What moments may I seize, in which, without wounding the feelings,
or parading my zeal, I may be allowed to speak a few words of piety? LORD,
let me have the opportunity to help another to love Thee!

THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN

Yes, yes! Thy Will be done! Thy sweet all-perfect Will!

What wilt Thou send me to-day?

Humiliation? Provocation? Sufferings? A fresh rending of the heart? A
disappointment? Shall I see myself misjudged, falsely suspected, despised?
I accept beforehand all that Thou sendest me; and if through weakness I
weep, suffer it to be so; if I murmur, check me; if I am vexed, correct
me; if hopeless, encourage me.

Yes, yes! Let Thy sweet and holy Will be done!

Even, O LORD, if to glorify Thee, I must be humiliated, suffering,
useless, and forsaken, still, LORD, stay not Thine Hand, I am wholly
Thine.

GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD

How blessed, O LORD, to depend only upon Thee ... behold me, Thy child,
waiting with outstretched hand to receive Thy benefits.

Grant me my temporal blessings,--clothing, nourishment, shelter ... but not
too much of anything; and let me have the happiness of sharing my
blessings with those poorer than myself to-day. Grant me the blessing of
intelligence, that I may read, or hear one of those golden counsels that
elevate the soul, and lend wings to the thoughts.

Grant me the loving heart, O my FATHER! that I may feel for a moment how I
love Thee, and Thy love towards me; let me sacrifice myself for the
welfare of another. Give me the Bread of Life, the Holy Eucharist! I have
just received it, LORD! Grant me again ere long that great blessing.

And then, give all these blessings to those I love, and who love me!

FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES, AS WE FORGIVE THEM THAT TRESPASS AGAINST US

When I pronounce the word of pardon, what a weight seems lifted from my
heart.

I will not only banish every feeling of hatred, I will efface every
painful remembrance. O GOD, if Thou forgivest me, as I forgive others,
what mercy for me!

Thou seest I bear no malice, that I forget all injuries....

I have been offended by _words_; I forget them; by actions, I forget them;
by omissions, thoughts, desires; they are all forgotten.

Ah! in all these ways I have offended Thee, and Thou wilt forget, even as
I have forgotten.

I will be very merciful, so that Thou mayst have mercy upon me.

LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL

Now, as I leave Thine altar, I go to encounter temptation.

O SAVIOUR! help me, keep me, and warn me of my danger!

Let me shun all occasions of evil, and if by weakness or allurements I am
led into paths of sin, if I fall, oh! rescue me speedily, that I may fall
upon my knees, confessing my sin, and imploring pardon.

Sin! this is the evil from which I beseech Thee to deliver me; other
troubles that may happen, I accept; they are sent to try me and to purify,
and come from Thee; but sin, I have no pleasure in it! Oh! when in the
hour of temptation I fall away, LORD, hearken to the cry that I now raise
to Thee in all sincerity; I _will_ it not! it is not wilful! I go from Thy
Presence, but, JESUS, Thou art with me! In work, in prayer, in suffering,
let all be done in Thee!


XXXIII.

"Mother," asked a child, "since nothing is ever lost, where do all our
thoughts go?"

"To GOD," answered the mother gravely, "who remembers them forever."

"Forever!" said the child. He bent his head, and, drawing closer to his
mother, murmured, "I am frightened!"

Which of us have not felt the same?


XXXIV.

One more solemn thought: How old are you? Nineteen. Have you reckoned the
number of minutes that have elapsed since your birth? The number is
startling: nine millions, three hundred and thirty-three thousand, two
hundred.... Each of those minutes has flown to GOD; GOD has examined them
and weighed them, and for them you must give account.

Each minute bears its own impress (as a coin bears the impress of the
Sovereign), and only those marked with the image of GOD will avail you for
eternity.

Is not this thought one to make you tremble?

"I never could understand," writes Guérin, "the feeling of security some
have that their works must find favor with GOD--as if our duties were
confined to the narrow limits of this little world. To be a good son,
statesman, or brother, is not all that is required of us; GOD demands far
more than this from those for whom He has destined a crown of glory
hereafter."


XXXV.

One great characteristic of holiness is never to be exacting, never to
complain.

Each complaint drags us down a degree in our upward course.

By complaining, I do not mean the simple imparting of our troubles to
others.

Complaint savors always of a little bad temper, and a slightly vindictive
spirit.

       *       *       *       *       *

The saints were never exacting.

Contented with their lot, they never desired anything that was withheld
from them.

"I have asked," said a holy soul, "for something I thought needful; they
have forgotten to answer me, or perhaps would not bestow it. Why need I be
disquieted? If it were really necessary, GOD would quickly provide means
to obtain it." How few could enter into this feeling; and yet it is but
the echo of CHRIST'S own words, "Your FATHER in Heaven knoweth that ye
have need of all these things."


XXXVI.

Joy in life is like oil in a lamp. When the oil gets low the wick is
consumed, emitting a black vapor, and sending forth only a lurid glow,
which does not give light.

A life without joy passes away unprofitably, shedding around it only gloom
and sorrow.

If every morning in a simple prayer,--in those fifteen minutes' meditation
(which only seem hard when we do not practise it),--we opened our hearts to
GOD, as we open our windows to the sun and air, GOD would fill it with
that calm, sweet joy which elevates the soul, prevents it feeling the
weight of troubles, and makes it overflow with benevolence.

But joy does not mean levity, witty sayings, or repartee ... it is
habitual serenity.

Through a clear atmosphere we can always see the sky; it seems so light
and full of elasticity.

A serene sky is always pure ... clouds may pass across it, but they do not
stain it.

So it is with the heart that early in the morning opens to receive GOD'S
Peace.


XXXVII.

"You are never out of temper," was once said to a woman well known to be
much tried at home; "is it that you do not feel the injustice, the
annoyances?"--"I feel them as much as you do," she replied; "but they do
not hurt me."--"You have, then, some special balm?"--"Yes; for the
vexations caused by people, I have _affection_; for those of circumstances,
I have prayer; and over every wound that bleeds, I murmur the words, 'Thy
Will be done.'"


XXXVIII.

MY DAILY CROSS

If I have no cross to bear to-day, I shall not advance heavenwards.

A cross (that is, anything that disturbs our peace) is the spur which
stimulates, and without which we should most likely remain stationary,
blinded with empty vanities, and sinking deeper into sin.

A cross helps us onwards, in spite of our apathy and resistance.

To lie quietly on a bed of down may seem a very sweet existence, but
pleasant ease and rest are not the lot of a Christian; if he would mount
higher and higher, it must be by a rough road.

Alas, for those who have no daily cross!

Alas, for those who repine and fret against it!

       *       *       *       *       *

WHAT WILL BE MY CROSS TO-DAY?

Perhaps that person, with whom Providence has placed me, and whom I
dislike, whose look of disdain humiliates me, whose slowness worries me,
who makes me jealous by being more beloved, more successful, than myself,
whose chatter and lightheartedness, even her very attentions to myself,
annoy me.

Or it may be that person that I think has quarrelled with me, and my
imagination makes me fancy myself watched, criticised, turned into
ridicule.

She is always with me; all my efforts to separate are frustrated; by some
mysterious power she is always present, always near.

       *       *       *       *       *

This is my heaviest cross; the rest are light in comparison.

Circumstances change, temptations diminish, troubles lessen; but those
people who trouble or offend us are an ever-present source of irritation.


HOW TO BEAR THIS DAILY CROSS

Never manifest, in any way, the ennui, the dislike, the involuntary
shudder, that her presence produces; force myself to render her some
little service--never mind if she never knows it; it is between GOD and
myself. Try to say a little good of her every day, of her talents, her
character, her tact, for there is all that to be found in her. Pray
earnestly for her, even asking GOD to help me to love her, and to spare
her to me.

Dear companion! blessed messenger of GOD'S mercy! you are, without knowing
it, the means for my sanctification, and I will not be ungrateful.

Yes! though the exterior be rude and repellent, yet to you I owe it that I
am kept from greater sin; you, against whom my whole nature rebels ... how
I ought to love you!


XXXIX.

Who is anxious for a beloved one's eternal welfare?

We interest ourselves for their success, their prosperity; we ask GOD to
keep them from harm and misfortune; we try to start them well in the
world, to make them of reputation, to procure them pleasure.

To spare them trouble, we sacrifice our own ease and enjoyment....

Oh, that is all very beautiful, very right; but what should we do for the
soul?

Do we pray to GOD that this soul may become humble, pure, devoted?

Do we take as much pains to procure him the little devotional book that
will really help him, as we should to obtain a transient pleasure?

Do we help him, unseen, towards that act of charity, humiliation, or
self-renunciation? Have we courage not to spare the soul the trial that we
know will purify?

Does it seem too hard for you?

Ah! then you do not know what real love is. Does not GOD love us? Yet GOD
lets us suffer; even sends the suffering.

Love is given us to help us onwards, nearer to GOD. The most blessed is
that which draws us nearest to Him; and in proportion as it leads to GOD
we realize its blessedness.

The essence of true love is not its _tenderness_, but its strength, power
of endurance, its purity, its self-renunciation.

The mistake we make is when we seek to be beloved, instead of loving. What
makes us cowardly is the fear of losing that love.

Never forget this: A selfish heart desires love for itself; a Christian
heart delights to love--without return.


XL.

To learn never to waste our time is perhaps one of the most difficult
virtues to acquire.

A well-spent day is a source of pleasure. To be constantly employed, and
never asking, "What shall I do?" is the secret of much goodness and
happiness.

Begin, then, with promptitude, act decisively, persevere; if interrupted,
be amiable, and return to the work unruffled, finish it carefully--these
will be the signs of a virtuous soul.


XLI.

Are you full of peace? _Pray!_ Prayer will preserve it to you.

Are you tempted? _Pray!_ Prayer will sustain you.

Have you fallen? _Pray!_ Prayer will raise you.

Are you discouraged? _Pray!_ Prayer will reassure and comfort you.


XLII.

The young are seldom forbearing, because they so little understand the
frailties of poor human nature.

Oh! if you could only witness the terrible struggles passing in the heart
of that friend whose vivacity annoys you, whose fickleness provokes you,
whose faults sometimes even make you blush....

Oh! if you saw the tears that are shed in secret, the vexation felt
against self (perhaps on your account), you would indeed pity them. Love
them! make allowances for them! never let them feel that you know their
failings.

To make any one believe himself good, is to help him almost in spite of
self to become so.

       *       *       *       *       *

Forbearance is even _more_ than forgiveness; it is excusing, putting
always the best construction upon everything; above all, never showing
that some proceeding has wounded us; speaking of any one who has vexed us
thus: "She did not think, else she would have acted differently; she never
meant to pain me, she loves me too much; she was perhaps unable to do
otherwise, and yet suffers at the thought of having displeased me."

For a wounded heart no balm is so efficacious as forbearance.

_To forbear_ is to forget every night the little vexations of the past
day; to say every morning: "To-day I shall be braver and calmer than
yesterday." Forbearance even sometimes leads us to detect in ourselves a
little want of good nature, condescension, and charity.

_To forbear_ is not only freely to forgive, but to meet half-way, with
extended hand, those who timidly ask for pardon.


XLIII.

My friend, do you know why the work you accomplish fails either to give
pleasure to yourself or others?

It is because it is not cheerfully done, and therefore appears discolored.

A joyous heart amid our work imparts to duty a brilliancy that charms the
eyes of others, while it prevents those feeling wounded who cannot perform
it equally well.

Joy, with us, is like a lever, by which we lift the weights that without
its help would crush us.

A workman once said: "If I were to leave off singing, I should be quite
unequal to my business."

Then sing always; let your heart sing as in its earliest years.

The refrain of the heart, which perhaps never passes the lips, but which
echoes in heaven, is this sentence:--

"I love and I am beloved!"


XLIV.

What regret we sometimes feel, after the death or departure of friends, at
never having shown them the respect, the gratitude, we felt towards them,
and how from the depths of our heart we are filled with tenderness and
affection for them!

It may have been that at times we could not speak, because we thought too
much of _how_ to say it.

Another time we lost the opportunity, because we were always shirking it.
Deep devotion is sometimes a little erratic; always afraid of doing too
little, doing it badly or inopportunely. Oftener still the tokens of
affection are checked, because we think we could show it in some better
way; we put off till brighter days the dreams we cherished, the sweet
yearning to open the heart to the loved ones, and let them see for once
what a large place they fill there.

Alas! the days fly past, suddenly comes death, or, sadder still,
separation without hope of return, leaving the bitter thought: "Others
will show them better than I have done, how dear, how valued, they are."
Ah! when we can be loving _to-day_, never let us say, "I will love
to-morrow;" when we have the opportunity of being grateful, never put off,
for _one_ hour, the proof of our gratitude!

       *       *       *       *       *

CONCLUSION

Lacordaire, in preparing for a retreat in the country, said he only
required for his realization of a dream of happiness and solitude, three
things,--(1) GOD; (2) a friend; (3) books.

_God!_--We never fail to find Him when we are pure, holy, and fulfilling
hourly our duty.

_A Friend!_--Responds always to the heart's call, if only that heart be
loving and devoted.

_Books!_--Oh! if only this little book of _Gold Dust_ might be allowed to
form one of the numbers of those that are carried away, far from the
world's turmoil, and read in order to gain a little help and peace!

It will take up _so_ little room!



GOLD DUST

_SECOND PART_


I.

THE FRIENDLY WHISPER

Under this title we commence a series of short counsels for each day of
the week, which will be as a friendly whisper, the voice of a Guardian
Angel, inspiring, as occasion presents itself, some good action, some
self-denial, some little sacrifice.

We recommend that it should be placed on the writing-table, in the book we
most frequently turn to, or wherever it is most likely to meet the eye.
What is so often the one thing wanting to some devout person devoted to
doing good? Simply to be _reminded_.


MONDAY

CHARITY

Be good-natured, benevolent, keep up a cheerful expression of countenance,
even when alone.

That clumsiness, those brusque, rude manners, let them pass without
notice.

When wishes contrary to your own prevail, yield without ill-humor, or even
showing your effort; you will give pleasure, and thus be pleased yourself.

Try to please, to console, to amuse, to bestow, to thank, to help. That is
all in itself so good!

Try to do some good to the souls of others! An earnest word, some
encouragement, a prayer softly breathed.

Overcome your dislike and aversion to certain persons; do not shun them,
on the contrary go and meet them. GOD goes before you.

Be courteous even to the troublesome individual who is always in your way.
GOD sends him to you.

Forgive at once. Do you believe harm was intended? If so, is it not the
greater merit?

Do not refuse your alms, only let your motives be pure; and in giving,
give as to GOD.

Do not judge the guilty harshly; pity, and pray for them.

Why imagine evil intentions against yourself? cannot you see how the
thought troubles and disquiets you?

Check the ironical smile hovering about your lips; you will grieve the
object of it. Why cause any one pain?

Lend yourself to all. GOD will not suffer you to be taken advantage of if
you are prompted by the spirit of Charity.


TUESDAY

THE DIVINE PRESENCE

Never separate yourself from GOD. How sweet it is to live always near
those who love us!

You cannot see GOD, but He is there; just as if some friend were separated
from you by a curtain, which does not prevent his seeing you, and which at
any moment may unfold and disclose him to your view.

When the soul is unstained by sin, and if we remain still and recollected,
we can perceive GOD'S presence in the heart, just as we see daylight
penetrating a room. We may not be always conscious of this Presence, but
imperceptibly it influences all our actions. Oh! however heavy may be the
burden you have to bear, does it not at once become light beneath the gaze
of that FATHER'S eye?

The thought of GOD is never wearisome; why not always cherish it? Go on,
without trembling, beneath the Eye of GOD; never fear to smile, love,
hope, and enjoy all that makes life sweet.

GOD rejoices in our pleasures as a mother in the joys of her child.

What is contrary to GOD'S Will, grieves Him, and does you harm, that alone
you need fear,--the thought that will stain your soul; the wish that
troubles your heart; that unwholesome action, that will weaken your
intellect, and destroy your peace.

Never long for what GOD sees fit to deny.

GOD, beside you, will repair your blunders, provide means whereby you may
atone for that sinful action by one more virtuous, wipe away the tears
caused by some unmerited reproof or unkind word.

You have only to close your eyes for a moment, examine yourself, and
softly murmur, "LORD, help me!"

Can you not hear GOD'S Voice speaking to you? What! when He says: _Bear
this, I am here to aid thee_; you will refuse?

He says: _Continue another half-hour the work that wearies thee_; and you
would stop?

He says: _Do not that_; and you do it?

He says: _Let us tread together the path of obedience_; and you answer:
No?


WEDNESDAY

SELF-RENUNCIATION

Do not be afraid of that word _Renunciation_. To you, perhaps, it only
means, weariness, restraint, ennui.

But it means also, love, perfection, sanctification.

       *       *       *       *       *

Who cannot renounce, cannot love.

Who cannot renounce, cannot become perfect.

Who cannot renounce, cannot be made holy.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Self-renunciation_ means devotion to our duty, going on with it in spite
of difficulties, disgust, ennui, want of success.

_Self-renunciation_ is self-sacrifice, under whatever form it presents
itself,--_prayer_, _labor_, _love_ ... all that would be an obstacle, not
merely to its accomplishment, but its perfection.

_Self-renunciation_ is to root out all that encumbers the heart, all that
impedes the free action of the Holy Spirit within--longings after an
imaginary perfection or well-being, unreal sentiments that trouble us in
prayer, in work, in slumber, that fascinate us, but the result of which is
to destroy all real application.

_Self-renunciation_ is to resist all the allurements of the senses, that
would only give pleasure to self, and satisfy the conscience, by
whispering, "_It is no sin._" _Self-renunciation_, in short, is
destroying, even at the risk of much heart-rending, all in our heart,
mind, imagination, that could be displeasing to GOD.

Renunciation is not one single action, that when once accomplished we
experience relief; it means a constant _sacrifice_, _restraint_,
_resisting_, _rending_, each hour, each moment, during our whole life.

But is not this a worry, a continual torment? No; not if the moving spring
be love or godly fear....

Do you consider it a trouble when you make yourself less comfortable to
make room for a friend who visits you?

Well! there are times when GOD would make you sensible of His Presence. He
is with you, and to retain Him close, Who is all Purity, will you not be
more modest in your behavior?

If you would receive Him into your heart at Holy Communion, will you not
make room for Him, by rooting out that affection He has pointed out to you
as dangerous, that interest, that desire, that worldly, sensual
attachment?

Oh! if you only _really_ loved.

Would you call it _torture_ or _constraint_, the energy with which you
shatter some poisoned cup you were almost enticed to drink?

Well! when encountering the attractive enjoyment, the material delight,
which might lead you astray, or the siren voice which would allure you
from your duty for a moment--then when conscience whispers, "_Beware_," ...
would you be cowardly?

Alas, it is slowly and surely that the stream carries on to destruction
the blossom that has fallen into its current.

It is little by little that pleasure leads on to sin the heart that lets
itself be lulled by its charms.


THURSDAY

SUBMISSION

As soon as you awake in the morning, try to realize GOD stretching forth
His Hand towards you, and saying, _Dost thou really desire that I should
watch over thee this day?_ and you lift up your hands towards this kind
FATHER, and say to Him, "Yes, yes, lead me, guide me, love me; I will be
very submissive!"

Beneath GOD'S protecting Hand, is it possible that you can be sorrowful,
fearful, unhappy?

No; GOD will allow no suffering, no trial, above what you are able to
bear.

Then pass through the day, quietly and calmly, even as when a little child
you had your mother always beside you.

You need only be careful about _one_ thing, _never to displease God_, and
you will see how lovingly GOD will direct all that concerns you--material
interests, sympathies, worldly cares; you will be astonished at the sudden
enlightenment that will come to you, and the wondrous peace that will
result from your labor and your toil.

Then, welcome trial, sickness, ennui, privations, injustice ... all of it
can only come directed by GOD'S Hand, and will wound the soul only in
order to cleanse some spot within.

Would your mother have given you a bitter dose merely for the sake of
causing you suffering?

If your duty is hard, owing either to its difficulty or the distaste you
feel towards it, lift your heart to GOD and say, "_Lord, help me_," ...
then go on with it, even though you seem to do it imperfectly.

Should one of those moments of vague misgivings, that leave the soul as it
were in utter darkness, come to overwhelm you, call upon GOD, as a child
in terror cries out to its mother.

If you have sinned, oh! even then be not afraid of the merciful GOD, but
with eyes full of tears, say to Him, "Pardon me" ... and add softly,
"chastise me soon, O LORD!"

Yes, yes, dear one, be always at peace, going on quietly with your daily
duties ... more than that, be always joyous.

And why not?

You who have no longer a mother to love you, and yet crave for love, GOD
will be as a mother. You who have no brother to help you, and have so much
need of support, GOD will be your brother. You who have no friends to
comfort you, and stand so much in need of consolation, GOD will be your
friend.

Preserve always the _childlike simplicity_ which goes direct to GOD, and
speak to Him as you would speak to your mother.

Keep that open _confidence_ that tells Him your projects, troubles, joys,
as you tell them to a brother.

Cherish those _loving words_ that speak of all the happiness you feel,
living in dependence upon Him, and trusting in His Love, just as you would
tell it to the friend of your childhood.

Keep the _generous heart of childhood_ which gives all you have to GOD.
Let Him freely take whatever He pleases, all within and around you. Will
only what He wills, desiring only what is in accordance with His Will, and
finding nothing impossible that He commands.

Do you not feel something soothing and consoling in these thoughts? The
longer you live, the better you will understand that true happiness is
only to be found in a life devoted to GOD, and given up entirely to His
Guidance.

No! no! none can harm you, unless it be GOD'S Will, and if He allows it;
be patient and humble, weep if your heart is sore, but love always, and
wait ... the trial will pass away, but GOD will remain yours forever.


FRIDAY

PRAYER

Oh, if you only knew what it is to pray! oh, if GOD would only give you
the grace to love prayer! What peace to your soul, what love in your
heart!

What joy would shine in your countenance, even though the tears streamed
from your eyes!

_Prayer_, as the first cry escapes the lips, indicates to GOD that some
one would speak to Him, and GOD, so good and gracious, is ever ready to
listen (with all reverence we say it), with the prompt attention of a
faithful servant, He manifests Himself to the soul with ineffable love,
and says to it, "Behold Me, thou hast called Me, what dost thou desire of
Me?"

_To pray_ is to remain, so long as our prayer lasts, in the Presence of
GOD, with the certainty that we can never weary Him, no matter what may be
the subject of our prayer, or at those times when we are speechless, and
as in the case of the good peasant quoted by the Curé d'Ars, we are
content to place ourselves before GOD, with only the recollection of His
Presence.

_To pray_ is to act towards GOD as the child does to its mother, the poor
man towards the rich, eager to do him good, the friend towards his friend,
who longs to show him affection.

_Prayer_ is the key to all celestial treasures; by it we penetrate into
the midst of all the joy, strength, mercy, and goodness Divine, ... we
receive our well-being from all around us, as the sponge plunged into the
ocean imbibes without an effort the water that surrounds it ... this joy,
strength, mercy, and goodness become our own.

Oh, yes! if you knew how to pray, and loved prayer, how good, useful,
fruitful, and meritorious would be your life!

Nothing so elevates the soul as prayer.

GOD, so condescending to the soul, raises it with Him to the regions of
light and love, and then, the prayer finished, the soul returns to its
daily duties with a more enlightened mind, a more earnest will. It is
filled with radiance divine, and sheds of its abundance upon all who
approach.

If you would succeed in your study, with the success that sanctifies,
_pray_ before commencing.

If you would succeed in your intercourse with others, pray before becoming
intimate.

Nothing so smooths and sweetens life as _Prayer_.

There is the _solitary_ prayer, when the soul isolated from all creatures
is alone with GOD and feels thus towards Him: "GOD and I;" _God_ to love;
_I_ to adore, praise, glorify, thank.

_God_ to bestow, _I_ humbly to receive, to renounce, ask, hope, submit!...

Ah! who can tell all that passes between the soul and its GOD?

There is the _united_ prayer of two friends, bound together by a holy
friendship, their desires and thoughts are one, and as one they present
themselves before GOD, crying, "Have mercy upon me!"

There is the prayer of two hearts separated by distance, made at the same
hour in the same words. Soothing prayer, that each day reunites those two
sad hearts torn by the agony of parting, and who in GOD'S Presence,
strengthened with the same HOLY SPIRIT, recover courage to tread the road
to heaven, each in its appointed sphere.

Then there is Public Prayer, that which has the special promise of GOD'S
Presence; prayer so comforting to the feeble, guilty soul, who can cry in
very truth, "My prayer ascends to GOD, supported by the prayers of
others."

Oh! if you knew how to pray, and loved prayer, how happy and faithful
would be your life!


SATURDAY

EARNESTNESS

You love GOD, do you not, dear one, whom GOD surrounds with so much
affection?

Yes, yes! I love Him!

And how do you prove to Him your love?

I keep myself pure and innocent, so that His Eye falling upon me may never
see anything that displeases Him. I keep myself calm and quiet, and force
myself to smile that He may see I am contented.

_That is right, but that is not enough._

I think often of how much I owe Him, and apply myself diligently to the
work He has given me to do; I bear patiently with those I dislike, with
troubles that irritate me; when I am weak I call upon Him, when timid I
draw near to Him, when sinful I implore pardon, and strive to do my duty
more faithfully.

_That is right, but that is not enough._

I lend myself to the importunities of others. I am as a slave to those who
need me, and take care never to judge any one harshly.

_That is right, but still it is not enough._

Ah! then what more can I do, good angel, thus addressing me, what can I do
to show my love to GOD?

Devote thyself to doing good to the souls of others.

Oh, if you knew how it pleases GOD to see you laboring for them! It is
like the joy of a mother, every time she sees some one benefiting her
child.

How thankful she is to those who nursed it in sickness, spared it pain,
showed it some token of affection, a counsel, a warning, that gave it
pleasure, by a kind word, a plaything, a smile!

All this you may do in that circle, more or less extended, in which you
live.

Leave to GOD'S minister, if you will, the work of converting souls, and
limit your efforts to doing good by bringing yourself into communion with
them.

To do so, means sweetly, unconsciously, softly, speak to them of GOD,
carry them to GOD, lead them to GOD.

This may be done by gently, tenderly--by inference as it were--speaking to
them of GOD, thus leading them towards Him, bringing them into contact
with Him.

Hearts are drawn together by talking of their kindred pursuits, souls by
speaking of heavenly things.

It is not necessary for this purpose to pronounce the name of GOD; it will
suffice that the words shall lift the soul beyond this material world and
its sensual enjoyments, and raise them upwards to that supernatural
atmosphere necessary to the real life.

Speak of the happiness of devotion, the charm of purity, the blessing of
the few minutes' meditation at the feet of JESUS, the peace procured by
entire resignation to Providence, and the sweetness of a life spent
beneath GOD'S Fatherly Eye, the comfort the thought of heaven brings in
the midst of trouble, the hope of the meeting again above, the certainty
of eternal happiness. This is doing good to others, drawing them nearer to
GOD, and teaching them more and more of holiness.

Limit your efforts to this; later on I will tell you what more you may do.


SUNDAY

SYMPATHY

Welcome with joy each week the day that GOD has called His day.

To each day of the week GOD has given its special mission, its share of
pleasure and of pain, necessary to purify and fortify and prepare us for
eternity.

But _Sunday_ is a day of _Love_.

On Saturday we lay aside our garments faded and stained by toil, and on
Sunday we array ourselves in garments, not only fresher, but more choice
and graceful.

Why not prepare the heart, even as we do the body?

During the week has not the heart been wearied with petty strife and
discontent, interests marred, bitter words?

Then, why not shake off all this, that only chills affection? On the
Saturday let us forgive freely, press the hand warmly, embrace each other;
and then peace being restored within, we await the morrow's awakening.

Sunday is GOD'S day of truce for all. That day, laying aside all revenge
and ill-feeling, we must be filled with forbearance, indulgence, and
amiability.

Oh! how good for us to feel _obliged_ to be reconciled, and each Sunday
renews the obligation.

Let us leave no time for coldness and indifference to grow upon us ... it
only engenders hatred, and that once established in the heart, oh! how
hard is it to cast out again!

It is like a hideous cancer whose ravages no remedies can stay.

It is as the venomous plant that the gardener can never entirely
eradicate. Only by a miracle can hatred be destroyed. At once then let us
place a barrier in our hearts against the approach of coolness or
indifference, and each Saturday night the head of the family shall thus
address us: "Children, to-night we forgive, to-night we forget, and
to-morrow begin life afresh in love, one towards another."


II.

When I have sinned, wrote a pious soul, I feel chastisement will fall upon
me, and as if I could hide myself from GOD'S Eye. I _shrink_ into myself,
and then I pray, I pray, and the chastisement not being sent, I again
expand.

_Chastisement_ is like a stone threatening to crush me; _Prayer_ is the
hand that withholds it while I make atonement.

Oh! how can those live peacefully who never pray?


III.

OUR DEAD

They are not all there--our dead--buried in the churchyard, beneath the
grave, o'ershadowed by a cross, and round which the roses bloom.

There are others which nothing can recall; they are things which belong to
the _heart_ alone, and there alas! have found a tomb.

Peace surrounds me to-day; and here in my lone chamber I will invoke them,
my much-loved dead. Come!

       *       *       *       *       *

The first that present themselves are _the sweet years of childhood_, so
fresh, so guileless, so happy.

They were made up of loving caresses, bountiful rewards, and fearless
confidence: the words, _pain_, _danger_, _care_, were unknown; they
brought me simple pleasures, happy days without a thought for the morrow,
and only required from me a little obedience.

Alas! they are dead ... and what numberless things have they carried with
them! What a void they have left!

Candor, lightheartedness, simplicity, no longer find a place within!

Family ties, so true, so wide, so light, have all vanished!

The homely hearth, the simple reward earned by the day's industry,
maternal chidings, forgiveness so ingenuously sought, so freely given,
promises of amendment, so sincere, so joyously received.... Is this all
gone forever? can I never recall them?

The vision that follows is that of my _early piety_, simple and full of
faith, which was as some good angel o'ershadowing me with its snowy wings,
and showing me GOD everywhere, in all, and with all.

The good GOD, Who each day provides my daily bread!

The GOD, Who spared my mother in sickness, and relieved her when she
suffered--GOD, Who shielded me from harm when I did right!

The GOD, Who sees all, knows all, and is Omnipotent, Whom I loved with all
my heart.

Alas! faithful, simple piety, thou art dead; in innocence alone couldst
thou live!

Next comes _the love of my earliest years_. Love in childhood, love in
youth, so full of true, simple joy, that initiated me in the sweet
pleasure of devotion, that taught me self-denial in order to give
pleasure, that destroyed all egotism, by showing me the happiness of
living for others.

Love of my childhood, love of my youth, so pure, so holy, on which I
always reckoned when they spoke to me of trouble, loneliness, depression
... thou also art dead.

An involuntary coolness, an unfounded suspicion never cleared, an
ill-natured story ... all these have destroyed that child of Heaven. I
knew it was tender, and I cherished it, but I could not believe it to be
so frail.

I could make a long list of all the dead enshrined in my heart! Oh, you
who are still young, upon whom GOD has lavished all the gifts that are
lost to me,--candor, simplicity, innocence, love, devotion ... guard, oh,
guard these treasures, and that they may never die, place them beneath the
shelter of _Prayer_.


IV.

THE SPIRITUAL LIFE

What a sweet life is that! The maintaining, strengthening it, has a
softening influence; and it is a labor that never wearies, never deceives,
but gives each day fresh cause for joy.

In the language of devotion, it is called the _interior life_; and it is
our purpose to point out minutely its nature, excellence, means, and
hindrances.

Let no one think the interior life is incompatible with the life domestic
and social, which is often so engrossing; just as the action of the heart
maintained by the constant flow of blood in no way affects the outward
movements, so is it with the life of the soul, which consists chiefly in
the action of GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT within, that never hinders our social
duties, but on the contrary is a help towards fulfilling them more calmly,
more perfectly.

       *       *       *       *       *

NATURE OF THE INTERIOR LIFE

The interior life is an abiding sense of GOD'S Presence, a constant union
with Him.

We learn to look upon the heart as the temple where GOD dwells, sometimes
glorious as above, sometimes hidden as in the Holy Eucharist; and we act,
think, speak, and fulfil all our duties, as in His Presence.

Its aim is to shun sin, and cultivate a detachment from all earthly things
by a spirit of poverty; sensual pleasures by purity and mortification;
pride by humility; dissipation by recollection.

As a rule, people are prejudiced against an interior life. Some are afraid
of it, and look upon it as a life of bondage, sacrifice, and restraint:
others despise it, as nothing but a multiplicity of trifling rules,
tending only to narrow-mindedness and uselessness, and fit only for weak
minds. In consequence they are on their guard against it, and avoid the
books that treat of it.

They would serve GOD no doubt, but they will not subject themselves to the
entire guidance of His Spirit; in short, it is far easier to bring a soul
from a state of sin to that of grace, than it is to lead a busy, active,
zealous person to the hidden, contemplative life of the soul.

       *       *       *       *       *

EXCELLENCE OF THE INTERIOR LIFE

GOD dwelling within us, the life of CHRIST Himself, when on earth, living
always in His FATHER'S Presence.

It is the life of which S. Paul speaks when he says, "nevertheless I live;
yet not I, but CHRIST liveth in me."

All saints must lead this life, and their degree of holiness is in
proportion to the perfection of their union with GOD.

CHRIST animates their souls, even as the soul animates the body.

They own CHRIST as Master, Counsellor, and Guide; and nothing is done
without submitting it to Him, and imploring His aid and approval.

CHRIST is their strength, their refuge, their defender.

They live in constant dependence upon Him, as their Father, Protector, and
all-powerful King.

They are drawn to Him, as the child is drawn by love, the poor by need.

They let themselves be guided by Him, as the blind let themselves be led
by the child in whom they confide; they bear all suffering that comes from
Him, as the sick, in order to be healed, bear suffering at the hands of a
physician; and they lean on Him, as the child leans on its mother's
breast.

It lifts them above the troubles and miseries of life; the whole world may
seem a prey to calamities; themselves, deprived of their goods through
injustice or accident; they lose their relations through death, their
friends through treachery or forgetfulness, their reputation and honor
from slander, a serious illness deprives them of health, their happiness
is destroyed by hardness and temptations.... Ah! no doubt, they will have
these trials, no doubt they must shed bitter tears, but still GOD'S peace
will remain to them, the peace that passeth all understanding; they will
realize GOD has ordered it, guided it with His Hand Divine, and they will
be able to exclaim with joy, "Thou art left to us, and Thou art
all-sufficient!"

       *       *       *       *       *

ACTS OF THE INTERIOR LIFE

1. _See God_, that is to say, be always realizing His Presence, feeling
Him near, as the friend from Whom we would never be separated, in work, in
prayer, in recreation, in repose. GOD is not importunate, He never
wearies, He is so gracious and merciful, His Hand directs everything, and
He will not "suffer us to be tempted above that we are able."

2. _Listen to God_: be attentive to His counsels, His warnings; we hear
His Voice in those Gospel words that recur to our minds, in the good
thoughts that suddenly dawn on us, the devout words that meet us in some
book, on a sheet of paper, or falling from the lips of a preacher, a
friend, or even a stranger.

3. _Speak to God_: hold converse with Him, more with the heart than the
lips, in the early morning's meditation, ejaculatory prayer, vocal prayer,
and above all in Holy Communion.

4. _Love God_: be devoted to Him, and Him alone; have no affection apart
from Him; restrain the love that would estrange us from Him; _lend_
ourselves to all, out of love to Him, but _give_ ourselves to Him alone.

5. _Think of God_: reject whatever excludes the thought of Him. Of course,
we must fulfil our daily duties, accomplishing them with all the
perfection of which we are capable; but they must be done as beneath the
Eye of GOD, with the thought that GOD has commanded them, and that to do
them carefully is pleasing in His sight.

       *       *       *       *       *

MEANS BY WHICH TO ATTAIN THE INTERIOR LIFE

1. _Great tenderness of Conscience_, secured by constant, regular, and
earnest confession to GOD, a hatred of all sin, imperfection, infidelity,
by calmly but resolutely fleeing every occasion of it.

2. _Great purity of heart_, by detachment from all earthly things,--wealth,
luxuries, fame, kindred, friends, tastes, even life itself ... not that we
need fail in love to our kindred and friends, but we must only let the
thought of them abide in the heart as united to the love and thought of
GOD.

3. _Great purity of mind_, carefully excluding from it all useless,
distracting thoughts as to past, present, or future; all preoccupation
over some pet employment; all desire to be known, and thought well of.

4. _Great purity of action_, only undertaking what lies in the path of
duty; controlling natural eagerness and activity; acting soberly, with the
help of the HOLY SPIRIT, the thought that by our deeds we glorify GOD:
pausing for a moment, when passing from one occupation to another, in
order to direct aright the intention; and taking care to be always
occupied in what is useful and beneficial.

5. _Great recollectedness and self-mortification_; avoiding, as much as we
can in keeping with our social position, all dissipation, bustle,
disturbance; never allowing voluntarily, useless desires, looks, words, or
pleasures, but placing them under the rule of reason, decorum,
edification, and love; taking care that our prayers be said slowly and
carefully, articulating each word, and trying to _feel_ the truth of what
we are saying.

6. _Great care and exactitude_ in all the ordinary actions of life, above
all in the exercises of religion; leaving nothing to chance or hazard;
beholding in everything GOD'S overruling Will, and saying to one's self
sometimes, as the hour for such and such duty arrives, "I must hasten, GOD
is calling me."

7. _Much intercourse with God_; speaking to Him with simplicity, loving
Him dearly, always consulting Him, rendering to Him an account of every
action, thanking Him constantly, and above all, drawing near to Him with
joy in the Holy Eucharist. One great help towards such sweet communion
with GOD, will be found in a steady perseverance in the early morning's
meditation.

8. _Much love for our neighbor_, because he is the much-loved child of
GOD, praying for him, comforting, teaching, strengthening, and helping him
in all difficulties.

       *       *       *       *       *

HINDRANCES TO THE INTERIOR LIFE

1. _Natural activity_, always urging us on, and making us too precipitate
in all our actions.

It shows itself:--

_In our projects_, which it multiplies, heaps up, reforms, and upsets. It
allows of no rest, until what it has undertaken is accomplished.

_In our actions._ Activity is absolutely necessary to us. We load
ourselves with a thousand things beyond our duty, sometimes even contrary
to it. Everything is done with impetuosity and haste, anxiety and
impatience to see the end.

_In our conversation._ Activity makes us speak without thinking,
interrupting rudely, reproving hastily, judging without appreciation. We
speak loudly, disputing, murmuring, and losing our temper.

_In prayer._ We burden ourselves with numberless prayers, repeated
carelessly, without attention, and with impatience to get to the end of
them; it interferes with our meditations, wearies, torments, fatigues the
brain, drying up the soul, and hindering the work of the HOLY SPIRIT.

2. _Curiosity_ lays the soul open to all external things, fills it with a
thousand fancies and questionings, pleasing or vexatious, absorbing the
mind, and making it quite impossible to retire within one's self and be
recollected. Then follow distaste, sloth, and ennui for all that savors of
silence, retirement, and meditation.

Curiosity shows itself, when _studies_ are undertaken from vanity, a
desire to know all things, and to pass as clever, rather than the real
wish to learn in order to be useful--in _reading_, when the spare time is
given up to history, papers, and novels--in _walking_, when our steps would
lead us where the crowd go to see, to know, only in order to have
something to retail; in fact, it manifests itself in a thousand little
actions; for instance, pressing forward with feverish haste to open a
letter addressed to us, longing eagerly to see anything that presents
itself, always being the first to tell any piece of news.... When we
forget GOD, He is driven from the heart, leaving it void, and then ensues
that wild craving to fill up the void with anything with which we may come
into contact.

3. _Cowardice._ GOD does not forbid patient, submissive pleading, but
murmuring fears are displeasing to Him, and He withdraws from the soul
that will not lean on Him. Cowardice manifests itself when in the _trials
of life_ we rebel against the Divine will that sends us illness, calumny,
privation, desertion; when in _dryness of soul_ we leave off our prayers
and communions because we feel no sensible sweetness in them; when we feel
a sickness of the soul that makes us uneasy, and fearful that GOD has
forsaken us.

The soul estranged from GOD seeks diversion in the world; but in the midst
of the world, GOD is not to be found; when temptations come, wearied,
frightened, and tormented, we wander farther and farther away from Him,
crying, "I am forsaken," when the trial has really been sent in order to
keep us on our guard, prevent our becoming proud, and offering us an
opportunity for showing our love.


V.

THE LESSON OF A DAISY

I saw her from afar, poor child; she looked dreamy as she leaned against
the window, and held in her hand a daisy, which she was questioning by
gradually pulling it to pieces. What she wanted to ascertain I cannot
tell; I only heard in a low murmur, falling from her pale lips, these
words: "_a little, a great deal, passionately, not __ at all_," as each
petal her fingers pulled away fell fluttering at her feet.

I could see her from a distance, and I felt touched.

Poor child, why do you tell a flower the thought that troubles you? have
you no mother?

Why be anxious about the future? have you not GOD to prepare it for you,
as tenderly as eighteen years ago your mother prepared your cradle?

Finally, when the daisy was all but gone, when her fingers stopped at the
last petal, and her lips murmured the word _little_, she dropped her head
upon her arms, discouraged, and, poor child, she wept!

       *       *       *       *       *

Why weep, my child? is it because this word does not please you?

Let me, let me, in the name of the simple daisy you have just destroyed,
give you the experience of my old age.

Oh! if you only knew what it costs to have _much_ of anything!

_A great deal of wit_ often results in spitefulness which makes us cruel
and unjust, in jealousy that torments, in deception that sullies all our
triumphs, and pride which is never satisfied.

_A great deal of heart_ causes uneasiness which vexes, pain that rends
asunder, grief that nearly kills ... sometimes even the judgment is
deceived.

_A great deal of attractiveness_ means often a consuming vanity,
overwhelming deception, an insatiable desire to please, a fear of being
unappreciated, a loss of peace, domestic life much neglected.

_A great deal of wealth and success_ is the cause of luxury that
enfeebles, loss of calm, quiet happiness, loss of love, leaving only the
flattery that captivates.

No, no, my child, never long for _a great deal_ in this life, unless it be
for much forbearance, much goodness.

And if it should be GOD'S Will to give you _much_ of anything, then, oh,
pray it may never be to your condemnation!

       *       *       *       *       *

Is _Passionately_ the word you long for? Passionately! oh, the harm that
is done by that word! there is something in the thought of it that makes
me shudder. Passionately means transport, frenzy, excess in everything.

The life that the word _passionately_ describes must be a life full of
risks and dangers; and if, by little short of a miracle, nothing outwardly
wrong appears, the inner life must resemble a palace ravaged by fire,
where the stranger sees nothing but cracked walls, blackened furniture,
and drapery hanging in shreds.

       *       *       *       *       *

My child, I would prefer for you the words _not at all_, as applied to
fortune, external charms, and all that goes by the name of glory, success,
and fascination in the world. I know it may seem a hard sentence,
involving a continual self-denial, and exacting incessant hard labor to
obtain the bare necessities of life for those we love.

But do not be afraid of it. GOD never leaves His creatures in absolute
need. GOD may deprive a face of beauty, a character of amiability, a mind
of brilliancy, but He will never take away a heart of love; with the
faculty of loving, He adds the power of prayer, and the promise always to
listen to and answer it.

As long as we can love and pray, life has charms for us.

Love produces devotion, and devotion brings happiness, even though we may
not understand it.

In prayer we feel we are beloved; and the love of GOD, oh, if only you
knew how it compensates for the indifference of our fellow-creatures!

       *       *       *       *       *

There now only remains to us the last words of the daisy, _a little_! the
loving fatherly answer GOD has given to your childish curiosity.

Accept it, and make it the motto of your life!

_A little_; moderation in wealth and fortune, a condition that promises
the most peaceful life, free from anxiety for the future--doubtless
requiring daily duties, but permitting many innocent enjoyments.

_A little_; moderation in our desires, contentment with what we possess,
making the most of it, and repressing all vain dreams of a more brilliant
position, a more extended reputation, a more famous name.

_A little_; the affection of a heart devoted to duty, and kindling joy in
the family circle, composed of kindred to love, friends to cheer, poor to
succor, hearts to strengthen, sufferings to alleviate.

_A little_; a taste for all that is beautiful,--books, works of art, music,
not making us idly dream of fame, but simply providing enjoyment for the
mind, all the more keen, as the daily toil renders the occasions rare.

Do you see, my child, how much may lie beneath those simple words, _a
little_, that the daisy gave you, and that you seem so much to despise!

Never scorn anything that seems wanting in brilliancy, and remember to be
really happy we must have--

    More _virtue_ than knowledge,
    More _love_ than tenderness,
    More _guidance_ than cleverness,
    More _health_ than riches,
    More _repose_ than profit.


VI.

Each day is like a furrow lying before us; our thoughts, desires, and
actions are the seed that each minute we drop into it, without seeming to
perceive it. The furrow finished, we commence upon another, then another,
and again another; each day presents a fresh one, and so on to the end of
life ... sowing, ever sowing. And all we have sown springs up, grows and
bears fruit, almost unknown to us; even if by chance we cast a backward
glance we fail to recognize our work.

Behind us angels and demons, like gleaners, gather together in sheaves all
that belongs to them.

Every night their store is increased. They preserve it, and at the last
day will present it to their Master.

Is there not a thought in this that should make us reflect?


VII.

"LEARN OF ME, FOR I AM MEEK AND LOWLY OF HEART"

This is a simple rule of life for me, requiring no more than I am able;
but I feel it unites me to GOD, makes me more devout, more faithful to
duty, more ready for death. Since I have made it my rule, it has been to
me a source of consolation, enlightenment, and strength; and yet GOD alone
knows how full of pain my life has been!

Dear friends, who, like myself, long to become holy, I commend this
sentence to you in all its simplicity; listen, for it comes from the
loving Heart of JESUS, it fell from His gentle Lips:--

"Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart."


I. BE MEEK

1. MEEK TOWARDS GOD

Living from day to day beneath His Eye, and where all things are ordered
by a Divine Providence.

As carefully as a mother arranges the room where her child will pass the
day, does GOD prepare each hour that opens before me. Whatever has to be
done, it is His Will that I should do it; and in order that it should be
done well, He provides the necessary time, intelligence, aptitude, and
knowledge.

Whatever of suffering presents itself, He expects me to bear it, even
though I may not see any reason for it; and if the pain be so sharp as to
call forth a cry, He gently whispers, "Courage, My child, for it is My
will!"

If anything occurs to hinder my work, anything goes contrary to my plans
and projects, He has ordained it so on purpose, because He knows that too
much success would make me proud, too much ease would make me sensual; and
He would teach me that the road to heaven is not _success_, but _labor and
devotion_.

With such thoughts as these all rebellion is hushed! With what peace, what
joy, our work may be begun, continued, interrupted, and resumed!

With what energy we reject those enemies that assail us at every
hour,--idleness, haste, preoccupation, success, want of perseverance under
difficulties!

Does the past sometimes rise up to trouble me with the thought of the many
years spent without GOD?

Ah! no doubt the shame and grief are sharp and keen, but why need they
disturb my peace of mind?

Has not GOD promised His pardon for His blessed SON'S sake, to all who
truly repent and unfeignedly believe His Holy Gospel? Have I made a full
avowal and entire submission? and am I not willing to fulfil whatever I am
advised in GOD'S Name to do for the future?

Does the future in its turn seem to frighten me? I smile at the foolish
fancies of my imagination; is not my future in GOD'S Hands?

What, when all that will befall me to-morrow, next year, ten years, twenty
years hence, is ordained by Him, shall I distress myself with the thought
that it may not be good for me!

LORD! be Thou my Guide, and choose my lot as may seem best to Thee!


2. MEEK UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES

Events are messengers of either Divine goodness or justice.

Each has a mission to fulfil; and as it comes from GOD, why not let it be
accomplished in peace?

Painful, heart-rending, though they may be, they are still the Will of
GOD. Watch them as they come, with a little trembling, perhaps even
terror, but never let them destroy in the least degree my faith and
resignation.

To be meek under these circumstances, does not mean awaiting them with a
stoic firmness which proceeds from pride, or hardening one's self against
them to the point of repressing all trembling. No! GOD allows us sometimes
to anticipate, postpone, or even when possible flee them; at any rate, we
may try to soothe and soften them a little.

The GOOD FATHER, when He sends them, sends at the same time the means by
which they may be endured, and perhaps averted.

_Remedies_, in sickness.

_Love_, in trouble.

_Devotion_, in privations.

_Comfort_, in weakness.

_Tears_, in sorrow.

GOD has created all these; and knowing perhaps that I may fail to find
them, He has given commandment to some privileged servants to love,
console, soothe, and help me, saying to them,--

"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren,
ye have done it as unto Me."

Oh! welcome then the friendly voice that in the midst of trouble speaks to
me of hope; I will receive with gratitude the care that affection presses
upon me.

With thankfulness I accept the _time_ devoted to me, _privation_ borne for
my sake; and I will pray GOD to bless these kind friends, and ask Him to
say to them words such as these: "All that thou hast done for Mine, I will
repay thee a hundred-fold."


3. MEEK TOWARDS OTHERS

This may seem even more difficult, for it so often appears to us as if
others were actuated by malice.

But how often it is only the result of temperament, pride,
thoughtlessness; seeking their own pleasure without a thought of the harm
they are doing me; then why be unhappy about it? I need only to be on my
guard.

Never stand in the way of others (when it is not the case of a duty to be
fulfilled), and if they sometimes are an obstacle in yours, remove them
gently, but do not harm them.

Yielding, submitting, retiring, giving up, this should be our conduct
towards the members of our family, and those we call our friends.

The more facility you give them for doing what they think right, the more
you enter into the feelings they have of their own importance, leaving
them a free course of action, so much the more will you be likely to be
useful to them, and retain your own peace of mind.

It is astonishing how those we never press open their hearts to us!

Do not try to examine too minutely the actions of others, or the motives
that actuate them; if they are wanting in tact, appear not to notice it,
or, better still, try to think they have made a mistake.

The best remedy for the dislike we feel towards any one is to endeavor to
try to do them a little good every day; the best cure for their dislike to
us is to try to speak kindly of them.

Are those around you wicked? be cautious, but do not lose heart; GOD will
not let them harm you.

How easy for GOD to stay the consequences of slander and calumny!

GOD is the shield, interposing between others, circumstances, and myself.


4. MEEK TOWARDS SELF

This does not imply self-complacency, self-indulgence, self-justification,
but simply encouragement, strength, and fortitude.

_Encouragement_ in some wearisome, monotonous, unrecognized work, with a
thought like this: "GOD is watching me, and wishes me to do this." This
labor occupies my mind, perfects my soul, and shields me from mischief.

Encouragement such as this, in the midst of sadness and isolation, when no
one thinks of us, or gives us the smallest token of sympathy, "Is not my
duty sufficient for me? God requires it of me, and it will lead me to
heaven."

_Strength_ to rise again after some failure, some humiliating fault, some
depressing weakness; rise again lovingly, confidingly, and with the
thought, "Never mind, it is a good FATHER, a kind Master, with Whom I have
to deal." Confess your sin, humble yourself, and while awaiting the
assurance of pardon go on with your daily work with the same zeal as
before.

_Fortitude_ against the desertion and forgetfulness of others.

We have two things to fortify us,--_Prayer and Labor_.

One to cheer us,--_Devotion_.

These remedies are always at hand.


II. BE HUMBLE

I. HUMBLE WITH GOD

Resting always in His presence, like a little child, or even a beggar, who
knowing nothing is due to him, still asks, loves, and awaits, feeling sure
that hour by hour, in proportion to our need, GOD will provide all that is
needful, and even over and above what is absolutely necessary. Live
peacefully under the protection of Divine Providence; the more you feel
your insignificance, weakness, sickness, misery, the more right you have
to the pity and love of GOD.

Only _pray_ fervently; let your prayer be thoughtful and reverent, sweet
and full of hope. The poor have nothing left to them but _prayer_; but
that prayer, so humble, so pleading, ascends to GOD, and is listened to
with Fatherly love!

Do not have a number of varied prayers, but let the "Our FATHER" be ever
on your lips and in your heart.

Love to repeat to GOD the prayer that CHRIST Himself has taught, and for
His sake is always accepted.

Look upon yourself as a hired servant of GOD, to whom He has promised a
rich reward at the end of the day He calls _life_; each morning hold
yourself in readiness to obey all His commands, in the way He wills, and
with the means He appoints.

The command may not always come _direct_ from the Master; it would be too
sweet to hear only GOD'S Voice: but He sends it by means of His
ambassadors; these go by the names of _superiors_, _equals_, _inferiors_,
sometimes _enemies_.

Each has received the mission (without knowing it) to make you holy; one
by subduing your independence, another by crushing your pride, a third by
spurring your slothfulness.

They will, though fulfilling GOD'S command, do it each in his own way,
sometimes roughly, sometimes maliciously, sometimes in a way hard to bear
... what does it matter, so long as you feel that all you do, all you
suffer, is the will of GOD?

Do your duty as well as you can, as you understand it, as it is given to
you; say sometimes to GOD, "My Master, art Thou satisfied with me?" and
then, in spite of ennui, fatigue, repugnance, go on with it faithfully to
the end.

Then, whether praise or blame be yours, you will, good faithful servant,
at least have peace.


2. HUMBLE TOWARDS OTHERS

Look upon yourself as the servant of all, but without ostentation, or
their having any knowledge of it.

Repeat to yourself sometimes the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary: "Behold
the handmaid of the LORD," and those of our LORD, "I came not to be
ministered unto, but to minister;" and then act towards others as if you
were their slave, warning, aiding, listening; abashed at what they do for
you, and always seeming pleased at anything they may require you to do for
them.

Oh! if you knew the full meaning of these words, all they signify of
reward in heaven, of joy and peace on earth, how you would love them!

Oh! if you would only make them the rule of your life and conduct, how
happy you would be yourself, and how happy you would make others!

Happy in the approval of conscience, that whispers, "You have done as
CHRIST would have done."

Happy in the thought of the reward promised to those who give even a cup
of cold water in the name of JESUS CHRIST; happy in the assurance that GOD
will do for you what you have done for others.

Oh! what matters then ingratitude, forgetfulness, contempt, and scorn?
They will pain, no doubt, but will have no power to sadden or discourage.

Precious counsel, inspired by CHRIST Himself, I bless you for all the good
you have done me!

When first those words found entrance to my heart, they brought with them
_peace_ and _strength_ to stand against _deception_, _desertion_,
_discouragement_ and the _resolute will_ to live a life more devoted to
GOD, more united to Him, more contented, and ever pressing onward towards
heaven. Once more, I bless you!

Precious counsels, enlighten, guide, and lead me.


VIII.

A SIMPLE PRAYER

O JESU! in the midst of glory forget not the sadness upon earth!

Have mercy upon those to whom GOD has sent the bitter trial of separation
from those they love!

Have mercy on that loneliness of heart, so full of sadness, so crushing,
sometimes full of terror!

Have mercy upon those struggling against the difficulties of life, and
faint with discouragement!

Have mercy on those whom fortune favors, whom the world fascinates, and
who are free from care!

Have mercy on those to whom Thou hast given great tenderness of heart,
great sensitiveness!

Have mercy on those who cease to love us, and never may they know the pain
they cause!

Have mercy on those who have gradually withdrawn from Holy Communion and
Prayer, and losing peace within, weep, yet dare not return to Thee!

Have mercy on all we love; make them holy even through suffering! if ever
they estrange themselves from Thee, take, oh, take all my joys, and decoy
them with the pleasures back again to Thee!

Have mercy on those who weep, those who pray, those who know not _how_ to
pray!

To all, O JESUS, grant Hope and Peace!


IX.

SIMPLE COUNSELS FOR A YOUNG GIRL

Yes, very simple. Listen my child, and may they sink deep into your heart,
as the dew sinks in the calyx of the flower.

These are my counsels:--

_Distrust the love_ that comes too suddenly.

_Distrust the pleasure_ that fascinates so keenly.

_Distrust the words_ that trouble or charm.

_Distrust the book_ that makes you dream.

_Distrust the thought_ you cannot confide to your mother.

Treasure these counsels, and sometimes as you read them, ask yourself,
"_Why?_" Guardian Angel of the child we are addressing, teach her the
reason of these sentences that seem to her so exaggerated!


X.

A RECIPE FOR NEVER ANNOYING OUR FRIENDS

This was made by one who had suffered much for many years from numberless
little worries, occasioned by a relative, whose affection no doubt was
sincere and devoted, but also too ardent, and wanting in discretion.

There must be moderation in all things, even in the love we manifest, the
care we take to shield them from trouble.

This recipe consists of but four simple rules, very clear, very precise.
Behold them:--

1. _Always leave my friend something more to desire of me._ If he asks me
to go and see him three times, I go but twice. He will look forward to my
coming a third time, and when I go, receive me the more cordially.

It is so sweet to feel we are needed, and so hard to be thought
importunate.

2. _Be useful to my friend as far as he permits, and no farther._

An over-anxious affection becomes tiresome, and a multiplicity of
beautiful sentiments makes them almost insupportable.

Devotion to a friend does not consist in doing _everything_ for him, but
simply that which is agreeable and of service to him, and let it only be
revealed to him by accident.

We all love freedom, and cling tenaciously to our little fancies; we do
not like others to arrange what we have purposely left in disorder; we
even resent their over-anxiety and care for us.

3. _Be much occupied with my own affairs, and little, very little, with
those of my friend._

This infallibly leads to a favorable result. To begin with, in occupying
myself with my own affairs, I shall the more speedily accomplish them,
while my friend is doing the same.

If he appeals to me for help, I will go through fire and water to serve
him, but if _not_, then I do both myself and him the greater service by
abstaining. If, however, I can serve him without his knowledge of it, and
I can see his need, then I must be always ready to do it.

4. _Leave my friend always at liberty to think and act for himself in
matters of little importance._ Why compel him to think and act with me? Am
_I_ the type of all that is beautiful and right? Is it not absurd to think
that because another acts and thinks differently to myself, he must needs
be wrong? No doubt I may not always say, "_You are right_," but I can at
any rate let him _think_ it.

Try this recipe of mine, and I can answer for it your friendship will be
lasting.


XI.

BENEATH THE EYE OF GOD, GOD ONLY

As you read these words, are you not conscious of an inward feeling of
peace and quietness?

_Beneath God's Eye!_ there is something in the thought like a sheltering
rock, a refreshing dew, a gleam of light.

Ah! why always such seeking for some one to _see_ me, to _understand_,
_appreciate_, _praise_ me?

The human eye I seek is like the scorching ray that destroys all the
delicate colors in the most costly material. Every action that is done,
only to be seen of others, loses its freshness in the sight of GOD, like
the flower that passing through many hands is at last hardly presentable.

Oh, my soul! be as the desert flower that grows, blooms, and flourishes
unseen, in obedience to GOD'S Will, and cares not whether the passing bird
perceives it, or the wind scatters the petals, scarcely formed.

       *       *       *       *       *

On no account neglect the duty you owe to friendship, relatives, society,
but remember each day to reserve some portion of it for yourself and GOD
only.

Remember always to do some actions that can be known to none but GOD.

Ah! how sweet to have GOD as our only Witness.

It is the high degree of holiness.

The most exquisite happiness.

The assurance of an entry into heaven hereafter.

The mother that reserves all that is most costly for her child, the child
that prepares in secret some surprise for its mother, do not experience a
joy more pure, more elevating, than the servant of GOD, who lives always
in GOD'S Presence, Whom alone they would please, or the loving heart that
enclosing alms to some destitute family writes upon the cover these words
only, "In the name of the Good and Gracious GOD."

       *       *       *       *       *

The following lines were found on some scraps of paper belonging to some
stranger: ... They have just told me of a poor destitute woman; I gave
them ten pence for her; it was my duty to set an example. And now, my
GOD, for Thee, for Thy sake only, I mean to send her five shillings,
which I shall deduct from my personal expenses.

... To-morrow Henry is coming to see me, that poor Henry I loved
so dearly, but who has grown cold towards his old friend. He
wished to grieve me, and little knows that I found it out. Help
me, LORD, to remember I have forgiven him, and help me to receive
him cordially.

Thou alone knowest all I have suffered.

... What a happy day was yesterday! happy with regard to heavenly
things, for alas! my poor heart suffered.

Yesterday was a festival. The snow outside kept every one at home by
their own firesides, and I was left lonely.... Ah, yes, my heart felt
sad, but my spirit was peaceful; I tried to talk to GOD, just as if I
could really see Him at my side, and gradually I felt comforted, and
spent my evening with a sweet sense of GOD'S Presence.... What I said,
what I wrote, I know not; but the remembrance of yesterday remains to
me as some sweet, refreshing perfume.

       *       *       *       *       *

Perhaps at the Last Day all that will remain worth recording of a life
full of activity and zeal will be those little deeds that were done solely
beneath the Eye of GOD....

My GOD, teach me to live with an abiding sense of Thy Presence, laboring
for Thee, suffering for Thee, guided by Thee, ... and Thee alone!


XII.

MY DUTY TOWARDS GOD

PRAYERS.

Slow, recollected, persevering.

Peaceful, calm, resigned.

Simple, humble, trusting.

Always reverent, as loving as possible.

Charitable. Have I not always opportunity to give? to thank?


SUBMISSION.

To my lot and to my duty: they come from GOD, are ordained by GOD, lead me
to GOD, to neglect them is to estrange myself from Him.

To the Guide of my soul: He has received the Holy Spirit in order to show
me the way; he has GOD'S Spirit to guide him.

To my Parents: they have GOD'S authority.

To circumstances: they are arranged and sent by GOD.


LABOR.

Begun cheerfully.

Continued perseveringly.

Interrupted and resumed patiently.

Finished perfectly and devoutly.

Repose and care for the body, as in GOD'S Sight, under GOD'S protection.


DUTY TOWARDS MY NEIGHBOR

GOOD EXAMPLE.

By modest demeanor and simple dress.

By a smiling face and pleasing manner.

Always striving to give pleasure.

Faithfully fulfilling every duty.


GOOD WORDS.

Zealous without affectation, encouraging, consoling, peaceful, joyful,
loving. These are possible every day.


GOOD DEEDS.

Service rendered by alms, by industry, by influence.

Ills remedied, by excusing, justifying, protecting, defending, concealing
faults and mistakes; if possible, by repairing them.

Joys provided, for the _mind_, by a joyous manner; for the _heart_, by
loving thanks; for the soul, by a word of Heaven.


MY DUTY TOWARDS MYSELF

COURAGE.

In trials and adversity, disturbance, sickness, failure, humiliations.

Worries that trouble without reason.

Ill temper controlled, in order not to pain others.

After failures, to begin again.

In temptations, to withstand them.


ORDER AND METHOD.

In my occupation, each at its appointed hour.

In my recreation.

In all material things, for my benefit.

Shunning scruples and constraint as much as caprice and folly.


NOURISHMENT.

Pious thoughts, read, meditated upon, and sometimes written.

Books that elevate and excite love for all that is good and lovely.

Conversations that refresh, rejoice, and cheer; walks that expand the
mind, as well as strengthen the body.


XIII.

THE POWER OF AN ACT OF LOVE TOWARDS GOD

Have you ever reflected upon this?

Let us consider the exact words that describe it.

"_I love Thee with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength,
because Thou art so good, so infinitely good!_"

Try and repeat these words slowly, so that each may penetrate deep into
your heart.

Do you not feel moved, as if your whole being in these words went forth to
GOD, offering to Him life itself?

Do you not feel, in making this Act of Love, you give far more than if you
gave your wealth, influence, or time; nay, rather does not this very act
seem to bring you riches, strength, opportunities, all that you possess?

Picture to yourself, standing before you, a child--a child perhaps who may
have injured you deeply, and yet whose sincerity at this moment you cannot
doubt, who is actuated neither by fear nor self-seeking, but simply by a
penitent heart, and who comes to say to you words of love, such as those
above, do you feel no emotion, no feeling of pity?

I defy you to be without some emotion, not to feel your arms extending,
perhaps in spite of you, to embrace this poor child, and not to answer,
"_I also love thee_."

I have yet another test to put to you, poor, desolate, guilty, hopeless as
you are, seeing only within and around you, _fears_, _terror_, and--ay, let
me say it--_damnation_.

I defy you to kneel and say these words (laying a greater stress on them
because of the repugnance you feel): "_My God! I love Thee with all my
heart, with all my strength, with all my soul, above everything, because
Thou art so good, so infinitely good!_" and then not to feel that JESUS is
moved with compassion, and not to hear His Voice, saying to you, "My
child, I love thee also!"

O JESUS, how can we find words in which to express the tenderness awakened
in Thine Heart, by a word of love from one of Thy little ones! That Heart,
so tender, gentle, sensitive, and loving!

A sentence of Faber's may sound unnatural to us, so little spiritually
minded: he says, "GOD sometimes draws us to Him, and fills us with love
for Him, not that He may love us, _that_ He always does, but in order to
make us _feel_ how He loves us!"

An Act of Love demands but a few moments. The whole of the day, even in
the midst of labor, we can multiply it infinitely, and what wonders are
wrought by each Act!

JESUS Himself is glorified, and He sheds abundant grace upon the earth.

Our Guardian Angel, beholding us, listens, draws nearer, and makes us feel
we have done right.

The Angels above experience a sudden joy, and look upon us tenderly.

Evil spirits feel their power diminished, and there is a moment of rest
from the temptation that surrounds us.

The choir of saints above renew their songs of praise.

Each soul on earth feels the peace Divine.

Ah! which of us each day would not renew these Acts of Love to GOD!

Ah! all who read these lines, pause for one moment, and from the bottom of
your heart exclaim, "My GOD, I love Thee! My GOD, I love Thee!"


XIV.

BE SERIOUS

A statesman retiring from public life occupied himself in his latter days
with serious thoughts.

The friends who came to visit him, reproached him with being melancholy.
"No," he replied; "I am only _serious_. All around me is serious, and I
feel the need that heart and mind should be in unison with my
surroundings."

"For," he added, with such solemnity as to impress all present, "GOD is
_serious_ as He watches us. JESUS is _serious_ when He intercedes for us.
The HOLY SPIRIT is _serious_ when He guides us. Satan is _serious_ when he
tempts us. The wicked in hell are _serious_ now, because they neglected to
be so when on earth; all is _serious_ in that world whither we are
wending."

Oh, my friends! believe me, it is all true; let us at least at times be
_serious_ in our thoughts and in our actions.


XV.

CONSOLATION

You distress yourself sometimes, poor thing! because amongst those who
surround you, there are one or two who worry and annoy you. They do not
like you, find fault with everything you do, they meet you with a severe
countenance and austere manner, you think they do you harm, you look upon
them as obstacles to your doing good.

Your life passes away saddened and faded, and gradually you become
disheartened. Courage! instead of vexing yourself, thank GOD; these very
persons are the means of preserving you from humiliating faults, perhaps
even greater sins.

It is like the blister the doctor applies, to draw out the inflammation
that would kill.

GOD sees that too much joy, too much happiness, procured by those little
attentions for which you are so eager, would make you careless and
slothful in prayer; too much affection would only enervate, and you would
cling too much to earthly things; so in order to preserve your heart in
all its tenderness and simplicity, He plants there a few thorns, and cuts
you off from all the pleasures you fancy yours by right. GOD knows that
too much praise would cause pride, and make you less forbearing to others,
and so He sends instead humiliations. Let them be, then, these persons who
unconsciously are doing GOD'S work within you.

If you cannot love them from sympathy, love with an effort of the will,
and say to GOD, "My GOD, grant that without offending Thee, they may work
my sanctification. I have need of them."


XVI.

HOLY COMMUNION

The result of a good Communion is, _within_, a fear of a sin, _without_, a
love for others.

Holy Communion is a great aid to sanctification.

JESUS visits the soul, working in it, and filling it with His Grace, which
is shed on all around, as the sun sheds forth its light, the fire gives
out its heat.

It is impossible but that CHRIST, thus visiting the soul, should not leave
something CHRIST-like within, if only the soul be disposed to receive it.
Fire, whose property is to give warmth, cannot produce that effect unless
the body be placed near enough to be penetrated with the heat.

Does not this simple thought explain the reason that there is often so
little result from our frequent Communions?

Do you long at each Communion to receive the grace bestowed by CHRIST that
shall little by little fit you for heaven hereafter?

Will you, receiving thus the GOD of _Peace_ within, have for those around
you kind words that shall fill them with calmness, resignation, and peace?

Will you, receiving thus the GOD of _Love_, gradually increase in
tenderness and love that will urge you to sacrifice yourself for others,
loving them as CHRIST would have loved them?

Will you, receiving Him you rightly name the _Gracious_ GOD, become
yourself gracious, gracious to sympathize, gracious to forbear, gracious
to pardon, and thus in a small way resemble the GOD Who gave Himself for
thee?

This should be your resolve when about to communicate.

_Resolved_: to obey GOD'S Commandments in all their extensiveness, never
hesitating in a question of duty, no matter how hard it may be; the duty
of forgiving and forgetting some injustice or undeserved rebuke; accepting
cheerfully a position contrary to your wishes and inclinations;
application to some labor, distasteful, and seemingly beyond your
strength....

If your duty seems almost _impossible_ to fulfil, ask yourself, "Is this
GOD'S Will for me?" and if conscience answers _yes_, then reply also, _I
will do it_.

All difficulties vanish after Holy Communion.

_Generous_: depriving yourself those days of Communion of some pleasures
which though harmless in themselves, you know, only too well, enfeeble
your devotion, excite your feelings, and leave you weaker than before.
_Generous_ means doing over and above what duty requires of us.

_Conscientious and upright_: not seeking to find out if some forbidden
thing is really a _sin_ or not, and whether it may not in some way be
reconciled to conscience.

Oh! how hurtful are these waverings between GOD and the world, duty and
pleasure, obedience and allurements. Did JESUS CHRIST hesitate to die for
you? and yet _you_ hesitate! Coward!

_Humble and meek_: treading peacefully the road marked out for you by
Providence, sometimes weeping, often suffering, but free from anxiety,
awaiting the loving support that never fails those who trust and renew
their strength day by day. Living quietly, loving neither the world nor
its praise, working contentedly in that state of life to which you are
called, doing good, regardless of man's knowledge and approval, content
that others should be more honored, more esteemed, having only one
ambition,--_to love God, and be loved by Him_.

       *       *       *       *       *

If this be the disposition of your soul, then be sure each Communion will
be blessed to you, make you more holy, more like CHRIST, with more taste
and love for the things of GOD, more sure of glory hereafter.


XVII.

AFTER HOLY COMMUNION

SELF-SACRIFICE

LORD! take me and lead me whithersoever Thou willest! Is it Thy Will that
my life be spent in the midst of such incessant toil and tumult that no
time is left for those brief moments of leisure of which I sometimes
dream?

Yes! yes! I wish it also!

Is it Thy Will that lonely and sorrowful I am left on earth, while those I
loved have gone to dwell near Thee above?

Yes! yes! I wish it also!

Is it Thy Will that unknown by all, misunderstood even by those whose
affection I prize, I am looked upon as useless, on account of my
stupidity, want of manner, or bad health?

Yes! yes! I wish it also!

Thou art Ruler. O my GOD! only be Thyself the Guide, and abide with me
forever!


MY MEMORY

My Memory! the mysterious book--reflection of that of eternity, in which at
each moment are inscribed my thoughts, affections, and desires.

Into Thy Hands I commend it, LORD, that Thou alone mayst write there, Thou
alone efface!

Leave there, LORD, the remembrance of my sins, but efface forever the
pleasures that led to them--were I to catch but a glimpse of their enticing
sweetness, I might again desire them. Leave there the sweet memories of
childhood, when I loved Thee with such simplicity, and my father, my
mother, my family, were my sole affections. Those days, when the slightest
untruthfulness, or even the fear of having sinned, left me no peace till I
had confessed it to my mother. Those days, when I always felt my Guardian
Angel near me, helping me in my work, and soothing my little troubles!

Leave me the remembrance of my first sense of the Divine absolution, when
my heart overflowing with secret joy, I cried, _I am forgiven, I am
forgiven_!

And then the recollection of my first Communion! oh, recall it to me,
LORD, with its preparation so fearful, yet so loving; its joy so calm, so
holy, yet so sweet, that even now the thought of it fills mine eyes with
tears!

Leave me the remembrance of Thy Benefits! each year of my life is crowned
with blessings ... at _ten_ ... _fifteen_ ... _eighteen_ ... _twenty_
years ... oh! I can well recall all Thy goodness to me, my GOD! Yes,
receive my memory, blot out all that can estrange me from Thee, and grant
that nothing apart from Thee may again find a place there!


MY MIND

Oh! by what false lights have I been dazzled! They showed me prayer as
wearisome; religious duties too absorbing; frequent Communion as useless;
social duties as a heavy bondage; devotion the lot of weak minds and those
without affection.... Oh, I knew well how false it was, and yet I let
myself be half-convinced!

When have I ever been more _zealous in labor_ than those days when I had
fulfilled all my religious duties?

When more _loving and devoted_ than on the days of my Communions?

When have I felt _more free, more happy_, than when having fulfilled all
the duties of my social position?

LORD, receive my mind, and nourish it with Thy Truth!

Show me that apart from Thee, _pleasures of the senses_ leave behind only
remorse, disgust, weariness, and satiety.

_Pleasures of the heart_ cause anxiety, bitterness, rendings, and fears.

_Pleasures of the mind_ produce a void, vanity, jealousy, coldness, and
humiliations! Teach me that all must pass away ... that nothing is true,
nothing is good, nothing is eternal, but Thou, Thou only, O my GOD!


MY WILL

My deeds are the result of my will, and it is the will only that makes
them of any value. Oh, then to begin with, I will learn submission! What I
_wish_, may not always be good for me; what I am _bidden_ must be right.

O JESUS! grant me the grace of _obedience_, and then let me be bidden many
things: works of piety, works of charity, self-renunciation, brilliant
deeds, deeds that are ignored in my family life, or wherever I may be,
there are numberless calls for all of these; LORD, behold Thy servant! may
I be always ready when Thou hast need of me!


ALL THAT I HAVE

My GOD, how richly hast Thou blessed me!

Treasures of love, I offer them to Thee!

_I have relations_, dear ones, Thou knowest how I love them.... Ah, if it
be Thy Will to take them from this world, before me, though I say it
weeping, still I say it, Thy Will be done!

_I have friends._... If it be Thy Will they should forget me, think ill of
me, leave me alone, with that loneliness of heart so bitter and so keen
... I yield them to Thee!

_I have worldly goods_ that give me a certain degree of comfort, by
affording me the means of helping others poorer than myself.... Should it
be Thy Will to deprive me of them, little by little, till at last I have
only the bare necessaries of life left ... I yield them to Thee!

_I have limbs_ that Thou hast given me. If it be Thy Will that paralysis
should fetter my arms, my eyes no longer see the light, my tongue be
unable to articulate, my GOD, I yield them to Thee!

In exchange, grant me Thy Love, Thy Grace, and then ... nothing more, only
Heaven!

       *       *       *       *       *

O JESUS, abandoned by all in the garden of Gethsemane, in need then of
comfort and strength:

JESUS, Thou Who knowest that at this moment there are some on earth who
have no strength, no comfort, no support, oh! send to them some angel who
will give them a little joy, a little peace! Oh, if only _I_ might be that
messenger! What must I suffer, LORD?

If an outward trouble or inward pain be needful to make of me but for one
moment a consoling angel to some poor lonely heart, oh! however keen the
pain, or bitter the trouble, I pray Thee, grant it to me, JESUS!

O JESUS, in search of _lips_ to tell the love Thou bearest for Thy
children; _lips_ to tell the poor and lonely they are not despised, the
sinful they are not cast away, the timid they are not unprotected. O
JESUS! grant that my lips may speak words of strength, love, comfort, and
pardon. Let each day seem to me wasted that passes without my having
spoken of help and sympathy, without having made some one bless Thy Name,
be it but a little child.

O JESUS! so _patient_ towards those who wearied Thee with their
importunity and ignorance! JESUS, so long-suffering in teaching, and
awaiting the hour of grace! JESUS, grant that I may be patient to listen,
to teach, though over and over again I may have to instruct the same
thing. Grant me help, that I may always show a smiling face, even though
the importunity of some be keenly felt! and if through physical weakness I
manifest ennui or weariness, grant, O JESUS, that I may speedily make
amends, with loving words, for the pain I have caused.

O JESUS! Who with infinite tact didst await, seated at the roadside, the
opportunity for doing good, simply asking a small service of the poor
Samaritan woman Thou wouldst save, and draw to Thee.

O JESUS! grant that I may feel and understand all the pain that timidity,
shyness, or reserve keep buried within the recesses of the soul. Grant me
the tact and discretion that draws near without paining, that asks without
repulsing, without humiliating, and thus enable me to bring peace and
comfort to the wounded heart.

O JESUS! seeking some one as faithful dispenser of Thy blessings, grant
_much_ to me, that I may have much to bestow on others. Grant that my
hands may dispense Thine alms, that they may be as Thine, when Thou didst
wash the feet of Thine Apostles, working for all, helping all; let me
never forget that, like Thee, I am placed on this earth to minister, not
to be ministered unto.

Grant that my lips may speak comforting words and give forth cheering
smiles, that I may be as the well by the roadside, where the weary
traveller stoops to drink, as the shade of the tree whose branches laden
with fruit are extended over all that pass beneath.

O JESUS! to Whom all Thy children are so dear, and whatever they may be
Thou carest for them, and rememberest they are the much-loved children of
GOD! Oh! grant that in all my intercourse with others, I may only see,
love, and care for their _souls_, that soul for whom, O GOD, Thou hast
died, who like myself can call Thee FATHER, and with whom, near Thee, I
hope to dwell, throughout the ages of Eternity.



Transcriber's Note

Removed an extraneous comma from this line:

    _Self-renunciation_*,* means devotion to our duty, going on with
    it in spite of difficulties, disgust, ennui, want of success.

Standardized spelling in this line by removing hyphen from
light-heartedness, to match usage elsewhere in the book:

    whose chatter and lightheartedness, even her very attentions to myself,





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