THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER AND THE INTERIOR LIFE
March 1:† If you do not become souls of prayer our Institute will perish.† In the matter of prayer there is nothing small, nothing.
††††††††††† 2:† How many are the charms of the spiritual life, concealed from the sight of the wise of this world.† How much greatness do simple souls find in lowly sentiments of themselves.† If we can attain to this blessed knowledge of self contempt, and of the good Godís infinite love for us, what treasures would we draw thence to fill our hearts with gratitude.
††††††††††† 3:† The interior life does not consist in extra ordinary things, but chiefly in union with our Lord.† Believe me, if there is one thing to be desired on earth it is that.
††††††††††† 4:† What I would consel you is to fill your day with ejaculatory prayer; that is a practice which helps the interior life.
††††††††††† 5:† I have often said to you that our Institute is of all others the most difficult because it must join a deep interior life to exterior occupations; and yet if this interior spirit were lost it could not continue.
††††††††††† 6:† A state of insensibility towards God is sometimes a precious time; indeed, it is always so if we use it as God wishes.† We should humble ourselves still further, something lower still is our proper place.† Upon whom will the Lord deign to look?† You know it is upon the humble of heart, and what should humble us more than to be in the holy presence of God, and yet be incapable of a single good thought.† Nothing more surely draws our Lordís compassionate eye upon us.† Rouse your faith when the yoke of the Lord seems heavy, as it does at times.
††††††††††† 7:† Everything in us ought to be Jesus.† How sweet it is to die to self every moment of our lives, so as to live only by the spirit of Jesus.
††††††††††† 8:† God alone!† God alone!† Happy a thousand times those who lean upon no one but their Lord; whatever He may send them, they are never shaken.† Let us rest in God -- He turns all things unto good for those who love Him.
††††††††††† 9:† If our Sisters do not cultivate the interior spirit which keeps them united to our Lord in the midst of their outward occupation, they will never do anything of much value.
When I see you, dear Sisters, with that army of children, I say interiorly to God:† ďLord, give to our Sisters that interior spirit which hall keep them united to Thee while they teach Thy Little ones.Ē
††††††††††† 10:† My daughters, preserve in all things the holy Presence of God.† I think the best means of becoming more familiar with it is not to be too eager to know what you ought to do and say in such and such circumstances still in the far future.† As soon as you find yourself like that, gently withdraw your attention, and place yourself in the hands of God.† That is the great secret of the interior life.† Very few practice it, because people always want to see and know beforehand how they are to act.
††††††††††† 11:† Let us live from day to day.† Have love and patience, my dear daughters.† Pray much to the good God, asking Him to lead you by the hand.† Often say to Him:† ďMy God, I am but a child who knows nothing, and can say nothing.† Do everything for me, O my God.Ē
††††††††††† 12:† My dear good daughters, let us become more interior day by day, that we may serve our good Master better in spirit and truth.† The good† God seeks such souls.† He is our Father, dear daughters.† Let us give Him this consolation.† Let us all, by His grace, be of the number of His true adorers.† I pray for this with all my heart for each of you.
††††††††††† 13:† Let us never lose sight of that Eye which sees all things, that Hand which writes all things.† Keep your lamps trimmed as wise virgins waiting for the Bridegroom.
††††††††††† 14:† My dear daughters, you need a very meek humility to place you in your proper position.† Be very much on your guard, for that first impulse, in your case always too eager, would rob you for a moment of that peace of the children of God so much to be desired.† For that end, I recommend to you the salutary exercise of the holy presence of God, it is the only means of entering into the interior life, the life of faith.
††††††††††† 15:† However ardorous it may appear to you, you will always find in prayer the strength to sustain you on your journey.† The road sometimes seems painful, but it is something to know that it ought to be so since the road leading to life is strait and difficult.
††††††††††† 16:† As the spirit of God is a simple spirit, it is much safer to keep ourselves strictly in the simplicity of faith.† We ought, above all things, to avoid a reasoning spirit, which leads to trouble and loss of peace of soul - our only treasure.
††††††††††† 17:† How I long to find my good daughters well on their way in the life of faith - a life wholly of God, wholly of God.† If they only knew what a fund of God there must be in our holy vocation.
††††††††††† 18:† Have much courage in your prayers:† darkness, light, everything blesses the Good God.
††††††††††† 19:† Go on always from moment to moment:† it is the surest way of doing the holy will of God and avoiding every kind of interior trouble.
††††††††††† 20:† You know that the road of prayer is a road of death - especially of death to our own self love which wishes to have a share in everything and would arrange everything to its own satisfaction, even in the most spiritual matters.
††††††††††† 21:† The unction of Godís holy grace which we experience from time to time in prayer is proof of His attentiveness to all our needs.† As he knows our extreme weakness the good God sends us now and then a sweetness which encourages us in order that, when we no longer feel it, we may remember that we once enjoyed it.† Godís wisdom allows us sometimes to be deprived of it so that we may attach ourselves to Him alone and not only to His gifts.
††††††††††† 22:† If you sometimes find your understanding active in prayer, it is not necessary to silence it altogether.† Speaking generally, it is only in cases of necessity that the understanding can be of use to us, at moments when our souls seem entirely absorbed in earthly and human concerns.† Then we must make use of our intellect to make us spiritual, and by the views of faith which it presents, it will, at least, show us the end to which we should tend.
††††††††††† 23:† So you are in darkness!† Well, you know that everything gives glory to God.† Let us always be firm, whatever gloomy times come, whatever winds blow. The good God will give you grace to derive advantage from it, if we do not lose our time in examining whence it comes, for it is a fault which hinders our perfection more than all others.† If you always find your heart in virtual disposition to belong to God, although it may cost you something, all is well.† Be tranquil, as I trust in you.
††††††††††† 24:† Labor unremittingly to become holy, for the holier you are the holier will be those who follow you.† You ought by your good example to be the pillars of the Institute.
††††††††††† 25:† Always act for the best, so that the good God may be with all, as well as the blessed Virgin, our kind, good Mother, and St. Joseph.
††††††††††† 26:† You ought to wait for Godís time.† There are souls from whom the good God exacts a long apprenticeship in this exercise, which does not prove that such are not chosen souls, but that the good God wishes to keep them in humility to employ them afterwards in laboring more usefully for His glory.† Let us adore herein His holy designs upon each one of us, and let us try to put as few obstacles in the way as we can, for we often fail to do all the good that God requires of us.
††††††††††† 27:† You know there are dark hours during which we can see nothing, what better can be done than wait for the sunshine?† Patience, these days must be lived through, we say --- well, perhaps we glorify God best on our cloudy days.
††††††††††† 28:† Pay no attention to the first wild impulses of nature in you, pretend not to hear the uproar, and recall the Presence of God with no more anxiety than if nothing had happened.† This is the way to keep your soul in peace.
††††††††††† 29:† The good God has His own designs in all these little contradictions.† Keep yourself in peace, my daughter, and in interior tranquillity.† You know the good God makes His voice heard only in the calm, and not in that interior agitation to which we sometimes yield through our own fault.† Endeavor to correspond to the degree of perfection to which the good God calls you: be faithful, be a faithful servant of the Lord.
††††††††††† 30:† My dear Sisters, be persons of prayer.† It is impossible to pray well and not to be obedient, not to be charitable.† To meditate on the maxims and teaching of Our Lord and not to shape our conduct by them, is to be like the man of whom St. James says that, he looks at his face in a glass, and going away presently forgets what manner of man he is; those who act thus do not make good meditations; prayer must bring forth fruit.
††††††††††† 31:† All the perfections of a soul, my daughter, consists in fidelity to the moments of grace.† For grace has its moments and passes quickly.† Let us be very faithful to it.† How much we need watch over ourselves, my daughters, if we are to acquire the habit of living in Godís holy presence, that habit so necessary to our spiritual advancement.