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From sr Marie of the Eucharist to Mme Pottier – February 20-23 (?), 1897.

  

  

From sr Marie of the Eucharist to Mme Pottier – February 20-23 (?), 1897.

       Dear little Céline,

    Your last letter in no way hurt me; on the contrary, I found you were very kind and very humble for wanting to ask your poor little sister for advice.

     I leave you entirely free to choose whether or not to send me a few passages from your diary. Indeed, God may well be asking you to make this little sacrifice, which would perhaps otherwise satisfy your self-love. I understand perfectly what you mean to say, having gone [lv°] through this myself. It is certain that when we send something, especially when it’s one’s innermost thoughts, one’s imagination gets carried away, self-love gets caught up in it and this trivial little thing engenders a multitude of vain and conceited thoughts. And what happens in the meantime? We are concerned with nothing but ourselves, while God, who is so close to us in our hearts, is far from our minds. So my darling, if you identify with all that I’ve just said, don’t send me the object in question, it will prove very meritorious for you, because sometimes a desire is so strong that we have trouble resolving to make [2r°] the little sacrifice God is asking of us. I admit that I had to make a lot of these kinds of sacrifices, but unfortunately, I was very often cowardly…

       Alas, dear little sister, what a lot of illusions this subject creates, I experience it every day. How many times I was disillusioned in this respect in the world. When I sent my innermost thoughts to my little Carmel, like you I imagined that people would find them very beautiful, etc., and appreciate me a great deal… This only happens in our minds, which amuse themselves, and I realized that we see so many beautiful things in terms of souls here, that even the [2v°] most beautiful thoughts and feelings don’t have the effect that people in the world would imagine. We’ve grown used to all that.

Only there is one thing that my little Céline is wrong to apply to herself, and that’s the saying that it is better not to seek relief by opening up one’s heart. This is not at all aimed at you. As long as one draws good from opening up, one must do it. It is directed at souls who would go about recounting their sorrows and joys all the time with the simple aim of feeling joy, and who would derive no benefit from these outpourings. But for my little Céline they are very useful, she must believe me on this point…

   Since you [3r°] wished to ask me for advice, you can see that I’m not making you bargain for it, and I do believe you’ll grow tired of your little preacher. No matter, I’m going to continue all the same. I would like you not to think that there’s such a big difference between entrusting your thoughts to me and showing me what you’ve written. It’s exactly the same thing and it’s very good to express oneself, even to one’s best friend. The demon knows how much benefit we derive from these private exchanges, which help you progress in virtue, so he always has you find obstacles in the way. So don’t let this be a reason for preventing you from entrusting your thoughts to me. If it’s out of pride [3v°] or for your mind’s amusement; through sacrifice in a word, it’s very good, but it isn’t if it’s for the other reason.

       Would you allow me to ask you a little question?... I would like to know what benefit you draw from your diary?... Answer me, does it make you love God more… or is rereading all your thoughts a source of self-love and self-indulgence… If I’m saying this, it’s because, for me, it would have been a source of indulgence and vanity seeing what lovely things I thought of… I would have been incapable of writing them down for that reason. But you know, not all souls think the same way and there are others for whom conveying their thoughts in this way does them much good. So I’m far from all the [... ?...] even, from wanting to find a way to suggest you shouldn’t write a diary. I’m simply asking you a little question. Only, because she manages to write her diary, I would like my dear sister to find the time to do a little spiritual reading as well, every day, for a quarter of an hour, or less if she wishes. I think it is indispensable for the soul to be re-immersed in the love and presence of God in the middle of the day. In the same way that the body is fortified by food [4r°]twice a day or sometimes more, the soul must also be fortified by good thoughts about Saints. I’m talking about the life of a Saint or some spiritual book that talks about God, but especially lives of Saints. It gives the soul something to emulate and allows it to grow stronger and more reverent. There are so many pious souls in the world; women, who go into what is called the world, and who never miss doing their spiritual reading every day and chiefly when they go to a form of entertainment, such as the theatre, a dinner, balls, etc. They would never leave without having read something about God beforehand so that the idea of God, and God’s presence, stays with them like something sweet. This doesn’t stop them from being amiable, more amiable than others even, or from enjoying the entertainment, but it’s a gentler and calmer enjoyment.

     Have you had enough of my sermon? Oh, yes! Poor little darling, I pity you for having chosen such a preachy little sister to be your confidante and friend!... Forgive me, Lent is here and as I have to go without writing to you until Easter I’m making the most of it. I’m very pleased you have joined the Confraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Confraternity set up in the church of Notre Dame des Victoires in Paris). Ah! So we’re becoming more and more like sisters, because we now have the same purpose: the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Oh, let’s save souls, dear little sister… Our Lord showed St. Gertrude the multitude of souls who fall into hell each day and whose eyes would be opened to God’s mercy if charitable hearts interceded for them… So you can see that through our prayers and sacrifices, we are doing as much as the missionaries do as they travel the world in the conquest of souls. Let’s be generous and bring God glory by saving souls because we were created for absolutely no other purpose.

     Before leaving you, my darling, at the end of this long letter I’m going to wish you a happy birthday (Céline Pottier would be 25 years old on 25th February). May this new year that’s beginning for you be filled with merits and graces. In union with you, during the day, I often recite the prayer which you must now say because it is the Confraternity’s prayer: Most merciful Jesus, full of love for souls, etc.

I send a big kiss to Baby and the biggest one to her little mama whom I love very much.

Your little Marie of the Eucharist

u.c.n.

Pray hard for me at this time, I’m waiting to be accepted for Profession. Ask God that he [3r°tv] deign accept me and that I soon become God’s faithful Spouse.

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