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Letter III.—Peace in Turmoil.

To Sister Marie-Thérèse de Vioménil.

To be applied to herself. Profound peace can be enjoyed in this abandonment even amidst the bustle of business matters.—Perpignan, 1740.


What I have always feared has come to pass. I have no power to refuse a charge that is contrary to all my predilections and for which I do not believe myself to have any aptitude. In vain have I groaned, prayed, implored, and offered to remain all my life in the vicariate of Toulouse: I have been compelled to make the sacrifice—one of the greatest of my whole life. But now I see plainly the hand of Providence. The sacrifice having been made and reiterated a hundred times God has taken from me all my former repugnance, so that I left the mother-house, which you know how much I loved, with a peace and liberty of spirit which astonished even myself. More still! When I 110arrived at Perpignan I found a large amount of business to attend to, none of which I understood; and many people to see, and to deal with; the Bishop, the steward, the king’s lieutenant, the Parliament, the garrison staff. You know what horror I have always entertained for visits of any sort, and above all for those of grand people. Well! none of these have given me any alarm; in God I hope to find a remedy for everything, and I feel a confidence in divine Providence which enables me to surmount all difficulties. Besides this I enjoy peace and tranquillity in the midst of a thousand cares and anxieties, such as I should have imagined ought naturally to overwhelm me. It is true that what most contributes to produce this great peace is, that God has rendered my soul impervious to fear, and I desire nothing for this short and miserable life. Therefore, when I have done all in my power or that I felt before God that I ought to do, I leave the rest to Him, abandoning everything entirely and with my whole heart to divine Providence, blessing Him beforehand for all things and wishing in all, and above all, that His holy will may be done because I am convinced by faith and by numerous personal experiences that all comes from God, and that He is so powerful and such a good father, that He will cause everything to prosper for the advantage of His dear children. Has He not proved that He loves us more than life itself since He has sacrificed His life for love of us? Therefore, as He has done so much for love of us, are we not convinced that He will not forget us? I entreat you, then, not to worry about me and my affairs. Do the same that I have constrained myself to do. Directly I have taken measures before God and according to His will I leave all the rest to Him, and look to Him for success. I wait for this success with confidence, but also in peace; and whatever takes place I accept, not for the satisfaction of my impatient desires, but keeping pace with divine Providence, who rules and arranges all for our greater good, although generally we do not understand any of His ways. And how can we dare to judge Him, poor ignorant creatures as we are, and blind as the moles that burrow underground.

Let us accept all from the hand of our good Father and He will keep us in peace in the midst of the greatest disasters of this world, which pass away like shadows. In proportion to our abandonment and confidence in God will our lives be holy and tranquil. Also where this abandonment is neglected there can be no virtue, nor any perfect rest.

You were wrong in being surprised that I was not so at the views and plans of N., for, besides that nothing surprises me in this life, you ought to know my ways of always looking at the best side of things, and setting everything in a favourable light 111as St. Francis of Sales advises. This fortunate habit protects me from danger, and somehow makes it impossible for me to think badly, to judge harshly, or to speak uncharitably of anyone, whoever he may be.

I strongly advise you to adopt it; it will greatly contribute to the preservation of the peace of your soul, and the purity of your conscience. Believe me, and sacrifice all human feelings, consoling yourself for all by abnegation and confidence in God alone, Who alone can fill the place of all else.

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