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Letter XXXV.—Conduct in a Time of Rest.

To a secular. On conduct during a time passed in the country.


This is what you should do during the time you spend in the country. If you faithfully follow my counsels, they will sanctify this time of rest and make it bear fruit.

175

1st. Approach the Sacraments as often as you are allowed to do so.

2nd. Offer to God each morning the recreations of the day and with them the different pains both exterior and interior with which He is pleased in His goodness to season them, and say from time to time: “Blessed be God in all things and for all things; Lord may Your holy will be done.”

3rd. As you are less busy than others, employ more of your time in reading good books, and in order to make this more efficacious, set about it in this way. Begin by placing yourself in the presence of God, and by begging His help. Read quietly, slowly, word for word to enter into the subject more with the heart than the mind. At the end of each paragraph that contains a complete meaning, stop for the time it would take you to recite a “Pater” or even a little longer, to assimilate what you have read, or to rest and remain peacefully before God. Should this peace and rest last for a longer time it will be all the better; but when you find that your mind wanders resume your reading, and continue thus, frequently renewing these same pauses.

4th. Nothing need prevent you continuing the same method, if you find it useful to your soul, during the time you have fixed for meditation.

5th. In the course of the day, occupy yourself about things that are necessary, and that obedience requires of you, and which divine Providence has marked out for you.

6th. Be careful to drop vain and useless thoughts directly you are conscious of them, but quietly, without effort or violence.

7th. Above all drop all anxious thoughts, abandoning to divine Providence all that might become a subject of preoccupation for you.

8th. In raising your heart to God, often say to Him, “Lord deliver me from so many reflexions which, however good in appearance, might keep me in my own way, and in a dangerous confidence in myself. Substitute Your divine Spirit for mine, transform and remodel all the powers of my soul by this holy Spirit and by His holy operations.” At other times say, “When will it please you, oh my God, to teach me the great secret of understanding how to keep myself in interior peace and silence, to allow of Your effecting in my soul all the changes You know to be necessary? Lord, this I desire with all my heart, and ask it of You with the greatest earnestness through Jesus Christ Your Son, in order that You may be able to establish gradually within me the reign of Your ineffable peace, of Your grace and of Your divine love. And since for this You require the 176cooperation of Your poor unworthy creature, I will prepare myself with the help of Your grace, by being faithful to all the little practices that have been recommended to me; I hope that You will bless and second this blind submission, and I offer You beforehand all the pains of my mind, and rebellions of heart which You may permit in order to try me; I resign myself to them and from henceforth offer them to You in sacrifice.”

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