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178

Letter XXXVI.—Not to Desire Consolations.

To the same person. Nancy, 21st February 1735. Desire for consolations a mistake.


My dear Sister,

I have seen the card announcing the death of dear Sister Anne-Catherine de Prudhomme (see note). I could in no way regret the departed whose fate is rather to be envied. At the sight of death fear should be united to confidence, but confidence ought to predominate.

Abandonment is what the Sister you mention should aim at. I refer her on this subject to the letter of B. Paul, who says she is no longer uneasy, as formerly, about the graces necessary during life, and at the hour of death, because she will be encouraged by God whose name of “Father” gives her confidence with resignation. If it is not possible to feel this, even then one must abandon oneself to God, and this abandonment when not felt is of more value since it involves a greater sacrifice.

This letter of B. Paul I use as spiritual reading. After having answered it, it seemed to me that I had understood better from it, and more enjoyed certain very interior things that were both delicate and profound. I do not at all approve of an anxious pursuit after consolations either in spiritual or physical wretchedness and misery. That comes of too much care of oneself. Would that there were souls strong and courageous enough to endure the apparent absences of the heavenly Spouse, who never absents Himself in reality, but only in appearance, to detach us from what is sensible even in the most spiritual things, because the gifts of God are not God Himself. He alone is all, and should be all in all to us. Excessive fear arises from a want of confidence and abandonment: it is on this account that I referred Sister . . . . to this letter of B. Paul. God wills that she, and you too, should remain in such absolute poverty that He has given me nothing for either of you; but I hope that you will both profit by a good long letter written to someone of whom I asked a copy. Will you return me the original as I want to send it to another person, who is precisely Sister . . . . of whom God made me think. I greet most heartily all the Sisters, and particularly Marie-Anne-Thérèse, and with especial respect your Rev. Mother, L. F. de Rosen.

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Note.—This Sister came of a very noble family of Lorraine, and was professed in the Convent of the Visitation, Sister Marie de Nancy, in the year 1666, at the age of 21. Her principal attraction was that of abandonment to divine Providence. She was perfectly submissive to the will of God by a continual “fiat” for every event, saying on all occasions, “If you, my divine King, my great Monarch, will, or do not will such, or such a thing, that suffices me. May You be praised and blessed for all and in all.” Her great confidence in God drew down abundant graces upon her soul. In her last illness she remained always in a state of constant adoration, contrition, faith, confidence, and union with Jesus Christ crucified, of love of God, and abandonment to His fatherly goodness, and always wore a look of peace, joy, and thanksgiving. Her union with God continuing up to her last breath, she quietly expired of simple weakness at the age of 90, with all her intellectual faculties unimpaired. (This extract is from the life of this good Sister, by Rev. Mother L. F. de Rosen.)

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