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August 2, 1893.
MY DEAR CÉLINE,—What you write fills me with joy; you are making your way by a royal road. The Spouse in the Canticles, unable to find her Beloved in the time of repose, went forth to seek Him in the city. But in vain . . . it was only without the walls she found Him. It is not in the sweetness of repose that Jesus would have us discover His Adorable Presence. He hides Himself and shrouds Himself in darkness. True, this was not His way with the multitude, for we read that all the people were carried away as soon as He spoke to them.
The weaker souls He charmed by His divine eloquence with the aim of strengthening them against the day of temptation and trial, but His faithful friends were few that day when "He was silent"220220Matt. 26:23. in the presence of His judges. Sweet melody to my heart is that silence of the Divine Master!
He would have us give Him alms as to a poor man, and puts Himself—so to speak—at our mercy. He will take nothing that is not cheerfully given, and the veriest trifle is precious in His Divine Eyes. He stretches forth His Hand to receive a little love, that in the radiant day of the Judgment He may speak to us those ineffably sweet words: "Come, ye blessed of My Father, for I was hungry and you gave Me to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me."221221Matt. 25:34-36.
Dearest Céline, let us rejoice in the lot that is ours! Let us give and give again, and give royally, never forgetting that Our Beloved is a hidden Treasure which few souls know how to find. Now to discover that which is hidden we must needs hide ourselves in the hiding-place. Let our life, then, be one of concealment. The author of the Imitation tells us:
"If thou would'st know and learn something to the purpose, love to be unknown, and to be esteemed as nothing . . . 222222Imit., Bk. I, ch. ii. 3. Having forsaken all things, a man should forsake himself. . . 223223Ib., Bk. II, ch. xi. 4. Let this man glory in this and another in that, but thou for thy part rejoice neither in this nor in that, but in the contempt of thyself."224224Ib., Bk. III, ch. xlix. 7.
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