The enclosed is an answer to that which I received from M--.
Please deliver it to her. She is full of good will but she would
go faster than grace! One does not become holy all at once. I
recommend her to your guidance. We ought to help one another by
our advice, and yet more by our good example. Please let me hear
of her from time to time and whether she is very fervent and
Let us often consider that our only business in this life is to
please God, that perhaps all besides is but folly and vanity. You
and I have lived over forty years in the monastic life. Have we
employed them in loving and serving God, who by His mercy has
called us to this state and for that very end? I am sometimes
filled with shame and confusion when I reflect, on the one hand,
upon the great favors which God has done and continues to do for
me; and, on the other, upon the ill use I have made of them and my
small advancement in the way of perfection.
Since, by His mercy, He gives us yet a little time, let us begin
in earnest. Let us repair the lost time. Let us return with full
assurance to that Father of mercies, who is always ready to
receive us affectionately. Let us generously renounce, for the
love of Him, all that is not Himself. He deserves infinitely more.
Let us think of Him perpetually. Let us put all our trust in Him.
I have no doubt that we shall soon receive an abundance of His
grace, with which we can do all things, and, without which we can
do nothing but sin. We cannot escape the dangers which abound in
life without the actual and continual help of God. Let us pray to
Him for it constantly.
How can we pray to Him without being with Him? How can we be with
Him but in thinking of Him often? And how can we often think of
Him, but by a holy habit which we should form of it? You will tell
me that I always say the same thing. It is true, for this is the
best and easiest method I know. I use no other. I advise all the
world to do it.
We must know before we can love. In order to know God, we must
often think of Him. And when we come to love Him, we shall then
also think of Him often, for our heart will be with our treasure.