On abandonment to God
I want to be a Eucharistic soul, a hidden apostle of the divine Heart to practise complete, confident, and loving abandonment. To go to God by means of the Cross. Through the Heart of Jesus, under the sweet maternal protection of Mary. Whatever it may be, let the future be welcome, since it comes from the heavenly Father and the one Friend. As the future becomes the present, it will bring me its own necessary graces. Until then, and even afterwards I must remember that ‘sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof’ and that the present day is the one during which I can work and suffer for souls, for the glory of God.
On love for others
Above all we must ask God to fill us with an intense charity. Charity is love: the love of God that renews and transforms the soul and becomes the secret cause of our acts, the love of all creatures, the powerful and living love of souls, the love of all that suffers and laments. Such love could save the world. Why groan, then, when with such a love one might act? Why hate, since hate destroys, when that divine love can bring life and transformation to hearts?
I think that nothing is more important in the use of our days than the time given first of all to God. It may be very short, as a few minutes are enough every morning for us to offer up our thoughts, deeds and word, and all that wealth of sufferings which becomes daily a source of grace to the souls on whose behalf we offer it.… Add to this ten minutes or a quarter of an hour devoted to reading and meditating on some passage, and your morning and night prayers, and all together they do not amount to one hour given to God out of the twenty-four. Is it really too much to ask of so good a Christian as yourself?
A few moments of recollection and meditation every morning in the presence of God transform and perfume the whole day, like flowers scattered when night comes, whose fragrance at dawn permeates everything they have touched.
Martha and Mary! The eternal conflict of material life and external existence with the imperishable needs of the soul, the call from without, pressing us to uncover the hidden forces of our soul, to abandon inner recollectedness for the activity that is more pure, more fruitful, or so it seems. But the Master has answered the question and ended the conflict. Mary triumphs; and if our bodies must often be given to the humble tasks of Martha, it is only on condition that our soul, like Mary, devotes itself to the contemplation and adoration of Him who speaks the divine word, and that we know how to listen in silence to that word in the depths of ourselves. The worth of activity lies only in the meditation that has prepared it and in the offering of it to God.
Our outer life is the reproduction of our inner life, and the visible part of us reflects what is unseen; we radiate our souls, so to speak, and, when they are centres of light and warmth, other souls need only to be brought into contact with them in order to be warmed and enlightened. We give out, often unknown to ourselves, what we carry within us; let us strive to increase daily this reserve store of faith and quiet charity.
When we pray, we remain in a union with God that is strong, quiet and lasting; we look at everything from God’s point of view, and are so peacefully anchored on eternity that annoyances, unavoidable struggles, and continual activity have no power to disturb our souls or to drag them down.
On sharing the Faith
(Writing of those hostile to the Faith) The adored Guest of my soul must be guessed at rather than plainly seen, every part of me must speak of Him without my saying His name; I must be an influence, without ever being a profession of faith.
To make Jesus Christ loved and His Church known; to pour out untiringly, without looking for any result of my efforts, all that has been given to me; to make of all my actions, words, and affections, so many different forms of apostolate.
I must begin by welcoming all who come to me, never rebuffing them, but leading them on gently by talking to them in a language that they can understand, although this language must never be false to the eternal truths. In a soul, I ought always to seek the still living point, hidden under the apparent ruin of everything, the faint spark that the Holy Spirit is still able to revive. I must never be weary or discouraged; I must work for souls without trying to ascertain the results of my labour, leaving to God the work of conversion or sanctification, which He alone can accomplish, and looking upon myself as a humble instrument used for purposes of which I myself am ignorant. When it seems to be God’s will, I must go in search of souls, and act with all discretion and humility.
I believe that to accomplish this mission [to reduce evil and suffering], the first thing to do is to try to become our best selves, even perhaps without knowing it. And God will do the rest. Our effort, our sacrifices, our actions, even the most hidden, will not be lost. This is my absolute conviction; everything has longlasting and profound repercussions.
What unhappiness not to be able to make others understand the beauty of what we love and believe! No one can penetrate the depths of another’s soul where love and simple, true ideas are born. He alone who sees and knows can penetrate those depths, He who brings with Him light and life. We have only to make the gesture of appeal and humble supplication: ‘Come, Lord, to this soul, that it may live’
On living simply
I must not cling to money, position, the esteem of others, or the comforts of life, but be prepared to see all these things disappear and still be happy.
On Church and the Liturgy
The Catholic Liturgy is the work of ages, and consists of the aspirations, sufferings and petitions of every generation enlightened by the Holy Spirit. It has preserved for us in phrases full of vigour this call to inward joy and eagerness for peace.
What a wild dream to think one can destroy the Church! It is possible only to those who have not understood the wonderful distinction of her soul and body. The body, which may sometimes appear wounded and weakened, but which lives as long as the soul animates her, and the soul is immortal.
On the Eucharist
The Eucharist truly acts within us to transform us, almost without our knowing it – as bread and wine, human nourishment, strengthens all our body and blood without our being aware of it. By His contact and the grace He leaves in us, Christ gives us moral health and creates new life in us.
Go often to Holy Communion in a spirit of simple love and confidence, approaching our Saviour without disturbance or uneasiness of mind as being the Friend able to understand and sympathise with everything, to whom you can speak of your joys and sorrows, the temptations encountered, even the doubts that He can remove, and your human interests and supernatural hopes. Do not fancy, as some people do, that, before going to Holy Communion, you must be worthy of Our Lord’s visit. Such an idea is the result of a misconception of the aim and action of the Holy Eucharist. When our bodies are weak, we have recourse to the bread that restores us and the food that gives us life; let us do the same with regard to our souls. If we were saints, the same gulf would exist between God and ourselves; but since He fills it up with His love, let us go to Him as friends whom His Majesty does not alarm and His goodness attracts.
Above all, never give up Holy Communion on account of feeling no pleasure in it. Sometimes we are delightfully aware of our Saviour’s real presence and are tempted to believe that this sweet sensation ought to recur at each Communion. This is a mistake, for if it were so, Communion would be Heaven itself, whereas it is intended only to be the way there. The far-reaching effects of the sacrament and the life that it imparts to the soul exist even when all sensible consolation is absent. Just as food acts upon the body, so does God act upon us without our perceiving it, and our interior life grows stronger the more frequently He comes to replenish our inward store of grace, which He alone can give to nourish our souls.
On good works
I believe that in good there is a great expansive force; I believe that no humble, unknown act or thought, seen by God alone, is lost, and that all, in fact, serve souls. I believe, according to a saying I love, that ‘when we do good, we know not how much good we do.’ What we have to do is to work on ourselves, to accomplish our own inner transformation, to do each day and each hour our duty and all the good that we can do.
On vocation and mission
The word vocation means ‘calling’: it is God’s secret call to the conscience to walk in the path that He has traced. According to the design of Providence, each of us is intended to do some special work assigned to him that is determined beforehand. Human society would be beautiful if each man in his appointed place accomplished all the work set before him by the Master of the household, and if we, labourers of the first hour, tried to discover His will at every stage of our lives.
When a poor wayfarer is climbing up a steep and difficult path, he sees only what is immediately before him, and the means of overcoming or avoiding each obstacle as it occurs; he forgets the road already traversed, and thinks of nothing but the stones which bruise him and the brambles which tear his hands. But when he is higher up and able to halt, he turns around and looks back upon the way that he has come, and perceives that, in spite of his doubts, blunders, and weariness, he has advanced by unknown paths towards a goal determined beforehand and that the sun, with its lifegiving heat, is rising above the horizon.
Six months of suffering, bitter suffering of the body, suffering of the soul, privations of all sorts, much pain and humiliation.
Oh, so long as it is the divine response to me – is it not so, Lord? And so long as no least part of my pain is lost! Stronger than my poor action, stronger than my imperfect prayer, may it reach Your Heart and become the most efficacious form of supplication.
By this suffering, bring me close to Your Heart and teach me to love and serve You better. I resolve (imploring divine grace) in the future to give way no more to the lapses I have known in hours of extreme pain, to be always gentle, humble, full of charity. Help me, dear Saviour.
If earthly happiness was denied to her [her sister Juliette], if she knew bitter trials and separations, and if in the end she was taken from us, it is that a better life awaited her than on this earth, it is that joy out of all comparison with her cruel suffering was prepared for her by the God of love, and that God wished her to know all beauty and all good and to give her His light, and that her dear soul was purified and holy enough to enter into the domain of sanctity.
It is surprising to see the interior progress we make in times of spiritual privation, when no conscious joy of any kind unites our souls with God. It is then indeed God Himself we love, and not His consolations; and whatever we do then, at the cost of constant effort and a perpetual appeal to grace, is indeed duty in all its starkness. Then when the dry road is past and the way becomes easier, we are astonished to see how far we have come; sometimes we come to a gentle rest, in peace and near the Heart of God.
The day will come, will it not, O Lord, when it will be Your will that I go to You, when the shadows, the sorrows, shall vanish, and the burden of the body will no longer weigh upon the soul, which will fly at last, free and pure, to Your beauty, to plunge itself into Your Holiness, to drink in Your Love, when this soul, now delivered, will love inexpressibly in You all those it will have rejoined, and those it will have left here below, when the true life will finally begin, to last forever.
The life of French Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur was marked by adversity and moments of sorrow. Her husband, Felix, had not only lost his faith but actively sought to destroy hers. Despite these challenges, Elisabeth steadfastly maintained her love for her husband and prayed ardently for him.
Unbeknownst to her husband, Elisabeth secretly documented her spiritual insights within her journals and letters. After her life was tragically cut short by cancer, he discovered and lovingly catalogued the treasure trove of wisdom she had left behind. Influenced by the profound content of her writings, Felix converted and became a priest.
This book not only presents reflections on carefully chosen passages from Elisabeth’s letters and journals, but also delves into the extraordinary example of patient and profound love she exhibited throughout life’s tribulations. Through these pages, readers have the opportunity to draw inspiration from Elisabeth’s life and, much like Felix, undergo a personal journey of transformation and conversion.