Chapter 10

CHAPTER X – THE NEW COMMANDMENT

Dear Mother, God in His infinite goodness has given me a clear insight
into the deep mysteries of Charity. If I could but express what I know,
you would hear a heavenly music; but alas! I can only stammer like a
child, and if God’s own words were not my support, I should be tempted
to beg leave to hold my peace. When the Divine Master tells me to give
to whosoever asks of me, and to let what is mine be taken without
asking it again, it seems to me that He speaks not only of the goods of
earth, but also of the goods of Heaven. Besides, neither one nor the
other are really mine; I renounced the former by the vow of poverty,
and the latter gifts are simply lent. If God withdraw them, I have no
right to complain.

But our very own ideas, the fruit of our mind and heart, form a
treasury on which none dare lay hands. For instance, if I reveal to a
Sister some light given me in prayer, and she repeats it later on as
though it were her own, it seems as though she appropriates what is
mine. Or, if during recreation someone makes an apt and witty remark,
which her neighbour repeats to the Community, without acknowledging
whence it came, it is a sort of theft; and the person who originated
the remark is naturally inclined to seize the first opportunity of
delicately insinuating that her thoughts have been borrowed.

I could not so well explain all these weaknesses of human nature had I
not experienced them. I should have preferred to indulge in the
illusion that I was the only one who suffered thus, had you not bidden
me advise the novices in their difficulties. I have learnt much in the
discharge of this duty, and especially I feel bound to put in practice
what I teach.

I can say with truth that by God’s grace I am no more attached to the
gifts of the intellect than to material things. If it happens that a
thought of mine should please my Sisters, I find it quite easy to let
them regard it as their own. My thoughts belong to the Holy Ghost. They
are not mine. St. Paul assures us that without the Spirit of Love, we
cannot call God our Father. [119]

And besides, though far from depreciating those beautiful thoughts
which bring us nearer to God, I have long been of opinion that we must
be careful not to over-estimate their worth. The highest inspirations
are of no value without good works. It is true that others may derive
much profit therefrom, if they are duly grateful to our Lord for
allowing them to share in the abundance of one of His privileged souls;
but should this privileged soul take pride in spiritual wealth, and
imitate the Pharisee, she becomes like to a hostess dying of starvation
at a well-spread table, while her guests enjoy the richest fare, and
perhaps case envious glances at the possessor of so many treasures.

Verily it is true that God alone can sound the heart. How short-sighted
are His creatures! When they see a soul whose lights surpass their own,
they conclude that the Divine Master loves them less. Since when has He
lost the right to make use of one of His children, in order to supply
the others with the nourishment they need? That right was not lost in
the days of Pharaoh, for God said unto him: ”And therefore have I
raised thee, that I may show My power in thee, and My name may be
spoken of throughout all the earth.” [120]

Generations have passed away since the Most High spoke these words, and
His ways have not changed. He has ever chosen human instruments for the
accomplishment of His work.

If an artist’s canvas could but think and speak, surely it would never
complain of being touched and re-touched by the brush, nor would it
feel envious thereof, knowing that all its beauty is due to the artist
alone. So, too, the brush itself could not boast of the masterpiece it
had helped to produce, for it must know that an artist is never at a
loss; that difficulties do but stimulate him; and that at times it
pleases him to make use of instruments the most unlikely and defective.

Dear Mother, I am the little brush that Jesus has chosen to paint His
likeness in the souls you have confided to my care. Now an artist has
several brushes–two at the least: the first, which is more useful,
gives the ground tints and rapidly covers the whole canvas; the other,
and smaller one, puts in the lesser touches. Mother, you represent the
big brush which our Lord holds lovingly in His Hand when He wishes to
do some great work in the souls of your children; and I am the little
one He deigns to use afterwards, to fill in the minor details.

The first time the Divine Master took up His little brush was about
December 8, 1892. I shall always remember that time as one of special
grace.

When I entered the Carmel, I found in the noviciate a companion about
eight years older than I was. In spite of this difference of age, we
became the closest friends, and to encourage an affection which gave
promise of fostering virtue we were allowed to converse together on
spiritual subjects. My companion charmed me by her innocence and by her
open and frank disposition, though I was surprised to find how her love
for you differed from mine; and besides, I regretted many things in her
behaviour. But God had already given me to understand that there are
souls for whom in His Mercy He waits unweariedly, and to whom He gives
His light by degrees; so I was very careful not to forestall Him.

One day when I was thinking over the permission we had to talk
together, so that we might–as our holy constitutions tells us–incite
ourselves more ardently to the love of our Divine Spouse, it came home
to me sadly that our conversations did not attain the desired end; and
I understood that either I must no longer fear to speak out, or else I
must put an end to what was degenerating into mere worldly talk. I
begged our Lord to inspire me with words, kind and convincing; or
better still, to speak Himself for me. He heard my prayer, for those
who look upon Him shall be enlightened, [121] and ”to the upright a
light is risen in the darkness.” [122] The first of these texts I apply
to myself, the other to my companion, who was truly upright in heart.

The next time we met, the poor little Sister saw at once that my manner
had changed, and, blushing deeply, she sat down beside me. I pressed
her to my heart, and told her gently what was in my mind; then I
pointed out to her in what true love consists, and proved that in
loving her Prioress with such natural affection she was in reality
loving herself. I confided to her the sacrifices of this kind which I
had been obliged to make at the beginning of my religious life, and
before long her tears were mingled with mine. She admitted very humbly
that she was in the wrong and that I was right, and, begging me as a
favour always to point out her faults, she promised to begin a new
life. From this time our love for one another became truly spiritual;
in us were fulfilled these words of the Holy Ghost: ”A brother that is
helped by his brother is like a strong city.” [123]

Dear Mother, you know very well that it was not my wish to turn my
companion away from you, I only wanted her to grasp that true love
feeds on sacrifice, and that in proportion as our souls renounce
natural enjoyments our affections become stronger and more detached.

I remember that when I was a postulant I was sometimes so violently
tempted to seek my own satisfaction by having a word with you, that I
was obliged to hurry past your cell and hold on to the banisters to
keep myself from turning back. Numerous permissions I wanted to ask,
and a hundred pretexts for yielding to my desires suggested themselves,
but now I am truly glad that I did not listen. I already enjoy the
reward promised to those who fight bravely. I no longer feel the need
of refusing myself these consolations, for my heart is fixed on God.
Because it has loved Him only, it has grown, little by little, and now
it can give to those who are dear to Him a far deeper and truer love
than if it were centred in a barren and selfish affection.

I have told you of the first piece of work which you accomplished
together with Our Lord by means of the little brush, but that was only
the prelude to the masterpiece which was afterwards to be painted. From
the moment I entered the sanctuary of souls, I saw at a glance that the
task was beyond my strength. Throwing myself without delay into Our
Lord’s Arms, I imitated those tiny children, who, when they are
frightened, hide their faces on their father’s shoulder, and I said:

”Dear Lord, Thou seest that I am too small to feed these little ones,
but if through me Thou wilt give to each what is suitable, then fill my
hands, and without leaving the shelter of Thine Arms, or even turning
away, I will distribute Thy treasures to the souls who come to me
asking for food. Should they find it to their taste, I shall know that
this is due not to me, but to Thee; and if, on the contrary, they find
fault with its bitterness, I shall not be cast down, but try to
persuade them that it cometh from Thee, while taking good care to make
no change in it.”

The knowledge that it was impossible to do anything of myself rendered
my task easier. My one interior occupation was to unite myself more and
more closely to God, knowing that the rest would be given to me over
and above. And indeed my hope has never been deceived; I have always
found my hands filled when sustenance was needed for the souls of my
Sisters. But had I done otherwise, and relied on my own strength, I
should very soon have been forced to abandon my task.

From afar it seems so easy to do good to souls, to teach them to love
God more, and to model them according to one’s own ideas. But, when we
draw nearer, we quickly feel that without God’s help this is quite as
impossible as to bring back the sun when once it has set. We must
forget ourselves, and put aside our tastes and ideas, and guide souls
not by our own way, but along the path which Our Lord points out. Even
this is not the most difficult part; what costs me more than all is
having to observe their faults, their slightest imperfections, and wage
war against them.

Unhappily for me–I was going to say, but that would be cowardly, so I
will say–happily for my Sisters, ever since I placed myself in the
Arms of Jesus I have been like a watchman on the look-out for the enemy
from the highest turret of a fortified castle. Nothing escapes my
vigilance; indeed, I am sometimes surprised at my own
clear-sightedness, and I think it was quite excusable in the prophet
Jonas to fly before the face of the Lord, that he might not have to
announce the ruin of Ninive. Rather than make one single reproach, I
would prefer to receive a thousand, yet I feel it is necessary that the
task should cause me pain, for if I spoke only through natural impulse,
then the soul in fault would not understand its defects and would
simply think: ”This Sister is displeased, and her displeasure falls on
me although I am full of the best intentions.”

But in this, as in all else, I must practise sacrifice and self-denial.
Even in the matter of writing a letter, I feel that it will produce no
fruit, unless I am disinclined to write, and only do so from obedience.

When conversing with a novice I am on the watch to mortify myself, and
I avoid asking questions which would satisfy my curiosity. If she
begins to speak on an interesting subject, and, leaving it unfinished,
passes on to another that wearies me, I take care not to remind her of
the interruption, for it seems to me that no good can come of
self-seeking.

I know, dear Mother, that your little lambs find me severe; if they
were to read these lines, they would say that, so far as they can see,
it does not distress me to run after them, and show them how they have
soiled their beautiful white fleece, or torn it in the brambles. Well,
the little lambs may say what they like–in their hearts they know I
love them dearly; there is no fear of my imitating ”the hireling . . .
who seeth the wolf coming and leaveth the sheep, and flieth.” [124]

I am ready to lay down my life for them, and my affection is so
disinterested that I would not have my novices know this. By God’s
help, I have never tried to draw their hearts to myself, for I have
always understood that my mission was to lead them to Him and to you,
dear Mother, who on this earth hold His place in their regard, and
whom, therefore, they must love and respect.

I said before, that I have learnt much by guiding others. In the first
place I see that all souls have more or less the same battles to fight,
and on the other hand, that one soul differs widely from another, so
each must be dealt with differently. With some I must humble myself,
and not shrink from acknowledging my own struggles and defeats; then
they confess more readily the faults into which they fall, and are
pleased that I know by experience what they suffer. With others, my
only means of success is to be firm, and never go back on what I have
once said; self-abasement would be taken for weakness.

Our Lord has granted me the grace never to fear the conflict; at all
costs I must do my duty. I have more than once been told: ”If you want
me to obey, you must be gentle and not severe, otherwise you will gain
nothing.” But no one is a good judge in his own case. During a painful
operation a child will be sure to cry out and say that the remedy is
worse than the disease; but if after a few days he is cured, then he is
greatly delighted that he can run about and play. And it is the same
with souls: they soon recognise that a little bitter is better than too
much sweet, and they are not afraid to make the acknowledgment.
Sometimes the change which takes place from one day to another seems
almost magical.

A novice will say to me: ”You did well to be severe yesterday; at first
I was indignant, but when I thought it all over, I saw that you were
quite right. I left your cell thinking: ‘This ends it. I will tell Our
Mother that I shall never go to Soeur Therese again’; but I knew this
was the devil’s suggestion, and then I felt you were praying for me,
and I grew calm. I began to see things more clearly, and now I come to
you for further guidance.”

I am only too happy to follow the dictates of my heart and hasten to
console with a little sweetness, but I see that one must not press
forward too quickly–a word might undo the work that cost so many
tears. If I say the least thing which seems to tone down the hard
truths of the previous day, I see my little Sister trying to take
advantage of the opening thus given her. At once I have recourse to
prayer, I turn to Our Blessed Lady, and Jesus always triumphs. Verily
in prayer and sacrifice lies all my strength, they are my invincible
arms; experience has taught me that they touch hearts far more easily
than words.

Two years ago, during Lent, a novice came to me smiling, and said: ”You
would never imagine what I dreamt last night–I thought I was with my
sister, who is so worldly, and I wanted to withdraw her from all vain
things; to this end I explained the words of your hymn:

‘They richly lose who love Thee, dearest Lord; Thine are my perfumes,
Thine for evermore.’

I felt that my words sank deep into her soul, and I was overjoyed. This
morning it seems to me that perhaps Our Lord would like me to gain Him
this soul. How would it do if I wrote at Easter and described my dream,
telling her that Jesus desires to have her for His Spouse?” I answered
that she might certainly ask permission.

As Lent was not nearly over, you were surprised, dear Mother, at such a
premature request, and, evidently guided by God, you replied that
Carmelites should save souls by prayer rather than by letters. When I
heard your decision I said to the little Sister: ”We must set to work
and pray hard; if our prayers are answered at the end of Lent, what a
joy it will be!” O Infinite Mercy of our Lord! At the close of Lent,
one soul more had given herself to God. It was a real miracle of
grace–a miracle obtained through the fervour of a humble novice.

How wonderful is the power of prayer! It is like unto a queen, who,
having free access to the king, obtains whatsoever she asks. In order
to secure a hearing there is no need to recite set prayers composed for
the occasion–were it so, I ought indeed to be pitied!

Apart from the Divine Office, which in spite of my unworthiness is a
daily joy, I have not the courage to look through books for beautiful
prayers. I only get a headache because of their number, and besides,
one is more lovely than another. Unable therefore to say them all, and
lost in choice, I do as children who have not learnt to read–I simply
tell Our Lord all that I want, and He always understands.

With me prayer is an uplifting of the heart; a glance towards heaven; a
cry of gratitude and love, uttered equally in sorrow and in joy. In a
word, it is something noble, supernatural, which expands my soul and
unites it to God. Sometimes when I am in such a state of spiritual
dryness that not a single good thought occurs to me, I say very slowly
the ”Our Father” or the ”Hail Mary,” and these prayers suffice to take
me out of myself, and wonderfully refresh me.

But what was I speaking of? Again I am lost in a maze of reflections.
Forgive me, dear Mother, for wandering thus. My story is like a tangled
skein, but I fear I can do no better. I write my thoughts as they come;
I fish at random in the stream of my heart, and offer you all that I
catch.

I was telling you about the novices. They often say: ”You have an
answer for everything. This time I thought I should puzzle you. Where
do you find all that you teach us?” Some are even simple enough to
think I can read their souls, because at times it happens I discover to
them–without revelation–the subject of their thoughts. The senior
novice had determined to hide from me a great sorrow. She spent the
night in anguish, keeping back her tears lest her eyes might betray
her. Yet she came to me with a smile next day, seeming even more
cheerful than usual, and when I said: ”You are in trouble, I am sure,”
she looked at me in inexpressible amazement. Her surprise was so great
that it reacted on me, and imparted a sense of the supernatural. I felt
that God was close to us. Unwittingly–for I have not the gift of
reading souls–I had spoken as one inspired, and was able to console
her completely.

And now, dear Mother, I will tell you wherein I gain most with the
novices. You know they are allowed without restriction to say anything
to me, agreeable or the reverse; this is all the easier since they do
not owe me the respect due to a Novice-Mistress. I cannot say that Our
Lord makes me walk in the way of exterior humiliation; He is satisfied
with humbling me in my inmost soul. In the eyes of creatures all is
success, and I walk in the dangerous path of honour–if a religious may
so speak. I understand God’s way and that of my superiors in this
respect; for if the Community thought me incapable, unintelligent, and
wanting in judgment, I could be of no possible use to you, dear Mother.
This is why the Divine Master has thrown a veil over all my
shortcomings, both interior and exterior. Because of this veil I
receive many compliments from the novices–compliments without
flattery, for they really mean what they say; and they do not inspire
me with vanity, for the remembrance of my weakness is ever before me.
At times my soul tires of this over-sweet food, and I long to hear
something other than praise; then Our Lord serves me with a nice little
salad, well spiced, with plenty of vinegar–oil alone is wanting, and
this it is which makes it more to my taste. And the salad is offered to
me by the novices at the moment I least expect. God lifts the veil that
hides my faults, and my dear little Sisters, beholding me as I really
am, do not find me altogether agreeable. With charming simplicity, they
tell me how I try them and what they dislike in me; in fact, they are
as frank as though they were speaking of someone else, for they are
aware that I am pleased when they act in this way.

I am more than pleased–I am transported with delight by this splendid
banquet set before me. How can anything so contrary to our natural
inclinations afford such extraordinary pleasure? Had I not experienced
it, I could not have believed it possible.

One day, when I was ardently longing for some humiliation, a young
postulant came to me and sated my desire so completely, that I was
reminded of the occasion when Semei cursed David, and I repeated to
myself the words of the holy King: ”Yea, it is the Lord who hath bidden
him say all these things.” [125] In this way God takes care of me. He
cannot always provide that strength-giving bread, exterior humiliation,
but from time to time He allows me to eat of ”the crumbs from the table
of the children.” [126] How magnificent are His Mercies!

Dear Mother, since that Infinite Mercy is the subject of this my
earthly song, I ought also to discover to you one real advantage,
reaped with many others in the discharge of my task. Formerly, if I saw
a Sister acting in a way that displeased me, and was seemingly contrary
to rule, I would think: ”Ah, how glad I should be if only I could warn
her and point out where she is wrong.” Since, however, this burden has
been laid upon me my ideas have changed, and when I happen to see
something not quite right, I say with a sigh of relief: ”Thank God! It
is not a novice, and I am not obliged to correct”; and at once I try to
find excuses, and credit the doer with the good intentions she no doubt
possesses.

Your devotedness, dear Mother, now that I am ill, has also taught me
many a lesson of charity. No remedy is too costly, and if one does not
succeed, you unhesitatingly try something new. When I am present at
recreation, how careful you are to shield me from draughts. I feel that
I ought to be as compassionate for the spiritual infirmities of my
Sisters as you are for my bodily ills.

I have noticed that it is the holiest nuns who are most deeply loved;
everyone is anxious to seek their company, and do them service, without
even being asked. These very souls who are well able to bear with want
of affection and little attentions are always surrounded by an
atmosphere of love. Our Father, St. John of the Cross, says with great
truth: ”All good things have come unto me, since I no longer sought
them for myself.”

Imperfect souls, on the contrary, are left alone. They are treated, it
is true, with the measure of politeness which religious life demands;
yet their company is avoided, lest a word might be said which would
hurt their feelings. When I say imperfect souls, I am not referring to
souls with spiritual imperfections only, for the holiest souls will not
be perfect till they are in heaven. I mean those who are also afflicted
with want of tact and refinement, as well as ultra-sensitive souls. I
know such defects are incurable, but I also know how patient you would
be, in nursing and striving to relieve me, were my illness to last for
many years.

From all this I draw the conclusion:–I ought to seek the companionship
of those Sisters towards whom I feel a natural aversion, and try to be
their good Samaritan. A word or a smile is often enough to put fresh
life in a despondent soul. And yet it is not merely in the hope of
giving consolation that I try to be kind. If it were, I know that I
should soon be discouraged, for well-intentioned words are often
totally misunderstood. Consequently, not to lose my time or labour, I
try to act solely to please Our Lord, and follow this precept of the
Gospel: ”When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends or
thy brethren, lest perhaps they also invite thee again and a recompense
be made to thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the
maimed, the blind, and the lame, and thou shalt be blessed, because
they have naught wherewith to make thee recompense, and thy Father Who
seeth in secret will repay thee.” [127]

What feast can I offer my Sisters but a spiritual one of sweet and
joyful charity! I know none other, and I wish to imitate St. Paul, who
rejoiced with those who rejoiced. It is true that he wept with those
who wept, and at my feast, too, the tears must sometimes fall, still I
shall always try to change them into smiles, for ”God loveth a cheerful
giver.” [128]

I remember an act of charity with which God inspired me while I was
still a novice, and this act, though seemingly small, has been rewarded
even in this life by Our Heavenly Father, ”Who seeth in secret.”

Shortly before Sister St. Peter became quite bedridden, it was
necessary every evening, at ten minutes to six, for someone to leave
meditation and take her to the refectory. It cost me a good deal to
offer my services, for I knew the difficulty, or I should say the
impossibility, of pleasing the poor invalid. But I did not want to lose
such a good opportunity, for I recalled Our Lord’s words: ”As long as
you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to Me.” [129]
I therefore humbly offered my aid. It was not without difficulty I
induced her to accept it, but after considerable persuasion I
succeeded. Every evening, when I saw her shake her sand-glass, I
understood that she meant: ”Let us go!” Summoning up all my courage I
rose, and the ceremony began. First of all, her stool had to be moved
and carried in a particular way, and on no account must there be any
hurry. The solemn procession ensued. I had to follow the good Sister,
supporting her by her girdle; I did it as gently as possible, but if by
some mischance she stumbled, she imagined I had not a firm hold, and
that she was going to fall. ”You are going too fast,” she would say, ”I
shall fall and hurt myself!” Then when I tried to lead her more
quietly: ”Come quicker . . . I cannot feel you . . . you are letting me
go! I was right when I said you were too young to take care of me.”

When we reached the refectory without further mishap, more troubles
were in store. I had to settle my poor invalid in her place, taking
great pains not to hurt her. Then I had to turn back her sleeves,
always according to her own special rubric, and after that I was
allowed to go.

But I soon noticed that she found it very difficult to cut her bread,
so I did not leave her till I had performed this last service. She was
much touched by this attention on my part, for she had not expressed
any wish on the subject; it was by this unsought-for kindness that I
gained her entire confidence, and chiefly because–as I learnt
later–at the end of my humble task I bestowed upon her my sweetest
smile.

Dear Mother, it is long since all this happened, but Our Lord allows
the memory of it to linger with me like a perfume from Heaven. One cold
winter evening, I was occupied in the lowly work of which I have just
spoken, when suddenly I heard in the distance the harmonious strains of
music outside the convent walls. I pictured a drawing-room, brilliantly
lighted and decorated, and richly furnished. Young ladies, elegantly
dressed, exchanged a thousand compliments, as is the way of the world.
Then I looked on the poor invalid I was tending. Instead of sweet music
I heard her complaints, instead of rich gilding I saw the brick walls
of our bare cloister, scarcely visible in the dim light. The contrast
was very moving. Our Lord so illuminated my soul with the rays of
truth, before which the pleasures of the world are but as darkness,
that for a thousand years of such worldly delights, I would not have
bartered even the ten minutes spent in my act of charity.

If even now, in days of pain and amid the smoke of battle, the thought
that God has withdrawn us from the world is so entrancing, what will it
be when, in eternal glory and everlasting repose, we realise the favour
beyond compare He has done us here, by singling us out to dwell in His
Carmel, the very portal of Heaven?

I have not always felt these transports of joy in performing acts of
charity, but at the beginning of my religious life Jesus wished to make
me feel how sweet to Him is charity, when found in the hearts of his
Spouses. Thus when I led Sister St. Peter, it was with so much love
that I could not have shown more were I guiding Our Divine Lord
Himself.

The practice of charity has not always been so pleasant as I have just
pointed out, dear Mother, and to prove it I will recount some of my
many struggles.

For a long time my place at meditation was near a Sister who fidgeted
continually, either with her Rosary, or something else; possibly, as I
am very quick of hearing, I alone heard her, but I cannot tell you how
much it tried me. I should have liked to turn round, and by looking at
the offender, make her stop the noise; but in my heart I knew that I
ought to bear it tranquilly, both for the love of God and to avoid
giving pain. So I kept quiet, but the effort cost me so much that
sometimes I was bathed in perspiration, and my meditation consisted
merely in suffering with patience. After a time I tried to endure it in
peace and joy, at least deep down in my soul, and I strove to take
actual pleasure in the disagreeable little noise. Instead of trying not
to hear it, which was impossible, I set myself to listen, as though it
had been some delightful music, and my meditation–which was not the
”prayer of quiet”–was passed in offering this music to Our Lord.

Another time I was working in the laundry, and the Sister opposite,
while washing handkerchiefs, repeatedly splashed me with dirty water.
My first impulse was to draw back and wipe my face, to show the
offender I should be glad if she would behave more quietly; but the
next minute I thought how foolish it was to refuse the treasures God
offered me so generously, and I refrained from betraying my annoyance.
On the contrary, I made such efforts to welcome the shower of dirty
water, that at the end of half an hour I had taken quite a fancy to
this novel kind of aspersion, and I resolved to come as often as I
could to the happy spot where such treasures were freely bestowed.

Dear Mother, you see that I am a very little soul, who can only offer
very little things to Our Lord. It still happens that I frequently let
slip the occasion of these slender sacrifices, which bring so much
peace, but this does not discourage me; I bear the loss of a little
peace, and I try to be more watchful for the future.

How happy does Our Lord make me, and how sweet and easy is His service
on this earth! He has always given me what I desired, or rather He has
made me desire what He wishes to give. A short time before my terrible
temptation against Faith, I had reflected how few exterior trials,
worthy of mention, had fallen to my lot, and that if I were to have
interior trials, God must change my path; and this I did not think He
would do. Yet I could not always live at ease. Of what means, then,
wold He make use?

I had not long to wait for an answer, and it showed me that He whom I
love is never at a loss, for without changing my way, He sent me this
great trial; and thus mingled a healing bitterness with all the sweet.
__________________________________________________________________

[119] Cf. Rom. 8:15.

[120] Exod. 9:16.

[121] Cf. Ps. 33[34]:6.

[122] Ps. 111[112]:4.

[123] Prov. 18:19.

[124] John 10:12.

[125] Cf. 2 Kings 16:10.

[126] Mark 7:28.

[127] Cf. Luke 14:12, 13, 14.

[128] 2 Cor. 9:7.

[129] Matt. 25:40.
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