Letters to Young Girls

13 - “Who Could Possibly Stand Indifferent?”


écrit

PUBLICATION DATE

29 . 02 . 2024

Rubric

Letters to Young Girls

13 - “Who Could Possibly Stand Indifferent?”

Author

The Daughters of Mary

«Nous est-il possible de demeurer indifférentes?»

Dear Friend,

Mathilda’s parents aren’t in a position to go on long holidays every year, but, in this month of July, there is rejoicing in the family, for friends have graciously lent them their cabin. When they arrived, Mathilda was absolutely delighted by it. It was a cute cabin, pink in color, next to a small private lake separating them from the road going up into the mountain along which there were maples and lovely green vegetation.

Maison près d'un lac

Yet, it wasn’t long before disappointment set in with her and her brothers and sisters who could be heard grumbling. In fact, even though they could go canoeing, swimming, cycling or on excursions along the footpaths up the mountain as much as they wanted, they quickly realized that, in this place, there was neither a computer nor Internet access and even the signal for their cell phone was limited. Would they be bored to death during the next two very long weeks?

More than a week has gone by. On this morning of the tenth day since they arrived at the cabin, Mathilda woke up very early, and since the sun was already up and inviting, she quietly crept outside. Alone, in a solitary spot where no one could see her, comfortably settled on a lounge chair, she contemplated the extraordinary beauty of the scenery, the little lake without a ripple in which the trees and the infinitely blue sky were reflected. The calmness and silence penetrated her. It’s strange how nature can be so soothing!

Branche d'arbre

Far from this world in which she sometimes feels like someone from outer space, in which so many things are constantly running counter to what she learns at home, she experiences for the first time the qualities or power of the woods, the water, silence and the horizon. She feels good, really good, and in her heart, she spontaneously exclaims: “How beautiful that is! Thank you, dear God! Thank you, dear God! How beautiful it is!” These very simple words are a real prayer from the heart which is letting itself be overwhelmed by the splendor and marvels of creation; a mysterious moment when the soul is so very close to God.

It would seem that Mathilda is really beginning to appreciate this “retreat” in nature, don’t you think? She even seems to have forgotten Internet and social media which constantly solicit our attention for one reason or another, enchaining our will and keeping us glued to a screen, often for too many hours, and tiring our nervous system. Of course, those things are a part of our lives; but being aware of their danger, we also have to learn how to make good use of them, in a balanced way, without always being hooked on them. And in this area, we must admit that, at times, we are very weak.

Nature, for its part, opens our hearts, talks to us about God, His goodness, His grandeur, His omnipotence, His magnificence, His infinity. Through our contact with nature, we understand that there is someone greater than oneself, a God, Father and Mother at the same time, generous in the multiplicity of His gifts, who loves us with an infinite Love. And as we contemplate His marvels, our love for Him is aroused and invigorated, and we begin communicating with Him. Furthermore, nature is also a remedy for the body, the heart and the soul which it calms and revitalizes.

Marie-Paule, who was very sensitive to the beauty of nature, wrote: “Creation is God’s gift to His creature. It is a marvel of harmony throughout. Who could possibly stand indifferent before so much beauty?” (Review AM, vol I, p. 70)

And you, have you ever been awed, stood breathless before the beauty of a landscape, experienced this mysterious feeling of peaceful joy in contemplating it, while your soul sang its gratitude and its thanksgiving to God, longing for such a pure happiness?

After a while, Mathilda, entirely imbued by the majesty of all that was around her, opened the book she had brought along, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, the complete diary of a Jewish adolescent girl who lived a hidden life in Amsterdam for over two years during the Second World War. She and her family were finally discovered and she was deported to a concentration camp where she died a few months later at the age of 15.

coucher de soleil

Providentially, Mathilda had just come to the place in the book where Anne expresses what she feels as she looks at nature from the window in the attic where she is hiding. “For as long as it exists and I am sensitive to it – this bright sunshine, this cloudless sky – I can’t be sad… By looking outside, and thus looking at God, and by embracing nature in an honest and deep gaze, I was happy, nothing but happy…. I find that, by turning towards what is beautiful – nature, the sun, freedom, beauty in us – we feel enriched. By never losing sight of that, we find ourselves in God and there is equilibrium once again.” (Journal de Anne Frank, pp. 170-171,183)

                                                                                                          The Daughters of Mary


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