25 . 01 . 2024
08 - A Necessity for the Soul
25 . 01 . 2024
Letters to Young Girls
The Daughters of Mary
In the basement at Mathilda’s, her parents have a bookshelf with several books, including the series of Life of Love and the one of Maria Valtorta entitled The Poem of the Man-God (or The Gospel as Revealed to Me).
Until recently, Mathilda had never really taken a book from those series, but in the last few weeks, she was intrigued by Maria Valtorta’s volumes, so she pulled one from the shelf and opened it at random without really thinking about what she was doing. Was the Holy Spirit guiding her? She was immediately captivated by a few paragraphs in this story about Jesus, recounted in such a lively way, full of interesting details on the persons and places. So, she started reading the first volume.
Wow! She didn’t think she would find it as interesting, even if there are parts in it which she finds rather long! As she reads along, she has the impression of being present there herself, and she is getting to know so many personages much better.
That’s how she got an idea. Mathilda asked her mother if, during Advent, they could prolong their Sunday evening prayer time as a family so as to read together, before the beautiful traditional manger scene, the account of Jesus’ birth and the events that surrounded His coming into our world. This would be a wonderful preparation for the feast of Christmas from which the entire family could benefit.
Mathilda’s wonderful initiative corresponds well to the recommendation made to all of us, as sons or daughters of Mary, to do fifteen minutes of spiritual reading every day. In fact, what a necessity in our lives! For it isn’t just for the fun of it, that this little requirement is suggested to us.
When Mathilda read the life of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, she noticed that her meditation, nurtured with things of God, was deeper, more serious, and her desires for holiness, her zeal in practising love were transforming her. She felt the good influence of this reading on her soul opening up more and more to God.
Reading in general is important in order to learn and give our minds food for thought. So, of course, we encourage good wholesome reading which is instructive or provides relaxation without going against the wonderful moral values your parents strive to pass on to you.
On the other hand, we also remember the well-known saying: “Show me what you read and I will tell you who you are.” Thus, when someone is attracted to God and wants to progress towards Him, he or she will have, among their choice of reading material, books which give them information about Him, inform them on the path to follow to go to Him, stimulate them in their efforts, and help them to understand how God works in order to better correspond to His action.
Marie-Paule wrote to her cousin Simone one day, with whom she would exchange books and then talk about what they read: “What are all the books on earth compared with those that deal with spirituality?” (Lettres de Marie-Paule à sa cousine Simone, p. 42) That shows the importance these books had for her.
The stories of the lives of the saints or the books explaining spiritual paths are a powerful aid in keeping our interior flame alive. Such wonderful spiritual reading can also have the power to transform a person completely, of converting him or her. God speaks to us through it; He enlightens us, provides us with answers to our questions, encourages us to love Him better, or offers us support in more difficult moments.
You are called upon to progress towards God. What importance does spiritual reading have for you?
With regard to this coming Christmas, Mathilda feels a very special, intimate joy in her heart. This will be a Christmas of prayer and, above all, of a fervent love for the beautiful Infant Jesus, for Mary the Divine and the great Saint Joseph.
With her mother, she chooses some beautifully touching passages about this historic birth which changed the world. And what a joy it is to prepare her heart in this way for the wonderful night when God came down to live among us on earth!
And, oddly enough, it even seems as though this deep joy she is experiencing in her heart is greater than the fleeting joy she feels when receiving presents! May this Christmas also be a Christmas of graces for you!
The Daughters of Mary
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05 – The Spiritual Life, What A Grace!
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