Moments of Love with Mary
– The Spiritual Letter Box –
I find the replies you give most valuable. I read and reread them so that I may better understand this salutary spirituality.
I am the mother of three children, all with very different characters. I want to profit from every opportunity to educate them and direct them the right way. More and more I realize that the spiritual life must occupy an important place in, and even become the dominant theme of, my vocation as a mother. My husband and I discuss the subjects you deal with in your review. We deeply appreciated your explanation of prayer and spiritual aridity. How true it is that we are inclined to become discouraged when we have difficulty praying. We think something is wrong simply because we feel no attraction to prayer.
However, I was surprised by one point in your reply, in the October issue, to the writer who signed himself, “A young unworthy Religious”. You were discussing humility. All the same, this young religious must have made quite some progress in the spiritual life to have acquired such a degree of humility. But can anyone truly desire humiliations? To me it seems impossible because it is so contrary to our nature. Perhaps I don’t fully understand this point?
A happy mother from Sainte-Anne
Your letter proves that there are still mothers concerned for the spiritual welfare of their children and who know how to profit from anything that will further this work. The more you progress, the more you will realize that each child requires a different upbringing. This is what makes the role of formation so grand, for in each child you must distinguish its aspirations, its possibilities, its problems and difficulties. In following, step by step, the development of their children, in studying their behavior, mothers sometimes become psychologists in the real sense of the term. This is no little thing. It is a wonderful vocation. You have set your feet in earnest on the right path and this will bring you rich rewards.
To answer your question: it should be clearly specified that this religious is experiencing, in fact, a spiritual evolution which can lead him to the heights if he always permits the Lord to mold his soul – that is, if he accepts this work of purification as brought about by providential events, which events are not always easy to accept or support.
I do not think there are souls that are looking for humiliations or desire them as such. No, for humiliations are never pleasant to undergo, and a great dose of generosity is required to be able to accept them.
This religious is referring to the happy fruits which are the product of humiliations, when he declares that he is still ready to accept the divine working in his soul. When moral suffering becomes less acute and it is possible to look at it objectively, then the light dawns and the soul is taken by a new peace, a more profound humility, an interior joy at feeling closer to the Lord, while, at the same time, increasingly feeling its unworthiness, and becoming progressively detached from self. So it is that the soul acquires an indifference to what is made of its reputation by those around it, a detachment from worldly things, in order to cling to spiritual sweetness and have a greater understanding of things divine. This is inestimable spiritual knowledge, more especially since the soul is made more agreeable to God through this purification. That is why this religious does not hesitate to ask God to continue within him this work which will free him from self so that he may totally belong to Him who, alone, can make great saints.
This labor of holiness is never a human work; we must simply let ourselves be formed by the divine sculptor. Certainly He selects the material of His choice, and sometimes this material is those who are dearest to us. In which case detachment may become doubly difficult.
Thus in the evening of its life, this soul can sing: “The Lord has done great things for me; holy is His name.”
(Review “The Army of Mary”, volume I, no. 5)