manner, GOD will have pity on you.

One way to re-collect the mind easily in the time of prayer, and

preserve it more in tranquillity, is not to let it wander too far at

other times: you should keep it strictly in the presence of GOD; and

being accustomed to think of Him often, you will find it easy to keep

your mind calm in the time of prayer, or at least to recall it from its


I have told you already at large, in my former letters, of the

advantages we may draw from this practice of the presence of GOD: let

us set about it seriously and pray for one another.


Enclosing a letter to a corresponding sister, whom he regards with

respect tinged with fear. þ His old theme concisely put.

THE enclosed is an answer to that which I received from þ ; pray

deliver it to her. She seems to me full of good will, but she would go

faster than grace. One does not

become holy all at once. I recommend her to you: we ought to help one

another by our advice, and yet more by our good examples. You will

oblige me to let me hear of her from time to time, and whether she be

very fervent and very obedient.

Let us thus think often that our only business in this life is to please

GOD, that perhaps all besides is but folly and vanity. You and I have

lived above forty years in religion [i.e., a monastic life]. Have we

employed them in loving and serving GOD, who by His mercy has called us

to this state and for that very end? I am filled with shame and

confusion, when I reflect on the one hand upon the great favours which

GOD has done, and incessantly continues to do, me; and on the other,

upon the ill use I have made of them, and my small advancement in the

way of perfection.

Since by His mercy He gives us still a little time, let us begin in

earnest, let us repair the lost time, let us return with a full

assurance to that FATHER of mercies, who is always ready to receive us

affectionately. Let us renounce, let us generously renounce, for the

love of Him, all that is not Himself; He deserves infinitely more. Let

us think of Him perpetually. Let us put all our trust in Him: I doubt

not but we shall soon find the effects of it, in receiving the abundance

of His grace, with which we can do all things, and without which we can

do nothing but sin.

We cannot escape the dangers which abound in life, without the actual

and continual help of GOD; let us then pray to Him for it continually.

How can we pray to Him without being with Him? How can we be with Him

but in thinking of Him often? And how can we often think of Him, but by

a holy habit which we should form of it? You will tell me that I am

always saying the same thing: it is true, for this is the best and

easiest method I know; and as I use no other, I advise all the world to

it. We must know before we can love. In order to know GOD, we must

often think of Him; and when we come to love Him, we shall then also

think of Him often, for our heart will be with our treasure. This is an

argument which well deserves your consideration.


Has difficulty, but sacrifices his will, to write as requested. þ The

loss of a friend may lead to acquaintance with the Friend.

I HAVE had a good deal of difficulty to bring myself to write to M. þ ,

and I do it now purely because you and Madam desire me. Pray write the

directions and send it to him. I am very well pleased with the trust

which you have in GOD: I wish that He may increase it in you more and

more: we cannot have too much in so good and faithful a Friend, who

will never fail us in this world nor in the next.

If M. þ makes his advantage of the loss he has had, and puts all his

confidence in GOD, He will soon give him another friend, more powerful

and more inclined to serve him. He disposes of hearts as He pleases.

Perhaps M. þ was too much attached to him he has lost. We ought to