Sunday, February 16, 2014

Secretum Meum Mihi

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

"My Secret is Mine."  These words of your patron Philip are also the counsel of Elisabeth Leseur.  Who truly knows and understands the workings of the heart? Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the confident assurance of things not seen.  

There is something precious about the workings of God's grace in your heart that is not meant to be exposed to the eyes of all or to the unworthy.  When you sacrifice the solitude wherein lies Divine intimacy and sacrifice it to the eyes and ears of the callous and those lacking the sensibilities of faith, you are diminished and so is your relationship with God.  You cast out what is delicate and beautiful to be trampled under foot.

Your influence is to come through your prayers, your sufferings and your example.  Let yourself and your heart's Love be spoken to the world like a parable - - that seeing they might not see and hearing they might not understand.  Don't make your relationship with Christ an ideology or worse yet diminish the Word of Love who dwells within you by mindless or indiscreet chattering.  

Your strength is found in the great silence of your soul.  Do not dispense it to all takers.  Place it all in the hands of your Beloved who will enflame your heart and make it shine with an intensity beyond what you can imagine.  

For some time I have gradually been giving out too much of my being and of my interior life.  It used not to be thus; the work of my soul was done in solitude in the sight of God and known only to my spiritual father - as much as those things can ever be revealed.

But under the influence of grief and the tenderness of sympathy that then enveloped me, I gave way to this sort of appeal from without and came to speak too easily of myself, my sorrow, and my illnesses, and even of my soul and of the grace I have received.  I have even spoken too much of Thee, my God, for it is true that in this world that does not know Thee, one should weigh well one's words concerning Thee.

Some reflections made regarding this, and the attitude of some who are dear to me, have already given me a useful lesson in humility and reminded me of the duty of silence.

And this is the resolve of this meditation: silence in regard to my trials, silence about my interior life and what God has done unceasingly for me, silence about my soul and all supernatural things, about my hopes and my faith.  I believe it is my duty in awaiting the divine hour to preach Jesus Christ only through my prayers, my sufferings, and my example.

The adored Guest of my soul must be guessed at rather than plainly seen; every part of me must speak of Him without my saying His name; I must be an influence, without ever being a profession of faith.

Anything that even in the most subtle or indirect way gives rise to pride and egotism must be banished without pity from my heart and conversation; is there not a little self-absorption even in the slightest display of oneself?

I do not want to be a spiritual chatterer, and except when charity makes it a duty, I want to keep this great silence of the soul, this encounter of myself alone with God alone, which guards one's strength and interior fortitude.  Nothing must be dispersed, not even one's soul; one must direct it entirely to God, so that it may shine all the farther.

Elisabeth Leseur