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Ms A 46v

[46v°] grace Jesus had given me when He attracted me to pray for sinners. Wasn’t it before the wounds of Jesus, when seeing His divine blood flowing, that the thirst for souls had entered my heart? I wished to give them this immaculate blood to drink, this blood which was to purify them from their stains, and the lips of my “first child” [5] were pressed to the sacred wounds!

What an unspeakably sweet response! After this unique grace my desire to save souls grows each day, and I seemed to hear Jesus say to me what he said to the Samaritan woman: “Give me to drink!” It was a true interchange of love: to souls I was giving the blood of Jesus, to Jesus I was offering these same souls refreshed by the divine dew. [10] I slaked His thirst and the more I gave Him to drink, the more the thirst of my poor little soul increased, and it was this ardent thirst He was giving me as the most delightful drink of His love.

God was able in a very short time to extricate me from the very narrow circle in which I was turning without knowing how to come out. When seeing the road He made me [15] travel, my gratitude was great; but I must admit, if the biggest step was taken, there still remained many things for me to leave behind. Freed from its scruples and its excessive sensitiveness, my mind developed.

I had always loved the great and the beautiful, but at this epoch in my life I was taken up with an extreme desire for learning. Not satisfied with the lessons and work [20] my teacher was giving me, I applied myself to some special studies in history and science, and I did this on my own. The other studies left me indifferent, but these two subjects attracted all my attention; in a few months I acquired more knowledge than during my years of study. Ah! this was really only vanity and affliction of spirit. The chapter in the Imitation which speaks of knowledge99 came frequently to my mind, but I found ways of continuing all the same, telling myself that being at an age for studying, it could not be



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