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Ms C 32v

[32v°]  which tends to too much self-reflection. Instead of uniting her to God, this exchange of letters (even at long intervals) would occupy her mind, and imagining herself to be doing great marvels, she would be simply procuring useless distraction for herself under the cover of zeal. [5] As for me, it is exactly the same with this matter as with all others, and I feel that if my letters are to do any good they must be written under obedience, and that I should feel repugnance rather than pleasure in writing them. For example, when I interview a novice, I try to do this as a mortification and I refrain from asking questions simply to satisfy my curiosity. If she [10] begins to tell me something interesting and then passes on to something which bores me, without finishing what she was saying, I am very careful not to remind her of the subject she set aside, for it seems to me we can do no good when we seek ourself.

Dear Mother, I notice I shall never correct myself, [15] for here I am once again far from my subject, with all my dissertations; I beg you to excuse me, and permit me to begin on another occasion as I cannot do otherwise. You act like God Himself who does not weary of hearing me even when I tell Him simply my pains and joys as if He did [20] not know them. You, too, dear Mother, you have known for a long time what I am thinking and all the unimportant events of my life; I cannot, then, teach you anything new. I can hardly help laughing when I think of how I scrupulously write down so many things



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