From Sister Marie‑Dosithée to Mr. Guérin - January 6, 1875

From Sister Marie‑Dosithée to Mr. Guérin. 6th January 1875.

Live Jesus.                                                               

From our Mtery in Le Mans

                                                                       6th January 75

My beloved and very dear Brother

I am writing earlier than I intended because it seemed to me you were feeling upset. You worry incredibly, it’s true it’s in the family, but we can nevertheless correct ourselves as if it were any other fault. I will tell you frankly that I am quite angry to see you with this drugstore (cf.1972, letter 203, n.1), you have enough with your Pharmacy, you certainly can’t be as successful as you would be if you only had the drugstore. Unable to look after it, you are obliged to hire other people which is very expensive, and who consequently absorb all or almost all the profit and what’s more don’t do things as well as you would. It’s true that you have Mr. Maudelonde, but this [l v°] man is not young anymore (he was 41) and is not used to commerce, it would seem to me that for this reason he would have more trouble succeeding. I would like you to find a way of getting rid of it (the drugstore) at a good price it’s true that it’s not a good time, things aren’t going very well. I don’t however see any reason for you to worry because you aren’t losing money and on the contrary you’re even making a profit. But I am delighted you have made St. Joseph your bursar, have faith and you will see your business prosper, the Lord never refuses someone with persevering faith, and I’ve seen St. Joseph work so many wonders; help and resources, arrive so providentially that I congratulate you and believe that this idea came from God.     

Now we come to the 2nd point in your letter which is the most intimate and is not the least of your worries. People are respecting you more, you are aware of being praised and you fear becoming proud.

Don’t worry about this, today the world approves you and praises you and [2r°] perhaps tomorrow for the same reasons or even for better and greater reasons, it will denigrate you, execrate you, and want, to all intents and purposes, to exterminate you. For example look at Our Lord, everybody ran before him shouting: “Hosanna to the son of David” (Mark 11:9-10) and 6 days later: “Crucify him, crucify him (Mark 15:13).” My dear brother don’t pay any attention to what they say whether it is good or bad, God alone judges us, let us do our works for him alone, irrespective of our good or bad renown, and as what you have done was not with the view of being approved (On 4/3/1874, M. Guérin participated in founding the Conference of Saint Vincent-de-Paul; on 12/4/1874, he was appointed to the Parish Council of Saint Pierre; in October, he would participate in the founding of the Cercle Catholique), don’t abandon it either, and instead of fighting with your vain thoughts, scornfully let them fall away you will soon find you were right to do so; when they come to you lift up your heart to God and say to these vain complaisant thoughts: “You weren’t the reason I began, you won’t be the reason I stop either”. You understand that if good people had a bit more energy to conquer and fight wickedness, society wouldn’t be in the state it is now. The wicked do everything in their power to do evil and unfortunately the good don’t make much effort to resist them, they remain quietly righteous [2v°] and the wicked have the upper hand. Boldly do everything you can to do good, and if this means you are respected, so much the better, not for you, but for the glory of God, it is sometimes necessary to be honoured, then good works have much more weight and set a better example, what is important is to refer everything to God’s glory, and to only attribute to oneself what comes from us that is to say the malice and deep corruption that are in our nature: alas when I think about what you are and what you should be I can’t believe it; because there should be nothing good about you, and you are good! for whose glory? God’s alone! Therefore, I am full of praise for him, because he has done everything.

It is wise for you to fear vanity because it does a great deal of damage and if these great and holy people: Lamennais, Hyacinthe (F. de Lamennais and Hyacinthe Loyson), etc. had remained humble they wouldn’t have had those dreadful falls, and yet safeguarding oneself from pride doesn’t mean one must avoid doing good works, but fear one’s weakness and entrust oneself to God, a soul who entrusts itself to him shall never be lost. It is also a good thing when there is calm to thoroughly reflect on one’s deep poverty and nothingness and to ask God to keep us from sin and pride. I say when there is calm, because it seems to me and it’s true that when temptations of pride assail us, one mustn’t dwell on them too much, but scorn and reject them, because if we start trying to reason with them we’ll [2v° tv] never make it through. That is dear brother I think good advice, now we must pray because spiritual life is full of temptations and victory is reserved for those who follow Our Lord’s advice to watch and pray (Matthew 26:41)!

[1r° tv]. Watch also that you don’t worry, it is very bad for your soul and your body’s health, how do you think you’ll obtain perfection with all this tumult and worry about your business; I understand that you have many matters to consider; but believe me, throw your worries into the Lord’s breast and he will take care of you (Ps 54: 23). 

[1 v° tv] I found my sister-in-law’s letter so kind and affectionate that she touched my heart: Tell her that I thank her for the gifts she gave to the little girls in my name and give her and the girls my love.

[2r°tv] I thought dear brother that you would like this picture; I like it very much, I think we have the same taste. I send you all my love and implore you to be calmer and to completely surrender yourself to the paternal cares of Our Lord he has been so good to you and it would be most ungrateful if you didn’t.

Your devoted sister

Sr. M. Dosithée Guérin

Of the Von of Holy Mary.

B. B. G.

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