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self, though is be but in little things, out of a pure intention, or seek an occasion to do a little service to my neighbour out of love, I feel au increase of grace. How true to us would be the glad tidings of the gospel, if only we sought with earnestness to comply with all its injunctions, and to keep watch over our interior with exactness according to it.
Feb. 28. Create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a right spirit within my bowels. Oh, if my heart was wholly pure, what happiness! But I desire for myself, and pray for a clean heart, not for the sake of my pleasure, but because it is thy will. I so often forget to purify my intention from all dust of the earth, notwithstanding that thou, O my God, remindest me of it from so many quarters. heart was entirely pure, my doctrines and my exhortations would meet with a better acceptance. O, sanctify me, O my God, that they also whom thou hast confided to me, may, by means of me, be sanctified according to thy will. What might I do for thine honour, if I were what I ought to be; then I should not so often hear that they who listen to my instructions, act in direct contradiction to them. Thy will be done!
April 2. (Good Friday.) Thou didst say, dearest Jesus, that when thou shouldest be lifted up, thou wouldest draw all things to thyself. Behold, now thou art lifted up ; lifted up on the wood of the cross; lifted up above all the angels and archangels ; lifted up above everything which is in heaven and on earth; lifted up to the right hand of thy Father. Fulfil, then, now thy promise in us. Draw us to thyself. Give us a lively faith, a hope full of desire, an ardent love. He who believes, hopes, and loves, he is drawn to thee. Thou knowest the corruption of my heart, and thou art the only one who canst take it away. Have mercy !
April 12. I thank thee, my Father in heaven, for thy gracious assistance in the instruction of the children for their first communion. Keep in thy name, dear Jesus, those whom yesterday thou hast fed by my means with thy precious flesh and blood. Rectify by thy grace, whatever in the state of their hearts comes short of what is right and pleasing to thee, whether it be by my fault or without it. Forgive me graciously the faults which I have committed in their preparation, and help me to avoid them better for the future. I began much too late to watch over their behaviour, to learn to know their hearts better and to prepare their hearts more worthily for thy advent there. During the time even of their instruction for the first communion, I did
not right earnestly set myself to become acquainted with them on the side of the heart. It was as if every thing depended on the instruction; and, for the sake of managing this better, I neglected watching their behaviour; this was a great fault. Thou knowest that I often wished, and even took pains, to give the instruction with a pure intention ; but how sadly from the very beginning of it, vain glory mixed itself with it, and how often this same was my leader all by itself through the instruction, is well known, O Lord, to thee. Many times I myself observed this; I entered with confusion into a violent struggle with myself, became perplexed in my discourse, and thereby injured the children. Many times I was impelled by vanity, even against my wish and my feeble resolution, to say something, to leave it unsaid, or to say it in another way which I should not have said, omitted to say, or said in the way I did, if thine honour and the salvation of the children had been entirely my only object. The presence of strangers to hear me, no doubt contributed not a little to make me fall short of having a pure intention, but less and less so, in proportion as I became used to it. My constant practice also of writing what I had to say, which kept me from many digressions, and obliged me to speak more precisely, to keep myself more exactly to a settled order, and which, in this point of view, was profitable—this practice, I say, often was the occasion of the instruction not proving so free, natural, and affectionate, as it otherwise would probably have done. And this circumstance again, that the instruction did not go on as I desired, contributed, in no small degree, to the confusion in which I found myself. All this shows how vanity still sticks to me. One, whose heart was quite simple, would, in no degree, be put out of tune by all this. Another sign how vanity still has hold of me was, that my happiness or unhappiness so greatly depended on the result of my doings. A little praise was enough to make me so happy, a little blame to make me so miserable; and hence the former animated me as it did, the latter so sadly beat me down. I often struggled, as thou knowest, against this, but again I did so, very likely, from a motive not quite unmixed. Hence I passed almost the whole of yesterday in a state of combat, and the day before yesterday I was a few times out of humour with T- , involuntarily, as I believe. Lord Jesus, have mercy on me according to thy great mercy ! blot out all my iniquities ; create a clean heart in me, so shall I teach thy little ones thy ways. In order to avoid the faults committed this time, I will now at once cause to be given to me the names of those who probably will be desirous of their first communion next year, that the whole year through I may be behas come upon me, and has kept up the desire to do thy will, O Father, in all things. Give me grace to do it, through Jesus Christ. Amen.
June 20. O Lord God, I thank thee for making me feel, more and more, that out of thee there is no rest to be found. I would not have it out of thee. For what is all without thee, O God? What can I fear, what can I wish for, if I possess thee, and possess thee without the fear of losing thee. I see this every day more clearly, and nevertheless I can still be so negligent, so indolent in paying attention to thy will, and fulfilling it when I know it with proper zeal and persevering firmness. I am principally in fault, by so often taking something in hand to do which pleases myself, and either not thinking whether it pleases thee, or saying to myself, without sufficient reflection,—“ It pleases God.”
June 23. I have frequently remarked, how salutary it is for me that thou shouldest permit uneasiness, temptations, sufferings of mind or body, to come upon me when I begin to grow cold and indolent.
These give me a knock to make me wake up again, and press on more zealously. I now perceive, that often they are as necessary for me as my daily bread. And how graciously dost thou come to meet me when I make an effort towards thee! Yesterday, by the burning heat of the sun, which checks the fruit in its growth, but brings it to maturity, thou gavest me new light to see the usefulness of sufferings, which hinder many of our actions.
Lord, majestically terrible is thy thunder and the quick lightning, but at the same time salutary: as it shakes the earth and purifies the air, so it also shakes and purifies many hearts.
June 24. Keep up within me, if it be thy will, the idea of eternity as vividly as thou allowedst it to be in me this evening, between eight and nine o'clock, in the garden. O eternity, eternity! That which is light and momentary of our tribulation here below, worketh for us an eternal weight of glory in heaven. If the crown gladdens thee, let not the battle make thee sad.
Wherefore art thou here, Bernard ?
July 6. I know not when I have been able to speak with more warmth to the children of the French school. The majestic thunder, which happened at the very time, and seemed as if ordered by thy goodness for the right time, aided, in a glorious manner, the description of the last day. The doctrine of the last things must have in it something universally easy of comprehension and interesting, since the attention of the children is kept up to it with peculiar facility ; and it
appears to me that it has a peculiarly powerful effect upon their will. It would, therefore, be well worth the trouble to work it up care. fully. Never did the exhortation, that they would not dissipate their thoughts immediately after the instruction, make such an impression. The doctrine of the last things properly ought to be applied to the practice of the most important duties which, for the time, the children have to fulfil.
July 23. Help me, Lord, that I may not again so long neglect to note down the account of my conscience. It ought to have been done yesterday evening, but, against my intention, it was too late before I came home from M whose daughter and son-in-law I visited, so that I no longer could do it. It was nearly a quarter to twelve, and I yet had my vespers to say, I found the company at first cold and dull. When it was about the time at which I had settled to go away, they became more animated and communicative, I found occasion here and there to say something good as I wished, and consequently forgot to pay attention to the time, or if it came across me to think that it was time to be going, indecision kept me back. This staying too long made me dissatisfied with myself as I went away from the place; a. sign that I had not delayed so long from a determined purpose of doing the will of God, for otherwise no uneasiness is caused on such occasions.
August 21. It did good to my soul, that yesterday on my way back from Angelmodde, I prayed for the child who was going before me, and helped carrying its basket. In active charity is bliss.
August 30. Yesterday morning at mass, it gave me joy to think of the holy guardian angels of all the little children of the country. I was able to invoke them with confidence, as I thought that they were interested in my behalf, for the sake of the children of their care.
Sept. 29. After dinner, and some conversation with H who seemed to me to want encouragement, I went to Angelmodde. On the way, I first said my office, then some other prayers. The clear heavens, and the apparent disorder of the glistening stars, had great effect upon my heart. I could not help even going on my knees awhile in a field, and praying to Him who, as it seemed to me, had thus thrown the stars up and down, as if, in fact, he would say: “ See, all this cost me nothing !" Hence may we infer, how excellent must be that, the procuring of which for us cost him the blood of his only begotten Son, I do not know that at any other time God speaks by his creatures, with a voice so loud, or which so softly penetrates the VOL. VI.
heart, as when one is in open air, in a still night, with a mind at rest after all one's business is ended, in a place from whence one may take a view on every side round about one, under the clear starry heaven.
Oct. 10. To.day, before, during, and after mass, thou wast again nearer to me; thou didst enable me more clearly to perceive, that out of goodness thou wilt have thy benefits obtained from thee by prayer,I mean, that thou willest, out of goodness, first to be prayed to for them, before thou communicatest them to us. This gives to every benefit a new, and its greatest value, that we view it as a benefit from thee; and often we should not view it in this light, if we had not first had to pray for it from thee. Moreover, by the necessity we have to pray to thee, thou keepest us in nearness to thyself, out of which we can prosper no where,
Oct. 8. When I came home at half past eleven, P. D. brought me notice from the vice dominus, that I was to propose myself for a vicariate. This gives me no pleasure, any more, indeed, than when other such messages have been brought me. I was pleased at the kindness of the vice dominus. It was not long, however, before this message began to occupy my mind; but on that very account I began, by and by, to wish that I might be rid of the affair. Give me, Lord, neither poverty nor riches; but I am ready, as it may be thy good pleasure, to embrace either.
Nov. 4. I cannot but be astonished at myself, for my frequent quick changes of cold and heat, darkness and light. If only the will remain stedfastly vigorous on the side of good, these changes do no harm.
Nov. 12. Thoughts about dying came upon me by representing to myself Mr. F. (who died yesterday evening) in the agonies of death. O happy necessity of dying,—what would the world be without thee !
Dec. 1. Watch ye, because you know not the day nor the hour. Death will come, as a thief in the night. At what hour you think not the Son of Man will come. Lord, thou hast given us another example of this so wholesome doctrine, which we often lightly pass over without attention, in thy faithful servant, Professor Clement Becher, who was found, yet in his clothes, by his bed-side, dead, on the morning of the 30th of November. Thus pious men are to preach forcibly to others in their very death also; this is a grace for them, an accomplishment of their wish, to be useful to their brethren, and to imprint right deeply on their hearts the most salutary doctrines. Professor Becher certainly lad for me a truly paternal affection,-how can I forget him in my