the Distractions of a busy life
Dear Father Francis,
Since receiving your last letter I've been trying to do my work close to our blessed Lord. I want to do everything well for his sake. But life is so full and there is such a lot to attend to that I find it difficult to keep calm and not let things get on top of me.
M de la Flechere
Dear Mrs de la Flechere,
The constant pressure of affairs is indeed a continual martyrdom. Our daily duties are so many and so mixed that they always seem harder than they really are.
You need patience. God will give you it, I'm sure, if you persevere in asking him for it and constantly strive to practise it.
For success in your work, don't rely on your own ability, but on God's help. Rest secure in his care for you, confident that he will arrange everything for the best as long as you apply yourself steadily but calmly to the work in hand.
I mention steadiness and calmness, because impetuous activity is harmful to our work and our soul. It is not genuine activity at all, but merely turmoil and excitability.
Soon we shall be living in the eternity, conscious of the insignificance of our worldly occupation, and how little it mattered whether things were done or not.
Yet we are as fussy about them now as it they were all important.
How eagerly we used to collect pieces of broken tile,
Bits of wood and handfuls of clay when we were little, to built houses and make little boats! And if anyone destroyed those things; how upset and tearful we were!
We realise now the insignificance of it all and how little it mattered. It will be the same in Heaven on day; we shall see the childishness of our attachment to the things of this world.
I'm not suggesting that we should have no concern at all for the trifling details of our daily lives; God has provided these things as part of our training. but I think we ought to moderate the feverishness of our concern for them.
Let us indulge in our child's play, since we are children; but let us beware of being completely absorbed by it. If our little houses are knocked over and our plans spoiled, let us not be too distressed.
When night falls and we need a roof over our heads- when it's time to die, I mean- these little houses of ours will be totally unsuitable. It is in our Father's house that we are to find shelter.
Attend faithfully to all your duties but remember that your most important duty of all is the ensuring of your eternal salvation by growth in holiness.
Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself. Don't be disturbed, I mean, because of your imperfections; always have the courage to get up again after your falls. Im very glad you make a fresh start every day. There's no better way of reaching perfection in the spiritual life than to be always beginning afresh, never thinking that we have done enough.
I pray that God may fill you with hids love. Amen.
Your very humble servant,
FRANCIS DE SALES
Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6