The family of Louis and Zelie – Letter #5
August 13, 2017
“All of this worries me little. Anyway, if our Good Lord, as I believe, has put his hand to this matter, he will know how to settle everything for the best.” Saint Zelie (CF 129, January 24, 1875)
Dear Friends of “The Family of Louis and Zélie”,
This month, August 28 is the day of the death of Saint Zélie, and for that matter, the 140th anniversary of her birth to Heaven. Let us reflect a little bit on the life of this wife and mother of 9 children and particularly on the trust that she had for God. She is a true example for each one of us. Celine, her 7th daughter, will later write: “Our Mother was abnegation personified, blessed with a great courage and an extraordinarily energetic character; with a very sensitive and generous heart, always oriented toward God, in whom she had a heroic trust.” (Celine Martin, My Holy Parents, p.134).
Her trust is all the more remarkable if one thinks of all the trials that she experienced. It is difficult to list them all, but we will always remember her cancer illness, the death of four of her children during infancy, the difficult education of their 3rd daughter Leonie, the war of 1870, the management of her business… Yet in one of her letters, she writes: “When I think of what our Good Lord, in whom I have placed all of my trust and in whose hands I have handed over the care of my matters, has done for me and for my husband, I cannot doubt that His divine Providence watches with particular care over his children.” (CF 1, January 1, 1863).
Let us learn from St. Zelie, in our daily difficulties, small or great, to say: “Jesus, I trust in You.” And if this is difficult for us, we can begin by saying: “Jesus, I want to have trust in You! Increase my trust in You!” Zelie had a firm will ; that is how she was able to know how to correct herself, with the help of God, from some of her faults, but at least she tried because she had the will to go to Heaven. We, too, this month enter into the path of trust, of trust in God.
I offer you to meditate on this very beautiful text that Jesus dictated to a priest from Naples in reputation of holiness, Fr. Dolindo Ruotolo. He will help us to deepen, at the example of Saint Zelie, our trust, our abandonment to God: “Why this trouble, this agitation? Leave to me the care of your matters and everything will calm down. Truly, I tell you, every act of true, blind, total abandonment that you offer me produces the effect that you desire and resolves the thorny situations. To abandon yourself to me does not mean to torment yourself, to devastate yourself and to despair, then address to me a feverish prayer so that I in turn may be with you. That is not the way that you transform agitation into prayer. To abandon yourself means to peacefully close the eyes of the soul, redirect your thoughts of tribulation and trust in me so that I may be alone in acting; it is to tell me: “It is up to you to think about it!” Worries, agitation and wanting to think about the consequences of an act are contrary, essentially contrary to abandonment. (…)
Rest in me by believing in my goodness and I swear on my love that by you telling me with such dispositions: “It is up to you to think about it,” me, I take care of it fully, I console you, I free you, I lead you. And when I have to make you pass through a way different from the one that you, that you see, it is still I who forms you, who carries you in my arms, it is I who makes you reach the other side, like a child sleeping in his mother’s arms. What disturbs you and causes you an enormous harm is to lose yourself in reasoning, in thoughts, in worries, in wanting at all cost to settle on your own what is causing you concern.
In suffering, you pray so that I act, but for me to act like you hear it…You have recourse to me, but you want me to adapt to your ideas. You are not the sick who asks for treatment from the physician, but rather you suggest it to him. Do not go about it that way, but rather pray as I taught you in the Pater: “Hallowed by thy name,” that is to say that he may be glorified in this difficulty that I am encountering; “thy kingdom come,” that is to say that everything concurs in your kingdom in us and in the world; “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” that is to say, settle things yourself as you see fit, for the best of our eternal and temporal life. If you truly tell me: “thy will be done,” which amounts to saying: “It is up to you to think about it!”, I intervene with all of my power and I resolve the most blocked situations. (…)
Oh, how I desire from you this abandonment to be able to lavish upon you goods and how sad I am to see you agitated! This is precisely what Satan seeks: to agitate you to take you away from my action and to turn yourself in to the mercy of human initiatives. Place all of your trust in me alone, rest in me, surrender yourself to me in everything. I do the miracles according to whether you surrender yourself totally to me and do not think in the least about yourself; I spread treasures of grace when you are in total poverty. (…)
I swear to you on my love, me, I will think of you, you can be sure of it! Always keep these dispositions of abandonment in prayer and you will receive great peace and great fruit, even when I to grant you the grace to offer yourself as a sacrifice of reparation and love, a grace that includes suffering. Do you think that this is impossible? Close your eyes and say with all of your soul: Jesus, “It is up to you to think about it!” Do not fear; I will think of you and, in humility, you will bless my Name. One single act of abandonment is worth a thousand prayers, do not forget it! There is no other novena more efficacious than this one:
“Oh! Jesus, I abandon myself to you, it is up to you to think about it!”
I am sure that Saint Zelie will help us to grow in trust! I desire for you many graces. I assure you of our prayer for your intentions. May the Lord bless you through the intercession of Saints Louis and Zelie!
In the name of the Shrine,
Father Jean-Marie Simar,
Rector of the Shrine of Alençon