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Letter XXXI.—Conduct in Sickness.

To Sister Marie-Antoinette de Mahuet (1735).

Although your illness is not serious I am sure you act like those generous souls, who, in their least discomforts go on till the worst comes to the worst, in order to have occasion to make greater sacrifices for God. But, it is usually said, in order to offer the sacrifice of one’s life to God ought one not to feel better prepared for death! and I am so unprepared! To these fears I urge you to reply in the following manner. Whether ready and prepared to die or not, I am always ready, always disposed to do the will of God. Your blessed Father St. Francis of Sales said a very remarkable and consoling thing on this subject that would suit all sorts of people: “I believe,” said he, “that God would not condemn the greatest sinner on earth, however great his crimes, who at his last moments made a generous offering of his life, abandoning himself entirely to His divine will and loving Providence.” And I truly believe it, since such an act is one of perfect love capable of blotting out all sin even without confession, like baptism and martyrdom. Often let us make these acts of love, then, by placing in the hands of God all that He has lent us, because He could not give us anything absolutely. And since, according to the words of Jesus Christ we must become little children again, let us imitate those little ones whose father, to try their dispositions makes them return some of the playthings and sweets he has given them. They would be very silly and very selfish if they did not at once say, “Dear father, take what you like, you can have them all.” After all, what do these poor children give, and to whom does it really belong? All the same the father’s heart is touched by these little signs of a good disposition. “Oh you good children, you dear children!” and he kisses them and is always more generous towards them in future. This is how our good God will act towards us, whenever He gives us occasion to offer Him some sacrifice.

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