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Letter VII.—Personal Attachments.

My dear Sister,

Allow me to tell you in all sincerity, a fear that makes me anxious about you. It seems to me that your too frequent intercourse with the members of your numerous family, and with other people from outside, raises a serious obstacle to your advancement. Take care that, while trying to do good to others, you do no harm to yourself. Although I am obliged by my vocation to have more communication with the world than you, I assure you nevertheless, that I find it very good for my soul to keep these communications within bounds. Since I came here I have only made necessary visits, and try as much as possible to avoid receiving them. To those who come to me I speak only of God, of salvation, or of eternity. This is the rule laid down by St. Ignatius and one which he declared suited him well. If people like this kind of conversation they will profit by it, and their visit will not have been a waste of time; if they do not care for it they will not come again, or, at any rate not so often, and then I shall have more time left me for my priestly duties. It is useless to expect to make any progress as long as your mind is filled with news from outside, and your heart preoccupied with temporal affairs. The first condition for 198the interior life is recollection. I cannot urge you too strongly to restrict your communications and, to follow the plan of St. Ignatius about those that you think you ought to retain. This plan is better suited to a Religious, who is obliged by her vocation to keep secluded, than to other people. Far from being surprised, people in the world cannot but be edified at the fidelity with which she conforms her conduct to her vocation. On the contrary, if by these useless communications with people in the world she frequented society too much, she would only scandalise them, and would also lose all those graces which she might have acquired by her communications with God.

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