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Letter X.—Restraint of Over-Eagerness.

To the same person. On eagerness to read good books.

I send you the book on “Christian Hope” that I promised you. It will prove a real treasure to you, but if you wish to derive from it all the fruit that I expect, you must restrain your eagerness to read, and not allow yourself to be carried away by curiosity to know what is coming. Make use of the time allowed by the Rule to read it, concentrate all your attention on what you are actually reading without troubling about the rest. I advise you above all, to enter into the meaning of the consoling and solid truths that you will find laid down in this book; but more in a practical way than by speculative reflexions, and, from time to time, make short pauses to allow these truths time to flow through all the recesses of the soul and to give occasion for the operation of the Holy Spirit who, during these peaceful pauses, and times of silent attention, engraves and imprints these heavenly truths in the heart. All this, however, without disturbing your attraction, or violent effort to prevent reflexions, but simply and quietly trying to make them enter into your heart more than into your mind.

Take particular notice of certain more important chapters, of which you are in greater need, in order to read them again when next you have time. In general I advise you strongly not to overload your mind with readings and outward practices, it is much better to read little, and to digest what you read. Just now, too, your soul is in need of unity and simplicity, and all your readings and practices should tend to a single end, and that is, to form in you a spirit of recollection. In time God will give you this grace if you aspire to it with confidence quietly, simply, and humbly, without eagerness, trouble, or uneasiness. Frequently ask God to detach you absolutely from all things, so at you may love and enjoy Him only, in Jesus Christ, and through Jesus Christ, in fine, that He may take full possession of your heart and make it altogether His. “My God I abandon myself to You, grant that I may desire only You.”

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