In preparing for the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and in my readings about St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a French Visitation nun, I stumbled upon a saint to whom I knew very little. He was a Jesuit priest to whom Jesus directed St. Margaret Mary for help and direction.
His name is Saint Claude de la Colombière. Twenty one years ago today he was canonized by Bl. Pope John Paul II on the Feast of the Visitation. As today is the Feast of the Visitation and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was from the order dedicated to the Visitation there seemed a wonderful connection between these two saints and todays Feast Day. In reading more about St Claude I found a treasure of beautiful writing by this saint in the book The Spiritual Direction of Saint Claude de la Colombière1.
Saint Claude’s writings regarding:
In prayer always follow the attraction of your heart, whether God draws you to consider Our Lord’s Passion or the joys of heaven; you cannot do wrong in that....Continue to pray as you feel drawn, but do not worry about it, for worry comes from self-love. You must abandon yourself to the leading of God with no other intention than that of pleasing him, and when you know that you have this intention deep in your heart, you must not waste time in reflecting about yourself and about the degree of virtue you have attained; occupy yourself with him whom you love and bother very little about yourself.
Do not be either astonished or discouraged at the difficulties you find in prayer. Only be constant and submissive and God will be pleased with you.
How can we help our neighbor? By prayer and good works. Preaching is useless without grace, and grace is only obtained by prayer. If conversions are few, it is because few pray. Prayer for souls is so pleasing to God, it is as though we asked a mother to forgive her son.
Presence of God
I have promised with God’s grace not to begin any action without remembering that he is witness of it—that he performs it together with me and gives me the means to do it; never to conclude any without the same thought, offering it to him as belonging to him, and in the course of the action whenever the same thought shall occur, to stop for a moment and renew the desire of pleasing him.
God is touched by our sorrows and does not allow them to last for ever. He takes pleasure in trying our love for a time because he sees that trials purify us and render us worthy to receive his greater graces; but he considers our weakness, and one would even think that he suffered with us, so anxious is he to relieve us.
Hope and Confidence in God
My God, I am so intimately convinced that thou dost watch over all those who hope in thee, and that we can want for nothing while we expect all from thee, that I am resolved to live without anxiety in the future, casting all my care on thee.
1 Selections from The Spiritual Direction of Saint Claude de la Colombière, translated and arranged by Mother M. Philip, I.B.V.M., Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1998