The peace of Christ.
My dear father in Christ Jesus:
I received your
letter of October 12, and it gives me great edification to see the desire you
have of being of help to souls in Germany, not only by preaching and other
external means, but also with your tears, which gift you desire from the giver
of all good things.
As to the first of
your desires, to be of definite help to the neighbor by the external means of
preaching and so forth, we will beg of Christ unconditionally to deign to
give to his voice the voice of power [Ps. 68:33], and to the
administration of the sacraments the desired fruitfulness. But the gift of
tears may not be requested unconditionally, nor is it, absolutely speaking,
necessary and proper for all indiscriminately. However, I have taken the
matter up with our Father Ignatius, and I myself have asked of God, and will
continue to ask, that our Lord grant it to you in the measure that will be
good for the end that your reverence has in seeking it, namely, the help of
your own soul and the souls of your neighbor. A hard heart shall fear evil
at the last [Sir. 3:26], but the heart, my dear father, that is full of
the desire of helping souls, as is that of your reverence, cannot call itself
hard in God's service. If in the will and the superior part of the soul, this
heart feels compassion for the miseries of one's neighbor, and seeks to do
what it can to relieve them and performs those services which a man of
determined will undertakes, tears are not necessary for such a heart, nor
other tenderness of heart.
Some indeed have
tears naturally, when the higher motion of the soul makes itself felt in the
lower, or because God our Lord, seeing that it would be good for them, allows
them to melt into tears. But this does not mean that they have greater charity
or that they are more effective than others who enjoy no tears. They are no
less moved in the higher part of the soul—that is, in a strong and energetic
will, which is the proper act of charity in God's service and the good of
souls—than they who abound in tears.
I will tell you,
reverend father, what I really think. And that is that, even if it were in my
power to allow this gift of tears to some, I would not give it, because it
would be no help to their charity, and would be harmful both to their heads
and their health and, consequently, stand in the way of every act of charity.
Do not lose heart, then, because of this absence of external tears, but keep
your will strong and energetic, and manifest it in your actions. This will be
sufficient for your own personal perfection, the help of others, and the
service of God. Remember that the good angels do what they can to preserve men
from sin and obtain God's honor. But they do not lose courage when men fail.
Our Father has much praise for those of Ours who in this sense imitate the
example of the angels. No more for the present, except to commend myself to
your reverence's prayers.
From Rome, November