October, 2017

This year marks the 151st anniversary of the birth of Elisabeth Leseur. In her journal, Elisabeth often includes an entry on or near her birthday. I chose this particular entry as I am inspired by Elisabeth’s complete trust in God. I often pray to her for courage to follow her example.

October 21, 1911
What will this winter bring: sickness or health, joy or suffering? I do not know, but I know that I shall welcome everything because everything comes from God for my good and the good of those for whom I have surrendered myself into God’s hands. In my weakness and weariness, by God’s grace, I always want to be joyful, to smile for everyone,  and to hide my pain as much as possible; to forget myself, to give myself, and to try to be attractive–that our good God alone may be praised.

I busy myself with clothes and furs…and talk about them so as to give no hint of asceticism. How afraid the world is of suffering and penance, and how carefully I must hide both of these as much as possible! My friendliness and love will, with God’s help, draw hearts to him who is so good; my sufferings will accomplish his conquest of them; my prayers will give them to him. Or rather, it is God who will do this blessed work of conversion and sanctification through my prayers, my trials, and my simple efforts at charity.

My Savior,  I am all alone spiritually, as you know. You know, too, how I suffer from the hostility or indifference of certain persons. I think that is why you have done so much for me and given me so much in your goodness. And now with your gentle gaze you are dispersing the clouds that in these last months have so often overshadowed me. You are kindling my heart again after leaving it in painful dryness; you are chasing away the darkness and the confusion. Thank you, my beloved Savior, my God! I know that sorrow will return, for effort and struggle are your will for us. Your love has conquered, and I know that you will not abandon me and that deep peace will remain with me. To love during the storm is very consoling, and my love grows stronger after each sorrow, each setback. Complete abandonment to you, offering my heart and my life in your service.

Janet Ruffing, Elisabeth Leseur: Selected Writings, Paulist Press, 2005

September, 2017

September 25, 1899

“No one knows what goes on in the depths of our souls. To sense God near, to meditate, to pray, to gather our thoughts so as to reflect on them more deeply, that is to live the inner life, and this interior life is the greatest joy. Such inspiring thoughts and ardent desires and generous resolutions, however, should be translated into action, for we are in the midst of life and a great task awaits us. This is the time for painful effort. We must tear ourselves apart, give up thought for reality, face action, know that we will either not be understood at all or completely misunderstood, and that we will perhaps suffer at human hands for having willed the good of humanity. We must already have drawn from God an incomparable strength, and armed our hearts with patience and love, in order to undertake day by day and hour by hour the work that belongs to all Christians; the moral and material salvation of our brothers and sisters.”

Janet Ruffing, Elisabeth Leseur: Selected Writings, Paulist Press, 2005

August, 2017

As summer comes to an end and our friends and family prepare for a new school year, I choose this small reflection from Elisabeth’s Spiritual Journal. She gently reminds us that as we all answer the call to our life’s work, we do it with joy and out of love for Christ.

October 7, 1912

“To be always ready to obey the inner call of this gentle Jesus to action or to suffering, or to eternity, too, when he wills, and to reply always with joy and generosity, ‘Here I am, Lord, ready to do your will.’ … I wait and, like the worker who does not know when he or she will receive the final reward, I want in the meantime to fulfill my responsibilities radiantly and peacefully solely for the love of him who has done everything for me.”

Janet Ruffing, Elisabeth Leseur: Selected Writings, Paulist Press, 2005

July, 2017

Prayer to Ask of God the Virtue of Hope

“My God, who hast allowed us human hopes, but who alone bestowest Christian and supernatural hope, grant, I beseech Thee, by Thy grace, this virtue to my soul, to the souls of all I love, and to all Christian souls.  Let it enlighten and transform our lives, our sufferings, and even our death, and let it uphold in us, through the disappointment and sadness of each day, an inner strength and unalterable serenity.”

Elisabeth Leseur, written at the request of her sister