12 December 1952
Christ is in our midst!
. . . You write of your illnesses that they are sent by God for your sins.
No, you must not think that way. The Lord's thoughts are unsearchable, and our limited little minds cannot understand why different kinds of sicknesses and sorrows are given by God to different ones of us sinners. But realize that in this vale of tears, this temporal life, we cannot escape them.
The Lord give you wisdom! Don't think of God as a very stern judge and punisher. He is very merciful; He took human flesh and suffered as a man, not for the saints' sake but for sinners like you and me. We must not despair, for there is no sin that exceeds God's compassion. It is always the devil that brings despair; one must not listen to him. Try as far as possible to fulfil the Lord's commandments. Judge no one for anything and you will not be judged. If you watch yourself, you will of course find sins, which will show you that you have no cause to condemn others. And also: 'Whatever you do not wish for yourself, do not do it to others either', and other Gospel commandments.
You also write that you used to pray better, but now you do not hear the Lord knocking at your heart. Do not think like that either! Your prayer used to be dreamy and you thought something of yourself, but now you have begun to understand a little - so you can see yourself more truly. The closer a person comes to God, the more sinful he sees himself to be. St Peter Damascene writes: 'If a person sees his sins like the sands of the sea, that is a sign of a healthy soul'. This is the position of the saints, and they are experienced in the spiritual life. But people want to see themselves as correct in every respect.
Of course it would be good to have a personal talk about the spiritual life, for it is difficult to write in a letter about the subtleties of the spiritual life.
Be thankful to God that in his goodness He freed you from the hatred you felt towards your husband's parents. And in future try never to have hostility towards anyone, for life and death depend on the neighbour.
The holy Apostle Paul lists the degrees of saints, comparing some to the sun, others to the moon, and others to the stars; and there are great differences among the stars [1 Cor. 15:41]. But may you and I be tiny stars if only we can be in the same heaven. And if something does happen because of human weakness, we should not be dejected. Let us be humble, know our weaknesses and repent. Man's characteristic is to fall, but the devil's is not to repent.
'Lord, let thy mercy be upon us, as our hope is in Thee. Amen!' "