Palazzo S. Calisto,
Dec. 23, 1920.
Dear Miss . . .
It is quite right for us to throw our heart into our work and do it with all our might; but be quite detached from results. It does not matter whether we are praised and appreciated by human beings. All our work is for God, and through Him for our neighbours. The more disappointments and failures there are, the more we are thrown upon Him. Until we have had plenty of them, we never have a pure intention.
We have a right intention quite easily, but we have all sorts of other, minor intentions mixed up with it, until God has purified us. It is most important in all our pleasures and successes to have the habit of saying, "I am glad, I am immensely grateful; but I don't want it, I only want Thee."
Never carry out any resolution made in prayer, without first testing it in a dry light outside prayer; to see whether it is reasonable or really the best. You must have plenty of time for prayer. Recollection is usually impossible otherwise, and you will be driven to reading Novels! But when you have time to be alone with God and at peace, the temporal worries cease to be worries and become almost pleasures. But when you can't get time, then you have to try and be cheerful, and offer all you suffer to God without feeling even that you mean it. And then, later on, when you get some time again, you find that you have made progress in prayer without knowing how.
If one felt one was suffering patiently and for God, one wouldn't suffer so much. It is the feeling of impatience and division from God which is suffering, and it is most meritorious. So don't mind it. I think it is an excellent thing to laugh at one's self a little whenever one feels a martyr!
Ever yours sincerely in Dno,
H. John Chapman, O.S.B.