He sets fire everywhere

In this letter, Mother Mectilde imparts some profound spiritual teaching with humour. Mother Mectilde is counted among 17th century France’s greatest writers of spiritual letters.

My dear daughter, you are looking for some support from me, but I assure you that I shall place myself on the side of Our Lord. If He strips you of your veil, I shall take away your robe. I want your holiness. You are a little peasant girl brought to court. They want to make a great lady of her. Off with her old rags and her bits in tatters! Not wanting any prettier or richer dress, she cannot bear it. She feels like a fake. “Get this off of me,” she says. “Give me back my old clothes. I prefer my freedom to all these fine things.” This, to a tee, is a portrait of yourself. When God shall have stripped you, what loss is it to you? He wants to remove your rags in order to clothe you with Himself, and this you do not want. You are keeping Him from doing it. Nature (that is, the little peasant girl) says: “What then? Shall I have no more delight of God to sustain me? Not a good thought to fill me? No treats? No consolation? This is hard for me.” Get rid of it all. These are but rags: God will be your strength and your support. “Yes, but I don’t see Him. I feel nothing. Why should I believe this?”

Alright, then. We readily trust ourselves to a person of whom we know that we are loved, even though we are often mistaken about this. And yet we find it hard to believe in God and in His word because our eyes do not see Him? A little faith and confidence in His goodness works wonders! If you were in the arms of your earthly father, you would say, “My father loves me and he will allow nothing bad to happen to me.” God loves us so much more. There is no comparison. O happy loss! If you lose yourself, Jesus Christ will receive you.

Why do you think the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles with a mighty wind and fire? It was because the wind can overturn everything, but once it has passed, things can stand upright again. Not so with fire! Fire consumes everything and spares nothing. Give yourself over to the power of the Holy Ghost; you will find an exterminator who spares nothing. He sets fire everywhere.

Beware of wanting to do something. Suffer agony for as long a time as God wills. Would you really rather die than endlessly languish? Are you ready to ask to be put out of your misery? You have too much compassion on yourself. Just forget yourself once and for all. Leave all your thoughts and reasonings at the door. Don’t dally to argue with all that riff-raff. Unless you are careful,  they will hold you back. The demon is thrilled when he sees a soul fixated on trifles and focused on herself. The demon takes advantage of the opportunity to bring such a soul down. When these things come into your head, you must say to them:”Pipe down, you’re bothering me.” And if they start again, don’t even give yourself the trouble of contesting. All these reflections, and fondnesses of nature, and softness for your own interests, are no more than childrens’ games. Let them bawl as much as they like. But is this the way to live? I would rather lose all created things than lose the taste for God. It is self–love that bawls like this. Is not God doing you the honour and grace of associating you with His Son? I know that you want Him with all your heart. Then, abandon yourself all to Him. Forget about yourself and you will see that He will do the job. I will make for you such contracts with Him that you will not be able to get out of them.

Pray God to give me His Spirit and that I may never offend Him, and that He Himself may act in all my little worries. Remain in peace.
To a religious of Toul; F.C., 3025; nº 267, Lettres inédites, 378.