A sensitive letter of spiritual direction to a young man who cannot decide whether to consecrate himself to the Lord. Don Orione encourages him, giving him the criteria for discernment and also quoting classical authors. He concludes by urging him: do not be faint-hearted if God is calling you. Be generous with Jesus!
Souls and Souls!
Tortona, 4 August 1929
Dear Son in Jesus Christ,
May the grace of Our Lord be always with us! I have received your welcome letter.
I will probably be in Rome by Wednesday 7th, at the church of All Saints. Then, that evening, I will be going to Sant’ Oreste by Soratte, to join with my priests who are assembling there from tomorrow evening for the Special Holy Exercises. I will be staying there for a week, until the morning of the 14th, after which I will be in Rome, stopping for two or three days. My address is: Monastery of the Holy Cross at Sant’ Oreste by Soratte (Rome).
With reference to your letter, you can see that the Lord gives us the evangelical counsels in order to assist us in our lukewarmness and weakness. Therefore, do not be put off by your suffering: the religious life will be of great help to you for living in purity and holiness.
For choosing the religious state, then it is not necessary for you to go asking for advice from this or that person. St. Thomas says that it is a trap of the devil. There is no need to ask for advice from men when the advice has already been given by Jesus Christ.
Entering the religious state is such an obviously good thing that there is no need for illumination or advice. Neither is a miracle necessary. It is enough for God to speak to you silently by means of the mind and the heart. Normally, God calls to the religious life, not those who are already perfect, but those who desire, with Divine help and by removing themselves from the chaos of this world and the thousands of illusions and daily occasions of sin, to become perfect. Let me say more, my dear Renzo: if we sincerely wish to leave our imperfections behind, to love God and His Church without restraint, and to consecrate ourselves completely, by vows, to Jesus Christ and to His vicar on earth, it is a sign that we are called to the religious life.
You must pray and turn to Our Blessed Mother of Good Counsel. I brought the first boys together at the feet of Our Lady of Good Counsel.
Naturally you will want to show this letter to your confessor. It may seem bold in places, but it is the pure doctrine of St. Thomas, St. Augustine, St. Bernard and St. Alphonsus.
My son, if God is calling you, do not be faint-hearted. Just prepare for the Lord’s battles. God will be with you; be generous with Jesus!
I bless you. Yours, D. Orione.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you.”
(Jn 15. 16)