News From Rome

News From Rome

Published in “Le Sel de la terre” 120

1. The March 25, 2022, Consecration

* What Did Our Lady of Fatima Ask?

“God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I am going to tell you, many souls will be saved and we will have peace. […] I will ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the reparative Communion on first Saturdays.

“If my demands are heeded, Russia will convert and there will be peace.

“Otherwise, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, several nations will be annihilated.

“In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, it will convert, and a certain time of peace will be granted to the world1.

“The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart. He promises to save her by this means2.”

Sister Lucia’s commentary:

God wills the consecration of Russia, and of Russia alone, without any addition, because Russia is a vast, well-circumscribed territory, and her conversion will be noticed, thus bringing the proof of what can be obtained by consecration to the Heart Immaculate of Mary3.

* What Did Pope Francis Do On March 25, 2022?

Pope Francis consecrated: 1) his person, 2) all of humanity, 3) Russia, 4) and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

It is, of course, not a bad thing in itself, even if one can deplore the long globalist and ecological text which preceded the formula of consecration. However, according to Sister Lucy’s indications, this does not entirely respond to Our Lady’s requests, since the consecration focused more on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict than on Russia itself. The letter addressed by Pope Francis to all the bishops of the world asking them to join in the consecration does not mention the requests of Our Lady—nor the consecration of Russia, nor the devotion of the first Saturdays—but says:

[…] Also welcoming many requests from the People of God, I wish to entrust, in a special way, the nations in conflict to Our Lady. As I said Sunday at the end of the Angelus prayer, March 25, Solemnity of the Annunciation, I intend to perform a solemn Act of consecration of humanity, and particularly of Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary4.

Let us recall that the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary carried out by Pius XII in 1942 (with a text of another elevation, but which was not what Our Lady had requested) was immediately followed by a significant turn in the course of the hostilities – which prepared the end of the war – but did not stop the terrible progression of Communism: the Yalta agreements delivering Eastern Europe to the communists, Communists invading China and Southeast Asia, the purging in France, wars in Algeria and Vietnam, infiltration of the Church and its consequences, etc., and now the neo-Communism of globalism.

The consecration carried out on March 25, 2022, certainly goes further, but it does not yet fully meet the demands of Heaven.

Whatever the results—for there will certainly be some ‑ let us continue, for our part, to console Our Lady and to respond to her requests at our level: daily rosary, reparative Communion on the first Saturdays, offering of the sacrifices of our daily duties to her Immaculate Heart for the conversion of sinners.

2. The “Demos” Report: Assessment of a Pontificate

March 13, 2022, was the ninth anniversary of the election of Pope Francis ‑ who thus entered the tenth year of his pontificate.

His health difficulties having increased over the past year5 ‑ he has been 85 since December 17, 2021 ‑ Roman circles are starting to talk about his succession.

To this end, an anonymous memorandum, signed “Demos6”, very severe on the current pontificate and which has the merit of lucidity, was addressed to the cardinals at the beginning of Lent. The text was published on the blog of the famous vaticanist Sandro Magister, who does not exclude that the very serious document emanates from a cardinal.

It is divided into two parts: “The Vatican today”, and “The next conclave”.

The commentators, from all schools – with the exception of Father Spadaro S.J., director of the Jesuit journal Civiltà Cattolica and very close to Francis – agree that this pontificate is disastrous from many points of view, a real catastrophe for the Church.

Here are the main excerpts from this memorandum, with some comments.

A. The Vatican Today

+. Previously, it was said: Roma locuta est, causa finita, Rome has spoken, the cause is finished.

Today we say: Roma loquitur, confusio augetur, Rome speaks, confusion increases.

[At the same time, some guilty silences:] the German synod speaks of homosexuality, of women priests, of Communion for the divorced; the papacy is silent. Cardinal Hollerich rejects Catholic teaching on sexuality; the papacy is silent. It is silent regarding the scandals and at the same time persecutes the traditional Mass.

+. The Christocentric dimension of the teaching is weakened, Christ is removed from the center. Rome itself seems confused about the importance of strict monotheism; she thus refers to a broader concept of divinity which is not quite pantheism, but which resembles a variant of Hindu pantheism. Demos denounces the cult rendered to the Pachamama, goddess of the earth [placed on the papal altar in Saint Peter, during the Amazon synod in 2019].

This judgment may seem excessive. It is not so. The Osservatore Romano, an unofficial organ of the Holy See, flattered itself with quoting the following reflection by Mrs. Vandana Shiva, Indian militant feminist, alternative Nobel Prize winner in 1993: “When I read the encyclical Laudato si’ by Pope Francis on ecology and sustainable development, I felt like reading our ancient Vedic texts, especially Atharvaveda, on our duty to respect the Earth and all its creatures.”7

+. The change in personnel at the Academy for Life has had unheard-of consequences: some members justify assisted suicide, others support abortion.

+. The pope often rules by papal decrees which deprive those affected of any possibility of appeal.

+. The pope enjoys weak support among seminarians and young priests, and widespread division exists within the Vatican Curia.

+. The Vatican’s financial situation is serious. The last ten years have been in deficit. Before Covid, it was 20 million euros per year; since Covid, from 30 to 35 million per year, not counting the ongoing trials of ten people for financial malfeasance.

+. The political prestige of the Vatican is at an all-time low. The political influence of Pope Francis and the Vatican is negligible. Decisions and political orientations are limited to “political correctness”.

B. The Next Conclave, and Guidelines for the Future Pope

+. The College of Cardinals has been weakened by eccentric appointments, and has not met since 2014 (eight years!) when they met to discuss Communion for remarried divorcees. Many cardinals do not know each other, which adds an extra dimension of unpredictability to the upcoming conclave.

+. Since Vatican II, Catholic authorities have often underestimated the hostile power of secularization, of the world, of the flesh, of the devil, especially in the West8; and overestimated the influence and power of the Catholic Church.

The Church is weaker than 50 years ago: the number of believers has declined, as has Mass attendance. Many religious orders are in decline or have disappeared.

+. The new pope’s first task will be to restore doctrinal clarity in matters of faith and morals and to ensure that the first criterion for the appointment of bishops is the acceptance of Apostolic Tradition.

To give doctrinal authority to national or continental synods would constitute a new danger for the unity of the Church, given, for example, that the German Church adopts doctrinal points of view which are not shared by the other Churches, and which are not compatible with Apostolic Tradition. If no correction of these heresies comes from Rome, the Church will be reduced to a vague federation of local Churches, with different visions, probably closer to an Anglican or Protestant model than an Orthodox one.

+. The possibility of an apostolic visitation within the Jesuit Order should be taken seriously. They face catastrophic numerical decline and moral decline.

+. We must look at the decline of Catholics and the expansion of Protestantism in South America. It was hardly mentioned at the Amazon synod.

+. Continuing financial difficulties will be a significant problem, though far less serious than the doctrinal and spiritual threats facing the Church, especially in Europe.

3. Deaf to Criticism, Francis Accelerates Reforms

Jean-Marie Guénois, a religious columnist at Le Figaro, cannot be called a traditionalist, but he is a realist, and generally very informed about what is happening in the Vatican. Here are the main excerpts from an article he published on Pope Francis’s reform plans9. We summarize his comments by quoting, most of the time, the journalist’s own words.

* Reform of the Curia

Since 2013, the pope has in view a vast reform of the curia. It will come into force on June 5, the day of Pentecost, already arousing a lot of internal resistance:

1. All ministries (congregations) are placed on the same plane, which means the abolition of hierarchies within Vatican congregations.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was first, is even mentioned after the Dicastery for Evangelization and before a new Dicastery for Charity and Humanitarian Works.

Comment: Regarding the Dicastery for Evangelization, which replaced the illustrious missionary congregation of the Propaganda, it must be understood that the word “evangelization” is not here synonymous with mission. Modernists have hijacked the meaning of all words. The Pope’s appointment of Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle as head of this Dicastery since 2019 clearly indicates the radical change in direction.

In Corrispondenza Romana of December 11, 2019, historian Cristina Siccardi would write:

With the arrival of Cardinal Tagle, the original spirit of the missionary nature of the Church, so masterfully structured by the Propaganda Fide, will disappear; because the new prefect has a clearly conciliar physiognomy, and at the same time he is a follower of ecological and integral conversion, where the spirit of Assisi and the spirit of Abu Dhabi converge in the new humanism, in the new way of feeling universal brotherhood, where everyone can think about religion as they see fit. Tagle also shares with the pope a visceral attention to Mother Earth, and an unrealistic and haphazard reception of the migrating masses.

In this context, we understand that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is relegated to the background.

Let’s continue to summarize Jean-Marie Guénois:

2. Another key point imposed by the pope, but bitterly debated by important cardinals: a layman, man or woman, will henceforth be able to direct a Vatican Congregation. This office was previously reserved for bishops and cardinals for fundamental theological reasons relating to the very constitution of the Catholic Church10.

3. The curia is decapitated: the “Secretary of State”, who until then was like the pope’s prime minister, and patron of the Roman curia, loses this primacy and is no more than a secretary general with the sole function of coordinating the various Congregations, which clearly reinforces the power of the pope. He decides almost everything.

* Synodal Effervescence

The “synod” is indeed the great reform of Francis. It wants to instill a collective, democratic spirit, associating the faithful, men and women, at all levels of governance of the Catholic Church: parish, diocese, episcopal conference, Holy See.

For that purpose, he launched in 2021 a special synod on synodality, which is taking place in all the dioceses during the year 2022. A final and decisive session will take place in Rome in October 2023. It will vote on proposals that Francis intends to implement at the beginning of 2024.

Inspired by the governance of the Orthodox Churches but also that of Protestant Churches, this revolution is deeply worrying in Rome, in view of the ongoing experience of a local synod in the German Church, which competes with reformist audacity: marriage of priests, reception homosexual people, women’s place. The Vatican seems to have lost control over this initiative. This does not prevent Francis from having appointed as rapporteur for the next Roman synod a prelate supporting the German synod: Msgr. Jean-Claude Hollerich, archbishop of Luxembourg, a Jesuit he created cardinal in 2019. This arouses strong opposition within of the curia: in mid-March, Cardinal George Pell summoned the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to intervene officially against the words of Bishop Hollerich and the German Synod.

Comment: The name of Cardinal Hollerich is to be remembered, alongside that of Cardinal Tagle (supra), because he is a rising personality and is particularly revolutionary. During interviews granted to La Croix on January 20, and to Katolische Nachrichten Agentur on January 27, he declared to be particularly favorable to the priestly ordination of married men; to changing our way of seeing sexuality (“we had a rather repressed vision”) and of judging homosexuality (“the Church’s positions on the sinfulness of homosexuality are wrong; the time has come to change doctrine”); to Eucharistic Communion given to Protestants; the need to change the discourse on abortion because it is no longer followed, etc. He will be the reporter of the next Roman synod concluding all the national synods.

* Against Going Back

Last September, to Slovak Jesuits he met in Bratislava, the pope spoke of his “suffering” at seeing an “ideology of going backwards” take hold in the Church, because “freedom is frightening”.

It was to put a stop to this “ideology of going backwards” that he promulgated his Motu Proprio on July 16, 2021, Traditionis Custodes against the traditional Mass, in order to stop the development of parishes according to the Tridentine rite. “I will continue on this path”, he confided to the same Jesuits, rebelling against the young priests who, “barely ordained”, ask the bishop for authorization “to celebrate in Latin”. They must be “landed on the earth”, he insisted.

And on April 21, 2022, receiving Bishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort and several French bishops, he confirmed that the priests of the Fraternity of Saint Peter could only celebrate the Tridentine rite in their homes [not in diocesan churches as has most often been the case until now], and should all agree to concelebrate in the new rite, at least once a year for the Chrism Mass. The noose is tightening11.

To top it off, on May 28, 2022, the pro-LGBT Bishop Bertram Maler, Bishop of Augsburg, conferred the diaconate on 10 seminarians from the Wigratzbad Seminary of the Society of St. Peter. The German branch Pro Missa Tridentina of the Una Voce Federation expressed its “surprise” by recalling that in June 2021 Bishop Maler declared on German state television that he was ready to bless homosexual unions. On the official website of the seminary, on May 28, we read the following press release from the authorities of the Fraternity of Saint Peter: “We are very grateful to Bishop Maler for his benevolence and his concern12”.

Once again, Archbishop Lefebvre was clairvoyant:

This transfer of authority, that is what is serious, that is what is extremely serious. It is not enough to say: “We have not changed anything in practice13”. This transfer is very serious, because the intention of these authorities is to destroy Tradition14.

The subjects do not make make the superiors, but the superiors make the subjects15.

We feel the absolute necessity of having ecclesiastical authorities who embrace our concerns and help us to guard against the spirit of Vatican II and the spirit of Assisi16.

4. Pope to Visit Kazakhstan for Congress of World Religions

The news is given by the Vatican News website17:

Pope Francis has expressed his intention to visit Kazakhstan on the occasion of the 7th Congress of Leaders [!] of World and Traditional Religions which will be held on September 14 and 15 in the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan [formerly Astana].

The information, first given by the Kazakh presidency, was confirmed by the director of the Press Room of the Holy See, Matteo Bruni. Francis broached the subject during a video-conference interview with the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

The first Congress of World and Traditional Religions was held in Astana in 2003, inspired by the “Day of Prayer for Peace” convened in Assisi by John Paul II in January 2002, in order to reaffirm the positive contribution of the different religious traditions to dialogue and harmony between peoples and nations after the tensions following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

At this first congress, the Holy See was represented by the Slovak Cardinal Joseph Tomko, then president of the Pontifical Council for the Evangelization of Peoples. At successive congresses, the French cardinals Roger Etchegaray and Jean-Louis Tauran took the Vatican delegations.

The upcoming Seventh Interfaith Congress will be themed “The Role of World Leaders and Traditional Religions in the Socio-Spiritual Development of Humanity in the Post-Pandemic Period.”

The SSPX News website comments18:

These Congresses are a copy of Assisi, a reinforced version, both in terms of the multifaceted participation of “religions” and the effacement of the Catholic Church, which finds itself drowned among the guests, rubbing shoulders with the false gods, and being lowered to their level. It is difficult to carry the insult further to the Incarnate Word, the only true God with the Father and the Holy Ghost.

May the trivialization of these meetings which lower the Catholic religion and its Founder never find us indifferent, but may we always protest vigorously to defend the honor of Christ and of our Mother the Church, his Spouse.

Quo vadis? Peter, Peter, where are you going?

It will be interesting to know the reaction of Bishop Schneider. The latter is not only the auxiliary bishop of Astana but also the secretary of the Kazakh Episcopal Conference19.


Bishop Schneider concelebrating new Mass at the episcopal conference in Kazakhstan

November 20, 2019, Bishop Schneider signed a document, together with the other bishops, in which he declared:

The Bishops and Ordinaries of Kazakhstan hail the establishment of the Council of Traditional Christian Confessions of Kazakhstan, which was held on May 13, 2019, in the synod hall of the spiritual, cultural, and administrative center of the Kazakhstan metropolitan district of the Russian Orthodox Church of the city of Nur-Sultan20.

On January 13, 2020, he personally participated in the ecumenical meeting of this council. The official website of the Catholic Church of Kazakhstan issued a statement:


On May 13, an important step was taken towards a real dialogue between the Christian denominations in Kazakhstan: the Council of Traditional Christian Denominations was created, which includes the Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran churches. And today, January 13, 2020, the first official meeting of the Council was held in the spiritual and cultural center of the metropolitan district of Nur-Sultan, which was attended by a large delegation from the Catholic Church, which included the Nuncio Apostolic to the Republic of Kazakhstan, Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt, president of the Catholic Episcopal Conference of Kazakhstan and bishop of the Holy Trinity diocese in Almaty, […] the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Santa Maria in Astana, Athanasius Schneider; […]

The importance of “awakening religious feelings in the hearts of new generations” was also highlighted as one of the ways to deal with “individualistic, selfish and conflicting tendencies, as well as blind radicalism and extremism”. In addition to the above, the Council has set itself many other objectives arising from these intentions. To achieve these goals, the Council “in cooperation with other traditional religions of the world, within the framework of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, established by First President Nursultan Nazarbayev, intends to promote fraternal dialogue and solidarity between religions and cultures as a concrete and effective contribution to support the creation of a universal family based on human, moral, spiritual values, as well as on fundamental and inviolable principles21.

5. The Pyramid of Peace in Astana


We read on the site the official tourism site of Astana the following text that speaks for itself22:

The Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, also translated as Pyramid of Peace and Accord, is a 253 ft tall building in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. The structure was built by Sembol Construction at a cost of 8.74 billion Kazakh tenge (about $58 million) and was opened in late 2006.

The pyramid part of the building is 203 ft. high and rests on a block of earth 40 ft. high. […] The structure is made up of five “levels” of triangles, each triangle measuring 39 ft. on a side. […] Engineers had to design the building to resist expansion and contraction due to temperature variations of over 144 F, from -40 F to over 104 F—causing the building to expand up to 1 ft.

The Pyramid was specifically built to house the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. It contains accommodations for different religions: Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Daoism, and other beliefs. It also houses a 1,500-seat opera house, a national museum of culture, a new “university of civilization”, a library and a research center on ethnic and geographical groups of Kazakhstan. […] The building is intended as a global center for religious understanding, the renunciation of violence, and the promotion of faith and human equality.

The Pyramid of Peace expresses the spirit of Kazakhstan, where cultures, traditions and representatives of various nationalities coexist in peace, harmony and agreement. Bathed in the glow of gold and pale blue glass (colors taken from the flag of Kazakhstan), 200 delegates from the world’s major religions and faiths will meet every three years in a circular chamber—inspired by the meeting room of the Security Council United Nations in New York.

Translation by A.A.

1 — July 13, 1917; confirmed by Our Lord in May and June 1930.

2 — June 29, 1929.

3 — Sister Lucia to Bishop Hnilica, May 14, 1982; remarks reported by Msgr. Hnilica to Brother François de Marie des Anges (of the CRC), during an interview on November 10, 1982, and reported by the said brother in two works: in Jean-Paul 1er le pape du secret, CRC, 2007, p. 423 and in Fatima, salvation of the world, CRC, 2007, p. 345.

4 — Letter from Pope Francis to bishops around the world, March 23, 2022.

5 — Very heavy surgery on the intestines on July 16, 2021 (acute diverticulitis) forcing him to a very strict diet; acute inflammation of the ligaments of the right knee (gonalgia), a direct consequence of a structural problem of sciatica in the hip which he must correct with every step. He sometimes has to get help to walk, and even uses a wheelchair. Surgery would be too risky (source: Jean-Marie Guénois, article reported below).

6 — A name meaning “people” in Greek.

7Osservatore Romano of 1 December 2020, n° 48, p. 8.

8 — This was John XXIII’s great illusion at the opening of the Council: there are no more enemies, no more combat (Editor’s note).


10 ‑ It must even be said that it is an attack on the divine constitution of the Church (Editor’s note).


12 — References: Medias-Presse-Info as of May 8, 2022 (announcing the ordination), and the “Official Page” of Wigratzbad Seminary as of May 28, confirming that the ordination took place.

13 — That is what all those who joined at the start say to justify themselves.

14 — Archbishop Lefebvre, Conference at Écône on October 8, 1988.

15 — Archbishop Lefebvre, in Fideliter n° 70, p. 6.

16 — Archbishop Lefebvre, Letter to Pope John Paul II, June 2, 1988.



19— He was elected for four years at the meeting of the episcopal conference in November 2019, so he will still be secretary when the pope comes.

20— November 20, 2019.



The Ladder of Paradise – Simple Method to Reach the Heights of Mystical Life

The Ladder of Paradise


Simple Method to Reach the Heights of Mystical Life

by Guigues the Carthusian

(XI Century)

We present here extracts of a text from the Middle Ages, published by “Les Éditions du Sel” in Avrillé, to raise your souls above the turmoils of this world, who rejected the Kingship of Our Lord. Spirituality is the strength of the Catholics in times of crisis.

The Four Degrees of the Spiritual Exercises

One day, while I was thinking about the exercises of the spiritual man, I suddenly saw four degrees: 1) reading, 2) meditation, 3) prayer, 4) contemplation.

This is the ladder of the contemplative souls, which takes them up from earth to Heaven.

It has few rungs: it is very high, however, and incredibly long. The base rests on the earth; the top surpasses the clouds and penetrates the depths of the Heavens. From these rungs the name, number, order and use are distinct. If one carefully studies their properties, functions and hierarchy, soon this careful study will seem short and easy, so useful and gentle will it be.

Reading is the attentive study of Sacred Scripture, made by an applied mind.

Meditation is the careful investigation, with the help of reason, of a hidden truth.

Prayer is the elevation of the heart to God to ward off evil and obtain good.

Contemplation is the elevation to God of the soul delighted in the savor of eternal joys.


Having defined the four rungs, let us look at the function of each of them.

The ineffable sweetness of the blessed life – reading seeks it, meditation finds it, prayer asks for it, contemplation savors it. This is the very word of the Lord: “Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened to you”. Seek while reading, you will find while meditating. Knock while praying, you will enter while contemplating.

I would like to say that reading brings substantial food to the mouth, meditation grinds and chews it, prayer tastes it, and contemplation is the very sweetness that rejoices and makes you happy. Reading stops at the bark, meditation goes into the marrow, prayer expresses the desire, but contemplation revels in the savor of the sweetness obtained.

For a better understanding, here is an example among many others. I read the Gospel: “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God”; short maxim, but full of meaning, infinitely sweet. To the thirsty soul it offers itself like a bunch of grapes. The soul looks at it and says: this word will be good for me. Gather yourself my heart, try to understand and above all to find this purity. Oh how precious and desirable it must be, since it purifies those it inhabits, and has the promise of the divine vision – eternal life, since the Holy Scriptures never cease to praise it!

Then, the desire to understand better invades the soul: and it seizes the mystical bunch, it gathers it up, it crushes it, it puts it in the press, and it says to reason: look and seek what it is, tell me how one acquires this so precious and desirable purity of heart.

II  Meditation

The soul then approaches to meditate on the text. What then does attentive meditation do? It is not enough for it to approach: it penetrates the text, it goes to the bottom, it scrutinizes the hidden corners. And first of all, it notices that the Lord did not say: “Blessed are those who have a body, but a pure heart”, for it would be little to have hands free from evil works if the mind were stained with perverse thoughts. The Prophet had already said, “Who will climb the mountain of the Lord? Who will stand in his sanctuary? He who has innocent hands and a pure heart.” (Ps 23:3).

The meditation notes again what powerful desire the Prophet called this purity of heart, since he said in his prayer, “Lord, create in me a pure heart, for if iniquity is in my heart, the Lord will not be able to hear me”. With what care Job watched over this intimate purity, he who said: “With my eyes I made a pact not to think even of a virgin” (Job 31:1). This holy man had to close his eyes to useless things so that he could not see what he would unconsciously desire afterwards.

Having thus scrutinized purity of heart, one continues one’s meditation by examining the reward promised to him. O glorious and delectable reward! Contemplate the longed-for Face of the Lord, beautiful beyond all the beauty of the children of men! The Lord, no longer abject and vile in that appearance with which his mother in the Synagogue clothed him, but adorned with immortality, crowned with the diadem which his Father imposed on him on the day of his resurrection and glory, “the day which the Lord made“. And in his meditation, the soul thinks of how full that vision will be, how overflowing his joy will be… “I shall be filled with joy as I contemplate your glory, says the Prophet” (Ps 16:15).

Ah! What generous and abundant wine flows from the little grape! What a fire has been kindled by the spark! As she lays down on the anvil of meditation, the small mass of metal, that short text: “Blessed are those who are pure of heart, for they shall see God”. And how much more would it lengthen if it were worked by an experienced servant of God! Yes, the well is deep, but, poor novice, I was only able to draw from it a few droplets.


What will she do, the poor soul, burning with the desire of this purity that she cannot attain? The more it seeks it, the more it thirsts for it; the more it thinks about it, the more it suffers from not possessing it, for meditation excites the desire for this innocence without giving it water. No, it is neither reading nor meditation that makes one savor its sweetness: it must be given from above.

The wicked as well as the good read and meditate; pagan philosophers, guided by reason, have glimpsed the sovereign Good, but because “knowing God, they did not glorify him as God” (Rom 1:21), and proud of their strength, they said: “We will exalt our tongue, our goods are ours, who is our master?” (Ps 11:5) They did not deserve to find what they had glimpsed. “Their thoughts vanished” (Rom 1:21) and “all their wisdom was devoured” (Ps 106:27), for it came from a human source, not from that Spirit who alone gives true wisdom, which is that savory knowledge which, uniting itself to the soul, pours out priceless sweetness, joy and comfort, and of which it is written: Wisdom does not enter the soul that wants evil. It proceeds from God alone. The Lord has entrusted to many the office of baptism, to few the power to forgive sins, he has reserved this power for himself. As St. John says of him, “This is He who baptizes,” so we can say: this is He who alone gives the savory wisdom that enables the soul to taste it. The text is offered to many, but few receive wisdom. The Lord infuses it to whom He will and how He will.

III  Prayer

The soul understood: this knowledge so longed for, this sweet experience, it will never reach them by its own strength alone; the more its heart rushes forward, the more God appears to it. Then it humbles itself and takes refuge in prayer.

O my Lord, whom only pure hearts can see, I have sought, through reading and meditation, true purity so that I may become able to know you a little. “I have sought your face, O my Lord, I have desired to see Thy adorable Face” (Ps 26:8). “For a long time I meditated in my heart and in my meditation a fire was kindled, the desire to know Thou more and more” (Ps 38:4). When you break the bread of Scripture, I already know you, but the more I know you, O my Lord, the more I want to know you, not only in the crust of the letter, but in the reality of union. And this gift, O my Lord, I implore, not by my merits, but by your mercy. It is true, I am an unworthy sinner, but don’t the little dogs themselves eat the crumbs that have fallen from the master’s table? To my distressed soul, O God, give a deposit on the promised inheritance, at least a drop of heavenly dew to quench my thirst, for I burn with love, O my Lord.

IV  Contemplation

With such ardent words, the soul inflames its desire and calls the Bridegroom by incantation of tenderness. And the Bridegroom, Whose gaze rests on the just and whose ears are so attentive to their prayers that He does not even wait for them to be fully expressed, the Bridegroom suddenly interrupts this prayer: He comes to the greedy soul, He flows into it, moistened with the heavenly dew, anointed with precious perfumes; He restores the tired soul; He feeds it, fainting; He waters it, parched; He makes it forget the earth, and from His presence He detaches it from everything, marvelously He strengthens it, invigorates it and intoxicates it.

In certain coarse acts, the soul is so strongly chained by lust that it loses its reason and the whole man becomes carnal. In this sublime contemplation, on the contrary, the instincts of the body are so consumed and absorbed by the soul that the flesh no longer fights the spirit in any way, and man becomes all spiritual.

What Are the Signs That We Recognize the Coming of the Holy Ghost

O my Lord, how will I know the time of this visit? At what sign will I recognize Your coming? Are sighs and tears the messengers and witnesses of this consoling joy? What indeed is the relationship between consolation and sighs, joy and tears? But can we say that they are tears? Is it not rather the intimate dew poured from above, overflowing, to purify the inner man and overflowing? In baptism the external ablution signifies and operates the internal purification of the child: here, on the contrary, the intimate purification precedes the external ablution and is manifested through it. O happy tears, new baptism of the soul through which the fire of sins is extinguished! “Blessed are thou who weep, thus you will laugh” (Mt 5:5).

In these tears, O my soul, acknowledge your Bridegroom, unite yourself to your desire. To His torrent of delights intoxicate yourself, suckle with the milk and honey of His consolation. These sighs and tears are the marvelous gifts of the Bridegroom, the drink that He measures out for the day and night, the bread that strengthens thy heart, sweeter in its bitterness than the honeycomb.

O Lord Jesus, if they are so sweet, the tears that flow from a heart that desires you, what will be the joy of a soul to whom You show Yourself in the clear eternal vision! If it is so sweet to weep while desiring you, what a delight it is to enjoy you!

But why desecrate before all, these intimate secrets? Why in banal words try to translate inexpressible tenderness? One who has not experienced them, will not understand. One reads these mysterious colloquies only from the book of experience, or is instructed in them only by divine action. The page is closed, insipid the book to the one whose heart does not know how to illuminate the external letter with the sense of intimate experience.

VI  The Spouse Retires for a While Shut Up, My Soul, You’re Talking Too Much

It was good up there, with Peter and John, contemplating the glory of the Bridegroom. Oh, stay with Him for a long time, and if He had wanted to, raise not two or three tents, but only one to dwell in together in His joy.

But already the Bridegroom cried out, “Let me go, behold, the dawn is coming up”: you have received the bright grace and the visit so longed for. And He blesses you, and like the angel to Jacob in the past, He mortifies the sinew of your thigh (Gn. 32:25,31), He changes your name from Jacob to Israel, and behold, He seems to withdraw. The long-awaited Bridegroom quickly hides Himself, the vision of contemplation fades away, His sweetness vanishes.

But He, the Bridegroom, remains present in your heart and governs it, always.


Fear not, O wife, do not despair and do not think yourself despised if sometimes your Bridegroom veils His face. All this is for your own good; both His departure and His coming are a gain. It is for your sake that He comes and for your sake that He withdraws. He comes to comfort you, He withdraws to guard you, lest, intoxicated with His sweet presence, you should be proud. If the Bridegroom were always substantially present, would you not be tempted to despise your companions and to believe that this presence is due to you, when it is a pure gift granted by the Bridegroom, to whom He wills and when He wills, over which you have no right? The proverb says: “Familiarity breeds contempt“. To avoid this disrespectful familiarity He shuns you. Absent, you desire Him more strongly; your desire makes you seek Him more ardently, and your expectation more tenderly finds it.

And then, if consolation were here on earth all the time – though beside eternal glory it is enigma and shadow – we would perhaps believe that we have here the permanent city and we would look less for the future City. Oh, no, let us not take exile for the fatherland, and the deposit for the inheritance.

The Bridegroom comes, He goes, consoling, desolating; He lets us taste a little of His ineffable sweetness; but before it enters you, He shuns, He is gone. Now this is to teach us to fly to the Lord. Like the eagle, He spreads his wings widely over us, and provokes us to soar. And He said, “You have tasted a little of the sweetness of my gentleness. Would you like to eat some? Run, fly, to my perfumes, lift up your hearts to the top, where I am at the right hand of the Father, where you will see Me, no longer as a figure or enigma, but face to face, in the full, total joy that no one will ever be able to take from you”.


Spouse of Christ, understand this well: when the Bridegroom retires, He is not far from you. You no longer see Him, but He keeps looking at you. You can never escape His sight, ever. His messengers, the angels, were spying on your life when He hid, and they would soon have accused you if they saw you light and unclean. He is jealous, the Bridegroom, and if your soul would admit another love and seek to please someone, He would immediately forsake you to unite with the more faithful virgins. He is delicate, noble, rich, the most beautiful of the children of men: therefore he wants in His wife [your soul] all beauty, and if He sees in you a stain or a wrinkle, He will turn away His eyes, for He cannot suffer any impurity. Therefore be chaste, reverent, and humble before Him, and you shall receive His visit often.


I got carried away with my speech, I was too long. But how can I resist the training of such a fertile and gentle subject? These beautiful things have captivated me. But let’s summarize for clarity:

All the degrees on our scale stand together and depend on each other:

Reading is the foundation; it provides the material and commits you to meditation.

Meditation carefully searches for what to desire, it digs and uncovers the desired treasure; but unable to grasp it, it excites us to pray.

Prayer, rising with all its strength to the Lord, asks for the desirable treasure of contemplation.

Finally, contemplation comes to reward the work of her three sisters and intoxicates the altered soul of God with the sweet heavenly dew.

Reading is therefore an external exercise. It is the level of the beginners.

Meditation, an inner act of the intelligence. It is the rung of those who progress.

Prayer, the action of a soul full of desire. It is the rung of those who are God’s.

Contemplation surpasses all feeling and knowledge. It is the rung of the blessed.

VII  Reading, Meditation, Prayer and Contemplation Support Each Other

Reading, meditation, prayer and contemplation are so strongly linked to each other, and help each other so much that the first are of no use without the last, and that one never, or by great exception, reaches the latter only by passing through the latter. What is the use of spending our time reading the lives and writings of the saints if, in meditating and ruminating on them, we do not draw the juice from them, and make it our own and go down to the depths of our hearts? Vain will be our readings, if we do not take care to compare our lives with those of the saints and if we allow ourselves to be carried away by the curiosity of reading rather than by the desire to imitate their examples.

On the other hand, how can we keep on the right path and avoid errors or childishness, how can we remain within the just limits set by our fathers without serious reading or learned teaching? For in the term of reading we understand teaching; is it not commonly said: the book I read, although sometimes it was received through the teaching of a master?

In the same way, it will be vain to meditate on one of our duties, if it is not completed and strengthened by the prayer that obtains the grace to fulfill that duty, for “every exquisite gift, every perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights” (Jac. 1:17), without whom we can do nothing. He works in us, but not entirely without us, for, says the Apostle (I Cor. 3:9): “we are cooperators with God”. He deigns to take us as helpers of His works and, when He knocks at the door, He asks us to open to Him the secret of our will and consent.

To the Samaritan woman the Savior asked for this will, when He said to her: “Call your husband”; that is to say, here is my grace; you, apply your free will. He excited her to prayer by saying: “If you knew the gift of God and the one who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would certainly ask Him for the living water”. For this woman, as though instructed by meditation, said in her heart, “This water would be good for me”; and inflamed with longing, she began to pray: “O Lord, give me this water that I may never thirst again and come to this well”. The divine word heard, invited her heart to meditate, and then to pray. How would she have been inclined to pray if the meditation had not ignited her desire? And, on the other hand, what use would it have been to her to see spiritual goods in meditation if she had not obtained them through prayer?

What, then, is fruitful meditation? That which blossoms in fervent prayer, which almost ordinarily obtains the most suave contemplation.


Thus, without meditation, reading will be arid.

Without reading, meditation will be full of errors.

Without meditation, prayer will be lukewarm.

Without prayer, meditation will be unfruitful and vain.

When prayer and devotion are united, they obtain contemplation. On the contrary, it would be a rare exception and even a miracle to obtain contemplation without prayer.

The Lord, whose power is infinite and whose mercy marks all His works, can well turn stones into children of Abraham, by forcing hard and rebellious hearts to want good. A prodigy of His grace: He pulls the bull by the horns, as one says vulgarly, when, unexpectedly, He melts with a quick blow in the soul. He is the sovereign Master; and so He did in Saint Paul and in a few other chosen ones. But we must not wait for such prodigies and tempt God. Let us do what is asked of us: let us read and meditate on the divine Law, let us pray to the Lord to help so much weakness, to look at so much misery. “Ask and you will receive, He Himself told us, seek and you will find knock and you will be opened. The kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and it is the violent who prevail” (Mt 7:7; 11:12).


Blessed is he who, detached from creatures, is constantly practicing to climb these four degrees! Blessed is he who winds all he possesses to acquire the field where the treasure so desirable of contemplation lies, and to taste how sweet the Lord is! Applied to the first degree, prudent to the second, fervent to the third, delighted to the last, of virtue in virtue he ascends in his heart the steps that lead him to the vision of the Lord in Sion. Blessed at last is he who can stop at the top, if only for a moment, and say: I taste the grace of the Lord; behold, with Peter and John on the mountain I contemplate His glory; I have gone with Jacob to Rachel’s caresses.

But let him take heed, this happy one, not to choose sadly from the heavenly contemplation in the darkness of the abyss, from the divine vision in the worldly vanities and impure fancies of the flesh.

The poor human soul is weak, it cannot sustain for long the radiant splendor of the Truth: it will therefore be necessary for it to descend one or two degrees and rest quietly in one or the other, according to her will or to the graces she receives, absolutely remaining as near from God as possible.

O sad condition of human weakness! Reason and Holy Scripture agree that these four degrees lead to perfection, and that spiritual men must work to practice them: but who does this? A lot begin. A few goes to the end. May God permit us to belong to this few number of souls!

VIII  Of the Soul That Loses the Grace of Contemplation

Four obstacles can prevent us from climbing these degrees: 1) inevitable necessity, 2) the usefulness of a good work, 3) human weakness, 4) worldly vanity.

The first is excusable; the second, acceptable; the third, pitiful; the fourth, guilty.

Yes, for him who departs from his holy resolution out of worldly vanity, it would be better to have always ignored the glory of God than to refuse it after having known it. How can one excuse such a fault? To this unfaithful person the Lord reproves justly: “What could I have done that I did not do for you?” (Is 5:4). You were nothing, I gave you being; a sinner and slave of the devil, I redeemed you; with the ungodly you wandered through the world, I took you back by choice of love, I gave you My grace and established you in My presence; in your heart I chose My dwelling place: and you despised Me; My invitations, My love, I in the end. You threw everything away to run after your lusts.

O God, infinitely good, sweet, gentle; tender friend and cautious adviser: how foolish and foolhardy is he who repels You and drives from his heart such a humble and compassionate guest! Wretched and damnable exchange: drive out his Creator to hospitalize impure and perverse thoughts; deliver the dear, closed retreat of the Holy Ghost, still embalmed with the recent heavenly joys, to low thoughts and sin; profane with adulterous desires the still warm remains of the Bridegroom. O shocking ungodliness! Those ears which a short while ago listened to the colloquies that man cannot repeat, are now filled with lies and calumnies; those eyes, purified by holy tears, are pleasing to vanities; those lips barely cease to sing the divine epithalam and the burning canticles of love which united the husband and the wife introduced into the mystical cellar, and there they say vanities, trickery and slander. O Lord, preserve us from such falls!

If, however, human weakness in this misfortune causes you to fall, do not despair, frail soul; no, never despair, but run to the gentle Physician who “raises from the ground the needy and the poor from their dunghill” (Ps 112:7). He does not want the sinner to die. He will help you and heal you.


I have to close my letter. I pray the Lord to weaken today, to remove tomorrow from our soul every obstacle to contemplation. May He lead us from virtue to virtue to the top of the mysterious ladder to the vision of the Divinity in Sion. There, it is no longer drip by drip and intermittently that His chosen ones will taste the sweetness of this divine contemplation; but always flooded by this torrent of joy, they will possess forever the joy that no one can take away, the immutable peace, the peace in Him! O Gervais, my brother, when by the grace of the Lord you have reached the top of the mysterious ladder, remember me, and in your happiness, pray for me. Let the curtain be drawn to you, and let Him who hears say: Come!

The end