A Mother's Spiritual Diary

 The First Delights of my Soul

"Thanks to God, the Lord granted me good dispositions but I am to blame for not having cultivated them as I should have.  From my tenderest childhood I felt in my soul a strong inclination toward prayer, penance and, above all, purity (Aut. 1, 10).  Penance was always a joy as far back as I can remember.  When I learned to read, I shut myself up in the house library.  I only picked out the Christian Annals and out of the numerous volumes.  I only read those pages where there were accounts of the penances performed by saints.  I enjoyed reading about them and hours flew by during which I found out what mortifications they practiced.  I was very envious of them and tried hard to find out how to imitate them (Aut., l, 2).

"While riding about the countryside with my father and my sister Clara, I spent hours reflecting on how I could manage to live in a mountain cave all by myself, far from everyone, giving myself up to penance and prayer whenever the spirit moved me. I was delighted at the thought and pondered it in my heart. Sometimes along the road - we often stayed at my mother's hacienda - I would ride along meditating very slowly, word for word, prayers to our Blessed Sacrament or to the Blessed Virgin, prayers which I had learned by heart. My childish heart found ineffable delight in all this. Up to the time of my marriage, I thought that everybody did penance and said prayers and when they did so they did not let anyone else know. I was very much surprised on learning this was not so but rather a lot of people hated mortification. My God, why is this? (Aut., 17-18).

"I made my first confession when I was seven or eight. I was told to confess grievous sins. So that is what I did although I had not committed any, as I realize now. The priest had to bend over to see me for I hardly reached the grill of the confessional. He scolded me harshly and gave me four rosaries as a penance! It was an awful lot for a little girl! (Aut., 24-26).

"I made my first Communion on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, on my tenth birthday, December 8, 1872. On account of my tepidity and thoughtlessness I do not remember anything special except an immense interior delight and a great pleasure to wear a white dress. Since that day my love of the Eucharist has ever grown and, from that period on, I have fervently loved to frequent the sacraments.  When I was around fifteen or sixteen, I was permitted to receive four or five times a week, and, soon after, every day. I was happy, so happy when I could receive! It is an absolute necessity of my life.  How often, on returning from a dance or from the theater, I received Communion the next day without any feeling of guilt. At night I would think first about the Eucharist, then about my fiancée.  How often when I received and visited the Blessed Sacrament I said to Jesus: 'Lord, I feel so unable to love You, so I want to get married. Give me many children so that they will love you better than I.' This did not seem out of place to me, rather a legitimate prayer to quench the thirst of my soul, my desire to love Him more and to see Him loved even better by beings proceeding from my being with my blood and my life (Aut., 27-29).