A Mother's Spiritual Diary

 Longing for God

"At the heart of this ocean of vanities and festivals, I felt within my soul a burning desire to learn how to pray.  I inquired, I read, I kept myself as much as I could in God's presence.  This was enough to begin seeing a great light shed on the nothingness of worldly things on the vanity of existence, on the beauty of God.  I felt a great love for the Holy Spirit.  When I went to bed I held my crucifix and, not knowing what was happening to me, felt a profound interior emotion.  My heart fixed itself on Christ in an inexplicable way.  Christ drew me to Himself, absorbed me, enchanted me. Soon all dissolved in tears.  Then this experience passed and I returned to my life of tepidity, of vanity and of folly.  This caused me much suffering.  Even in the midst adulation, recreation, and festivals I felt emptiness in my soul, and seemed to hear a voice saying: 'You were not born for this, your happiness is somewhere else.'

"When I recall these things, it seems to me I should have had a religious vocation but I never, so to say, had heard of such words and never paid close attention to it.  On reading the Christian Annals I was quite enthused over the religious mentioned, but I never knew any of them and thought they were no longer alive.  Many a time I and my cousins played at being nuns. For a long time I would kneel down, feeling in my soul God's delight.  Soon, however, my cousins lost interest with this game and played with their boy friends.

"Vocation, Virginity! I had no idea what these words meant.  I thought I was destined to marry without any other question than to do so, although I had no concept of its divine grandeur and its obligations.  My confessors spoke to me of no other way of life.  My uncle, who was a priest, was the only one who used to read to me beautiful passages about virgins and martyrs, but it never crossed my mind, that could be for me.

"I thought that once I was married, I would be wholly free to practice my penances.  I felt glad and at peace.  One day went to confession at the Church of Santa Maria del Rio.  A wonderful priest gave me this advice which impressed me very much: 'There is in your soul a great docility. It is absolutely necessary for you to choose a confessor.'  Only then did I learn that my soul was docile. Under the impulse of this priest, I think my soul made some progress.

"Thus in the midst of my miseries and vanities and at the same time amidst God's calls, I spent many years of my life.  At dances I was highly regarded.  Was it due to my candor? Scarcely had I arrived, my dance card was filled with the names of dance partners, but how tiresome dancing so much! It is said there are great risks dancing, and now I understand...

"Dressmakers complimented me on my figure! I was moved by vanity but felt no real pleasure on hearing this.  I followed the trend.  I was glad to be affable with my fiancÚ, with simplicity, nothing more.  I was only concerned with how I was dressed and looked during the few minutes Pancho passed by or came to visit me.  Hardly had he turned the corner, I removed my finery. Earrings, jewelry and rings all made me feel embarrassed. Mama felt the same way.  I recall the day of my engagement, the feast of Saint Raphael, October 24, 1884.  Pancho gave me a golden bracelet which he fastened on my wrist.  It had a lock and though it caused me considerable pain then, I have never taken it off for many years.

"Everything ephemeral, everything under a false light, vain and factitious, left me.  Never did material things satisfy my heart, I felt something else, very great in the depths of my heart.  I experienced an immense void which I imagined must be filled by my marrying so good a man as Pancho who loved me so dearly.  This was the object of my desires and of my prayers to God, St. Joseph and the Most Blessed Virgin (Aut., 1, 75-81).