The Thirsty Gargoyle
Ansel Adams, The Tetons and the Snake River.

Ansel Adams, The Tetons and the Snake River.

Trials are always accompanied by the grace to bear them. When the Lord engages us in a battle, he makes sure that we shall have the means to be victorious.
Cécile Bruyère, 28 November 1890, quoted in Sister Mary David Totah OSB, The Spirit of Solesmes, 97.
Patience is the remedy for all evils. When one suffers, one must not become agitated, but must accept everything for the sake of the hand from which it comes.
Cécile Bruyère, 28 November 1890, quoted in Sister Mary David Totah OSB, The Spirit of Solesmes, 97.

Don’t be surprised at being constantly and strangely buffeted. You will be tossed back and forth between God and the devil, but it is this action of the winnowing-fan that will purify your nature and free it from the chaff. Note that the grain that is being winnowed does not move of itself but is being shaken by another.

Let yourself be thrown about, but do not, yourself, move; far from helping the operation, you hinder it. Remain perseveringly calm. You must not always manage to unite yourself with our Lord, but you must always seek after it – without struggling, however.

Do the best you can, work more by prayer and by example than by words; but if you then have failures, do not be too distressed about it; our Lord has plenty himself.

Cécile Bruyère, 17 Febuary 1887, quoted in Sister Mary David Totah OSB, The Spirit of Solesmes, 96-97.

(Presumably Cécile did not mean that Jesus had himself failed, but that he had plenty of failures within his body, such that learning to grow through failures was an inevitable part of the Christian life.)

Isn’t suffering the law of life since the first sin? Have you ever seen anyone escape it?

So the happy ones are not those who do not suffer, for then there would be none in this world, but those who know how to suffer. … You must take your courage in both hands and turn to our Lord , from whom will come your help. I assure you that I have experienced this very forcefully since the death of our great abbot.

One must bear everything, and be no longer borne up by anyone; and I can state firmly to you that with that burden I am perfectly content, as long as I do not look at things from the point of view of self-love and as long as, in the depths of my heart, I throw myself upon Jesus, who alone possess within himself beauty, goodness, truth, and all that could ever captivate us. … Believe me: do not be afraid to suffer in this world.

Cécile Bruyère, Letter 17 February 1877, quoted in Sister Mary David Totah OSB, The Spirit of Solesmes, 96.

Allow me to suggest to you a strange idea: why has the Lord not left us a portrait of himself? Tradition, I know, has passed down to us an adequate general picture of the features of the Lord; but, why, after all, did he not come in the era of photography? Quite simple: everyone would have believed naively that this portrait of the Lord was the Lord himself.

No: where is the likeness of the Lord to be found? In souls. What is the true portrait of the Lord? It is yourselves.

Another question: why is Holy Scripture, which is a continuous story from the “in principio” of Genesis to “Veni, Domine Jesu” which ends the Apocalypse, why is Scripture interrupted from the time of the Apostles until the last days? The reason is the same: it is up to the saints to write that story of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Cécile Bruyère, Retreat, 1899, quoted in Sister Mary David Totah OSB, The Spirit of Solesmes, 83.

You say that both time and strength are limited. Yes, certainly, when one calculates. But if we let the Lord act, if we take everything he sends, if we abandon ourselves in pure faith, if we bow our heads and say, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord,” I believe that he solves all the problems himself.

It was hard for me to believe that. Common sense told me that there are only sixty minutes in an hour, but he for whom a thousand years are as one day has proved to me hundreds of times that he is the Lord of time as of everything else.

Cécile Bruyère, quoted in Sister Mary David Totah OSB, The Spirit of Solesmes, 67.
Ansel Adams - Moonrise, Hernandez. New Mexico.

Ansel Adams - Moonrise, Hernandez. New Mexico.

It is a question of maturity. You must grasp that in our life, nothing is achieved by fits and starts and by violent efforts. Life in its entirety, the moral life, the supernatural life, consists of continuous sincerity, continuous honesty, continuous flexibility and docility. We are not to believe that a fruit attains to perfect maturity by a sudden violent growth, but simply when it has received all its succulence from its root, which is faith, and all its savour from the sun. For that, it has to turn its face to the sun.

Above all, love the Lord and have the firm assurance that nothing in us will resist the almighty power of his love. Take up every day, gently and courageously, the work begun the day before. Nothing hot-headed. A continuous and gentle strength. Never speak shrilly.

Dom Prosper Guéranger, Letter to a young girl, 20 March 1905, quoted in Sister Mary David Totah OSB, The Spirit of Solesmes, 59.

I attach supreme importance to this statement: Union is not something toward which we are moving; union is not an ideal condition toward which our life is proceeding; union is not something we must bear away as a prize.

Union with God, total union with God, is the real condition in which God himself has established us. … Union is the primary thing: the union of baptism comes before our moral life.

Dom Prosper Guéranger, Conference, January 1916, quoted in Sister Mary David Totah OSB, The Spirit of Solesmes, 53.