GOLD DUST BOOKLET:
A COLLECTION OF GOLDEN COUNSELS
FOR THE SANCTIFICATION OF DAILY LIFE .
TRANSLATED AND ABRIDGED
FROM THE FRENCH
New Impression (1907)
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON
| PHILOSOPHY | SPIRITUALITY |
MINDSET | LIFESTYLE
a collection of devotional thoughts
published in France under the title of “Paillettes d’Or”.
It is necessarily a selection,
since the gold dust which suits French readers
requires a fresh sifting for the English;
but the value of most of the thoughts seems to me well to deserve the term of gold.
so as to be able to take up and dwell upon some one of its grains
at leisure times throughout the day’s business.
little children and old and infirm poor,
who are incapable of hard work, in order to earn a livelihood,
employ themselves in searching the beds of dried up rivers
for “Paillettes d’Or”, or golden dust,
which sparkles in the sun, and which the water carries away as it flows.
for the gold dust GOD has sown in those obscure rivers,
we would do with those counsels and teachings
which GOD has sown almost everywhere,
which sparkle, enlighten, and inspire for a moment, then…
did not occur to collect and treasure them.
those teachings so soft and gentle, yet so forcible,
which make the heart thrill, and reveal to it suddenly
a world of peace, joy, and devotion?
or a sentence overheard in conversation,
which may have had for us a twofold meaning,
and, in passing, left us untouched with an unknown power.
whom we knew to be sorrowful,
that spoke to us of the sweet joy of resignation.
that revealed to us all the beauty of frankness and simplicity.
and sparkle but for a moment;
oh! if we had but engraved them on our hearts!
what a guide and comfort they would have been to us
in the days of discouragement and sorrow;
what counsels to guide our actions,
what consolations to soothe the broken heart!
from nature, from brooks, above all from mankind itself-
that is the intention of one of your fellow-creatures,
dear souls, you who long so to make your lives more holy and devout!
gathered and accumulated from the river’s bed,
was the means of bringing a little profit to the hearth,
so would we endeavour to carry a little joy to your hearts
and peace to your souls.
then scatter them abroad again,
that they may go with their good words to help others.
will not even ask to be preserved;
they do not desire fame:
“give me every day a little work to occupy my mind;
a little suffering to sanctify my spirit;
a little good to do to comfort my heart.”
that by our deeds also, we shall be condemned.
either towards salvation, or eternal ruin;
and when at last we reach…
the cry escapes our lips, “Already!”.
it was those tiny flakes of snow, seeming to melt as they touch the earth,
nut falling one upon another,
that have formed that immense mass,
which seems ready to fall and crush us.
the thought, that produced the desire;
the circumstance that gave rise to the thought,
I should find something almost imperceptible;
perhaps a word with a double untendre I had heard,
and at which I had smiled,
a useless explanation, sought out of mere curiosity;
a hasty look, cast I knew not wherefore,
and which conscience prompted me to check;
a prayer neglected, because it wearied me;
work left undone, while I indulged in some day-dream,
that flitted before my fancy…
but this time more prolonged,
the stifled voice of conscience is hushed.
let us stop there, each can complete the sad story for himself,
and it is easy to draw the practical conclusion.
when the heart seems to overflow with devotion,
wrote thus in her journal:
– “If I dared, I would ask GOD, why I am placed in the world; what have I to do?
I know not; my days are idly spent, and I do not even regret them…
If might but do some good to myself, or another,
if only for the short space of a minute in each day!
” A few days later, when in a calmer mood
she re-read these lines, she added,
“Why, nothing is easier!
I have but to give a cup of cold water to one of CHRIST’S little ones.”
may be of service, and gives you the right to hope for a reward in heaven.
a little vexation patiently borne;
a prayer for a friend, offered to GOD;
the fault or thoughtlessness of another repaired without his knowledge;
with you indeed bless me Thanks! thanks! be unto Thee.
by those with whom we live,
for the sake of one little pain they may have caused us,
and which, most likely, was quite unintentional on their part?
that you think may be of service,
you take care to copy, and consult it as an oracle.
Do as much for the good of your soul.
Engrave in your memory, and even write down,
the counsels and precepts that you hear, or read…
then, from time to time, study this little collection,
which you will not prize the less that you have made it all yourself.
but of those we…
And it will be yours, this collection of thoughts chosen because you liked them:
counsels you have given yourself:
moral receipts you have discovered,
and of which, perhaps, you have proved the efficacy.
Then practise the maxims of an influential man,
who when asked, after the Revolution,
how he managed to escape the executioner’s axe, replied,
“I made myself of no reputation, and kept silence.”
above all with those who exercise a certain control of you?
Use the means employed by a pious woman,
who had to live with one of a trying temper,
never revealing the trouble it causes me;
Let your Guardian Angel find you at each moment of the day
doing one of these four things which once formed the rule of a saintly life:
try to add to the above actions the following virtues;
– method- faith- spiritual combat – perseverance.
make it your study to be always rendering others service,
and never hesitate to ask the same of them.
in asking it, you please by this mark or your confidence.
The result of this will be a constant habit of mutual forbearance,
and a fear to be disobliging in matters of greater importance.
never laugh or make fun of their awkwardness.
If it is caused by stupidity, your laughter is uncharitable:
if from ignorance, your mockery is, to say the least, unjust.
show him the right way to work:
and GOD, who see all your efforts, will smile on your patience,
and send help in all your difficulties.
and we suffer from depression or disappointment,
how thankful we should be that we still have work and prayer left to comfort us.
Occupation forcibly diverts the mind;
prayer sweetly soothes the soul.
“I tell my griefs to GOD, as a child tells its troubles to its mother;
and when I have told all I am comforted,
and repeat with a lightened heart,
the prayer of S. Francoise de Chantal
(who certainly suffered more than I)
‘THY WILL BE DONE FOR EVER AND EVER,
o LORD, WITHOUT IF OR BUT,’…
AND THEN FOR FEAR A MURMUR MAY ARISE IN MY HEART,
I RETURN IMMEDIATELY TO MY WORK,
He who is never satisfied with anything, satisfies no one.
Are there many who try to be of some little help or comfort
to the souls with whom they are brought in contact through life?
Poor souls, that, perhaps have no longer strength
or will to manifest the longing they experience,
and who languish for want of help,
without being aware they are perishing.
O, mingle sometimes with your earthly help
the blessed Name of God;
and if there remain one little spark of life in the soul,
that Name will re-kindle it,
and carry comfort and resignation;
even as air breathed into the mouth of any one apparently dead,
rushes into the lungs, and revives the sufferer,
if but one breath of life remains.
Souls! Souls! I yearn for Souls!
- This is the cry of the SAVIOUR;
And for their sakes He died upon the CROSS,
And remains until eternity their Intercessor.
Souls! Souls! I must win Souls!
It is the cry of Satan;
And to obtain them he scatters gold to tempt them,
Multiplies their pleasures and vanities,
And gives the praise that only infatuates.
Souls ! Souls ! we long for Souls!
– Let this be our aim, readers and writers of these our “Paillettes”;
And for the sake of even one soul,
Let not fatigue, expense, or the criticism of the world deter us…
How few there are who would thus dare
To address GOD each night:
“LORD, deal with me to-morrow as I have this day
Dealt with others…
Those to whom I…
…was harsh, and from malice or to show my own superiority
Exposed their failings; others, to whom from pride or dislike I refused to speak,-
One I have avoided – another I cannot like because she displeases me –
I will not forgive –
To whom I will not show any kindness”…
And yet, let us never forget,
That sooner or later,
God will do unto us even as we have done unto them.
“GRANT me, O LORD”
Said a humble soul,
“That I may pass unnoticed through the world”.
This should be the wish,
Or rather the aim of all true devotion.
Small virtues require the praise of man to sustain them,
Just as little children require encouragement
To walk or stand alone.
But true virtue goes quietly through the world,
Scattering good around,
And performing noble deeds,
Without even the knowledge
That what it does is heroic.
One day, was excusing herself to S. Francois de Sales
For having spoken hastily to some one,
On the plea that it was in the cause of justice.
The Saint replied,
“You have been more just than righteous;
But we should be more righteous than just”.
A DEVOUT woman once wrote thus:
“In my own family, I try to be as little in the way as possible,
Satisfied with everything,
And never to believe for a moment
That any one means unkindly towards me”.
“If people are friendly and kind to me,
I enjoy it;
If they neglect me, or…
Leave me, I am always happy alone.
It all tends to my one aim,
Forgetfulness of self, in order to please GOD”.
LEARNING is not without its effect upon the soul;
It either lends it wings,
To bear it up to GOD,
Or leaves behind it tiny sparks,
Which little by little, consume the whole being.
If you would ascertain all the good, or ill,
You have derived from all those hours devoted to historians,
Poets, novelists, or philosophers, put to yourself these questions;
Since acquiring this knowledge, am I wiser?
Am I better?
Am I happier?
That is to say more self-controlled, less the slave of my passions,
Less irritated by small vexations,
Braver in bearing misfortunes,
More careful to live for eternity?
More forbearing towards others,
More forgiving, less uncharitable,
More reticent in exposing the faults of others,
more solicitious for the happiness of those around me?
That would mean more contented with my station in life,
Striving to derive all possible benefits from it,
To beautify rather than to alter it?
Have I more faith in GOD,
More calmness and resignation in all the events of life?
If you cannot reply in the affirmative,
Then examine your heart thoroughly,
And you will find there,
Stifling the good that GOD has implanted,
These three tyrants that have obtained dominion over you:
From them have sprung:
Dissatisfaction and contempt of your life and its surroundings,
Restlessness, a longing for power and dominion over others,
Malice, habitual discontent, and incessant murmurings.
Have you any…
Further doubts? Then inquire of those with whom you live.
Ah! If this be indeed the sad result, then,
Whatever may be your age, close, oh!
Close those books, and seek once more those two elements
Of happiness you ought never to have forsaken,
And which, had you made them the companions of your study,
would have kept you pure and good.
I refer to prayer and manual labour.
LISTEN to the story of a simple shepherd,
Given in his own words:
“I forgot now who it was that once said to me;
Jean Baptiste, you are very poor?
True- If you fell ill, your wife and children would be destitute?
And then I felt anxious and uneasy for the rest of the day.
“At Evensong, wiser thoughts came to me,
And I said to myself;
Jean Baptiste, for more than thirty years
You have lived in the world
You have never possessed anything,
Yet still you live on,
And have been provided each day with nourishment,
Each night with repose.
Of trouble GOD has never sent you more than your share.
Of help, the means have never failed you.
To whom do you owe all of this?
Jean Baptiste, be no longer ungrateful,
And banish those anxious thoughts;
For what could ever induce you to think
That the Hand from which you have already received so much,
Would close against you when you grow old,
And have greater need of help?
I finished my prayer, and felt at peace.”
The work of the sower is given to each of us in this world,
And we fall short of our duty when
We let those with whom…