Monday, March 24, 2014

Atheist confesses, becomes priest

Elisabeth and Me (1910)

By the time this volume appears,
I shall have left the world,
and entered the seminary.

My beloved wife, Elisabeth, prayed incessantly
for my return to the Catholic Faith. Daily for this intention,
she offered up all her sacrifices, trials, sufferings,
and at the end, even her death.

But she did this secretly,
because when we married,
I was profoundly anti-religious.

I had been raised Catholic,
but lost my faith in medical school.
I searched for weapons against Catholicism.
I set myself to attack Elisabeth's Faith,
to deprive her of it, and
— may God pardon me —
I nearly succeeded.

Then, in 1913, she was struck down
by cancer, which for ten months
was her Calvary until she died,
just forty-eight years old.


I have, since Elisabeth's death,
learned to appreciate the power of her silence.
God heard the constant prayer it concealed,
and completed the conversion
begun in me by her influence
and by my reading her Journal,
which I found after her death,
and which I present to you here.


Renunciation, detachment, sacrifice,
and utmost charity toward God and neighbor:
these are the themes on each of its pages.

It shows how Elisabeth
endured terrible afflictions.
She comforted those around her,
never complained,
and looked to the Eucharist,
and to prayer and self-sacrifice,
for the support she needed.

To think I was foolish and criminal enough
to try to destroy the Faith that lifted her so high
and sustained her so powerfully!
To what a Hell would I have reduced her
and condemned myself with the same stroke!


After Elisabeth's death,
when everything seemed to collapse around me,
I came upon the Spiritual Testament
she had written for me, and her Journal too.

I read and reread them,
and a revolution took place in my whole moral being.
There I discovered that Elisabeth had concluded with God
a kind of pact, vowing to exchange her life
for my return to the Faith.

I remembered that one day
she had told me
with absolute assurance:

"I shall die before you.
And when I am dead,
you will be converted;
and when you are converted,
you will become a religious.
You will be Father Leseur."


And so from her Journal
I perceived clearly the inner meaning
of Elisabeth's existence,
so grand in its humility.
I came to appreciate the splendor
of the Faith of which I had
seen such wonderful effects.

The eyes of my soul were opened.
I turned to God,
who called to me.
I confessed my sins to a priest
and was reconciled with the Church.

Fr. Felix Leseur, O.P.
(ca. 1940)


Elisabeth's Journal
is my daily reading.

It is a book of rare beauty.
The designs of God's Providence
are shown plain in
Elisabeth's life and work.

I am convinced that by reading these pages
many torn hearts will find the means
to endure with courage the sacrifices
which have been imposed on them.

I now, therefore, give to you
these precious pages.


I pray that the Holy Spirit will spread them far and wide
and that they may help to work in as many souls as possible
the renewal they have accomplished in my own soul.

Fr. Felix Leseur

*Felix's words are adapted from In Memoriam,
his 1917 introduction to Elisabeth's
Journal et pen sees de claque jour.

The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur
336 Pages — List Price: $19.95

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The saints assure us that simplicity is the virtue most likely to draw us closer to God.

No wonder Jesus praised the little children and the pure of heart!  In them, He recognized the goodness that arises from an untroubled simplicity of life, a simplicity which in the saints is completely focused on its true center, God.

That's easy to know, simple to say, but hard to achieve.

For our lives are complicated and our personalities too.  (We even make our prayers and devotions more complicated than they need be!)

In these pages, Fr. Raoul Plus provides a remedy for even the most tangled lives.

Relying on the words of Jesus and the lives of the saints, Fr. Plus maps out a sure path to the simplicity which Jesus praised, a simplicity that bestows on all of us who seek it happiness, courage, and inner peace, no matter how complicated our circumstances may be or how crowded our days.

With the wise help of Fr. Plus, you will soon savor the strength and abiding joy that simplicity brings.

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