Archive for the ‘Autobiography’ Tag

Narrative of Sojourner Truth   Leave a comment


 

Soujourner Truth

Location 1389 – Through all the scenes of her eventful life may be traced the energy of a naturally powerful mind—the fearlessness and childlike simplicity of one untrammeled by education or conventional customs—purity of character—an unflinching adherence to principle—and a native enthusiasm, which, under different circumstances, might easily have produced another Joan of Arc. With all her fervor, and enthusiasm, and speculation, her religion is not tinctured in the least with gloom. No doubt, no hesitation, no despondency, spreads a cloud over her soul; but all is bright, clear, positive, and at times ecstatic. Her trust is in God, and from him she looks for good, and not evil. She feels that ‘perfect love casteth out fear.’

159 – He again, as usual, bewailed his loneliness,—spoke in tones of anguish of his many children, saying, “They are all taken away from me! I have now not one to give me a cup of cold water—why should I live and not die?”

212 – She had no idea God had any knowledge of her thoughts, save what she told him; or heard her prayers, unless they were spoken audibly.

248 – Her master insisted that she could do as much work as half a dozen common people, and do it well, too;

347 – ‘The Lord only knows how many times I let my children go hungry, rather than take secretly the bread I liked not to ask for.

411 – ‘there is but one master; and He who is your master is my master.’

615 – She believed He not only saw, but noted down all her actions in a great book, even as her master kept a record of whatever he wished not to forget. But she had no idea that God knew a thought of hers till she had uttered it aloud.

634 – She related to God, in minute detail, all her troubles and sufferings, inquiring, as she proceeded, ‘Do you think that’s right, God?’ and closed by begging to be delivered from the evil, whatever it might be.

634 – but if He would give her a new place, and a good master and mistress, she could and would be good; and she expressly stipulated, that she would be good one day to show God how good she would be all of the time, when He should surround her with the right influences, and she should be delivered from the temptations that then so sorely beset her. But, alas! when night came, and she became conscious that she had yielded to all her temptations, and entirely failed of keeping her word with God, having prayed and promised one hour, and fallen into the sins of anger and profanity the next, the mortifying reflection weighed on her mind, and blunted her enjoyment.

634 – she was so happy and satisfied, that God was entirely forgotten. Why should her thoughts turn to Him, who was only known to her as a help in trouble? She had no trouble now; her every prayer had been answered in every minute particular.

701 – ‘shall I lie again to God? I have told him nothing but lies; and shall I speak again, and tell another lie to God?’ She could not; and now she began to wish for someone to speak to God for her. Then a space seemed opening between her and God, and she felt that if someone, who was worthy in the sight of heaven, would but plead for her in their own name, and not let God know it came from her, who was so unworthy, God might grant it.

723 – She contemplated the unapproachable barriers that existed between herself and the great of this world, as the world calls greatness,

726 – when she heard him spoken of, she said mentally—‘What! others know Jesus! I thought no one knew Jesus but me!’ and she felt a sort of jealousy, lest she should be robbed of her newly found treasure.

742 –  ‘Let others say what they will of the efficacy of prayer, I believe in it, and I shall pray. Thank God! Yes, I shall always pray,’

747 – God, you know how much I am distressed, for I have told you again and again. Now, God, help me get my son. If you were in trouble, as I am, and I could help you, as you can me, think I wouldn’t do it? Yes, God, you know I would do it.’ ‘Oh, God, you know I have no money, but you can make the people do for me, and you must make the people do for me. I will never give you peace till you do, God.’ ‘Oh, God, make the people hear me—don’t let them turn me off, without hearing and helping me.’

764 – he was dependent on the ‘world’s cold charity,’ and died in a poorhouse.

885 – the peculiar feeling of her hand—the bony hardness so just like mine? and yet I could not know she was my sister; and now I see she looked so like my mother.’ And Isabella wept, and not alone; Sophia wept, and the strong man, Michael, mingled his tears with theirs. ‘Oh Lord,’ inquired Isabella, ‘what is this slavery, that it can do such dreadful things? what evil can it not do?’

1017 – This trait in our American character has been frequently noticed by foreign travelers. One English lady remarks that she discovered, in course of conversation with a Southern married gentleman, that a colored girl slept in his bedroom, in which also was his wife; and when he saw that it occasioned some surprise, he remarked, ‘What would he do if he wanted a glass of water in the night?’

1132 – She said, ‘she never could find out that the rich had any religion. If I had been rich and accomplished, I could; for the rich could always find religion in the rich, and I could find it among the poor.

1167 – that every pedestrian in the world is not a vagabond, and that it is a dangerous thing to compel any one to receive that hospitality from the vicious and abandoned which they should have received from us,—as thousands can testify, who have thus been caught in the snares of the wicked.

1204 – when she was examining the Scriptures, she wished to hear them without comment; but if she employed adult persons to read them to her, and she asked them to read a passage over again, they invariably commenced to explain, by giving her their version of it; and in this way, they tried her feelings exceedingly. In consequence of this, she ceased to ask adult persons to read the Bible to her, and substituted children in their stead.

1255 – They appeared to her to be doing their utmost to agitate and excite the people, who were already too much excited; and when she had listened till her feelings would let her listen silently no longer, she arose and addressed the preachers. The following are specimens of her speech:— ‘Here you are talking about being “changed in the twinkling of an eye.” If the Lord should come, he’d change you to nothing! for there is nothing to you. ‘You seem to be expecting to go to some parlor away up somewhere, and when the wicked have been burnt, you are coming back to walk in triumph over their ashes—this is to be your New Jerusalem!! Now, I can’t see anything so very nice in that, coming back to such a muss as that will be, a world covered with the ashes of the wicked! Besides, if the Lord comes and burns—as you say he will—I am not going away; I am going to stay here and stand the fire, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! And Jesus will walk with me through the fire, and keep me from harm. Nothing belonging to God can burn, any more than God himself; such shall have no need to go away to escape the fire! No, I shall remain. Do you tell me that God’s children can’t stand fire?’ And her manner and tone spoke louder than words, saying, ‘It is absurd to think so!’

Narrative of Sojourner Truth
by Soujourner Truth, Olive Gilbert

Story of a Soul   Leave a comment


 

story_of_a_soul

27 – ‘How is it that God can be present in a small host?’ The little one said: ‘That is not surprising, God is all powerful.’ What does all powerful mean?’ ‘It means He can do what He wants!’

27 – “Here, my little sisters, choose; I’m giving you all this.” Celine stretched out her hand and took a little ball of wool that pleased her. After a moment’s reflection, I stretched out mine saying: “I choose all!” and I took the basket without further ceremony.

27 – I fear only one thing: to keep my own will…

28 – The little one will be all right too, for she wouldn’t tell a lie for all the gold in the world.

71,72 – When reading the accounts of the patriotic deeds of French heroines, especially the Venerable JOAN OF ARC, I had a great desire to imitate them; and it seemed I felt within me the same burning zeal with which they were animated, the same heavenly inspiration.

72 – I don’t count on my merits since I have none, but I trust in Him who is Virtue and Holiness.

74 – the eternal riches that one can so easily amass each day, and what a misfortune it was to pass by without so much as stretching forth one’s hand to take them.

77 – Had not Therese asked Him to take away her liberty, for her liberty frightened her?

84 – I have heard it said that one cannot meet a pure soul who loves more than a repentant soul; ah! how I would wish to give the lie to this statement!

85,86 – things it would have been better for me not to hear because vanity slips so easily into the heart. One lady said I had pretty hair; another, when she was leaving, believing she was not overheard, asked who the very beautiful young girl was. These words, all the more flattering since they were not spoken in my presence, left in my soul a pleasurable impression that showed me clearly how much I was filled with self-love.

87 – I knew how to speak only to Him; conversations with creatures, even pious conversations, fatigued my soul. I felt it was far more valuable to speak to God than to speak about Him, for there is so much self-love intermingled with spiritual conversations!

99 – I heard talk of a great criminal just condemned to death for some horrible crimes; everything pointed to the fact that he would die impenitent. I wanted at all costs to prevent him from falling into hell, and to attain my purpose I employed every means imaginable.

140 – Ah! poor women, how they are misunderstood! And yet they love God in much larger numbers than men do and during the Passion of Our Lord, women had more courage than the apostles since they braved the insults of the soldiers and dared to dry the adorable Face of Jesus. It is undoubtedly because of this that He allows misunderstanding to be their lot on earth, since HE chose it for Himself.

165 – “The Lord knows our weakness, that He is mindful that we are but dust and ashes.”

179 – Jesus has no need of books or teachers to instruct souls; He teaches without the noise of words.

188 – If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof.

189 – …for the same God declares He has no need to tell us when He is hungry did not fear to beg for a little water from the Samaritan woman. He was thirsty. But when He said: “Give me to drink, it was the love of His poor creature the Creator of the universe was seeking. He was thirsty for love.

209 – people want exceptions everywhere on earth, but God alone hasn’t the right to make any exceptions!

221 – when especially the devil tries to place before the eyes of my soul the faults of such and such a Sister who is less attractive to me, I hasten to search out her virtues, her good intentions; I tell myself that even if I did see her fall once, she could easily have won a great number of victories which she is hiding through humility, and that even what appears to me as a fault can very easily be an act of virtue because of her intention.

222 – for there is no artist who doesn’t love to receive praise for his works, and Jesus, the Artist of souls, is happy when we don’t stop at the exterior, but, penetrating into the inner sanctuary where He chooses to dwell, we admire its beauty.

228 – Truly, when one knows very well that never will the time one lends ever be returned, one would prefer to say: “I give it to you.” This would satisfy self-love, for giving is a more generous act than lending, and then we make the Sister feel we don’t depend on her services.

234 – If it happens that I think or say something that is pleasing to my Sisters, I find it very natural that they take it as a good that belongs to them. This thought belongs to the Holy Spirit and not to me since St. Paul says we cannot, without the Spirit of Love, give the name of “Father” to our Father in heaven.

234 – When they see a soul more enlightened than others, immediately they conclude that Jesus loves them less than this soul, and that they cannot be called to the same perfection. Since when has the Lord no longer the right to make use of one of His creatures to dispense necessary nourishment to souls whom He loves?

258 – “Give me a lever and a fulcrum and I will lift the world.” What Archimedes was not able to obtain, for his request was not directed by God and was only made from a material viewpoint, the saints have obtained in all its fullness. The Almighty has given them as fulcrum:HIMSELF ALONE; as lever: PRAYER which burns with a fire of love.

Story of a Soul – Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux
Translated by John Clarke, O.C.D.