Marie Libermann

  • Fr. Libermann's spirituality begins by experiencing God's love and responding to that love with great trust and abandonment to God's will. In the early letters to Marie his focus is on her relationship with Mary, the Mother of the Lord, who "loves you so much that she has wanted to bear her name, so that everyone will know to whom you belong." Marie has three mothers - her mother, godmother (with whom she lives) and Mary, the Lord's mother, who is so great and so lovable. She "will take care of you, as she has taken care of her dear Child Jesus, for you also are her dear child!"
  • Marie is to bring all that is troubling her to this sweetest of mothers. "Tell her all your troubles in all simplicity, show her the wounds of your heart, with tears reveal to her that you are suffering, and ask her to cure you. When a small child falls and hurts herself, she runs to her mother crying she shows her the place where it hurts; she does not even have to ask her mother to cure her; she knows beforehand that her good mother will do all she can to console her. If she is covered with mud, mother washes and cleans her. Act in the same way with Mary and she will give you great help and consolation."
  • Marie, at the age of thirteen, was making her first Holy Communion and had a lot of anxiety and fearful of offending God and doing wrong. As she was advised to trust in Mary as an understanding and loving mother, so now, her godfather advises her to "Go to Jesus with confidence; you love Him and He loves you. What risks are you taking and what have you to fear? Don't entertain such unreasonable thoughts that inspire fear. Do you want to fear Him who loves you to excess, even with a sort of folly? Yes, with the folly of the Cross! He died for you. He desires so ardently to unite your soul to Himself that He wants to become the food of your poor soul."
  • Marie, at the age of fifteen has set her sights on being a saint. But she is troubled by her faults and weakness. The joy and peace of the saints eludes her. Her godfather encourages her: "You have a right to such joy and peace, for you are a child of God, beloved by Jesus and Mary; it is not proper for you to be sad and to grieve. If you find that you are poor in virtues in comparison with the saints, do your best to reach their level. Your aims must be as high as that; and you will be successful, my dear child, if you are faithful. A newborn baby does not grow immediately to adulthood. A soul that enters the road of holiness, likewise, does not reach the highest level at once. First, be a child of God, then become an adolescent, and finally reach maturity. Be faithful and Jesus will grant you this grace."
  • Marie, aged eighteen, was troubled by many temptations. She turned to her godfather for insight and advice. He replied, "You must not be surprised if your heart has emotions that are opposed to the virtue which you want to possess. The senses and the imagination are easily taken by surprise by the things that surround them ... Trouble and unruly activity take place in the imagination." Fr. Libermann proposed four rules to help:

• Avoid giving in to anxiety and do not plague your mind at the approach of temptation
• Seek to distract your mind, avoid sadness, discouragement
• Do not entertain excessive fears of being attacked by temptation
• Have a profound, filial and constant confidence in Jesus.

  • Marie had an active imagination that led her in many directions. Fr. Libermann's remedy, "Don't worry about all those thoughts that flit through your mind. God knows your heart. Give it entirely to Him and don't worry if your imagination wants to remain on earth. ... Be content with raising your heart to God and making some acts of love, humility, sacrifice, and submission in all things to His good pleasure. But make these acts rather with the heart than with the mind, and don't worry about the rest."