Father Albert Peyriguere

Father Albert Peyriguere Spiritual Direction

I love Father Peyriguere’s letter writing style.  The subtly of his straightforward letters deserves slow deliberate thought.  Matter of factually, he says things few are able to say and few are able to understand, and even less are able to live.

Yes, as you say, be full of gratitude.  Gratitude because you came out of the night, and also because you were plunged into it, abandoned to it, crushed by it.  Gratitude for everything in your life, since everything comes to you from God, and you know that God is your Father and Friend.  He wants only what is for our good.  He leads us along His own paths as far as He wants us to go.  And how good it is to let Him choose the paths along which He leads our steps toward Him

While praising and loving the “mysteries of God’s designs,”…you must not strain to see these designs.  There is only one thing worth-while: to surrender yourself and your fortune to His will with the blind and total trust of a little child in his father’s arms.  The child does not know where is father is taking him, and doesn’t even think of asking..

Yes, your duty of the moment is to be calm, peaceful, totally relaxed, and to question neither God nor yourself about what will happen next–and I mean by this not what will happen the day after tomorrow or tomorrow, but even today.

Welcome with great serenity the progressive return of light to your soul.  Do not rush at it greedily and impatiently.  Accept it as it comes, and in the measure which it is given to you.

Rest, rest, rest!  This is your duty for the time being.  Remember that in the life of the soul there is neither action nor inaction.  These words are meaningless.  There is simply acceptance of the will of the Father, and this is supreme activity.  Everything that does not come from Him, but that we have tried to wrest from Him by our desires and preferences, is agitation and,  therefore, useless.  

And so, for what has happened and what will happen, God be praised.

You want to hear about our work?  Yes, I accepted the help of a follower of Father de Foucauld, a sister who i now settled in Khenifra.  Do you know what I told her before she came?  Not to insist on having mass every day.  Father de Foucauld asks his followers to be ready to die of hunger.  And I, harsher still, imposed upon her a more terrible hunger than any other, a hunger for the Eucharist.  She is sure of mass and, therefore, of Communion only every two weeks.  She agreed.  To make up for this and to help her to hold fast, every time I go to Khenifra I tell her to repeat over and over again to the Eucharistic Christ in her chapel, “Just the same, if It were not here, you would not be there.”  And it’s true.  Without her, a little corner of the world would be empty of Christ.  Because of her it is full of Christ.

Disciple of Charles de Foucauld

Disciple of Charles de Foucauld


Trust and humility

The work is hard, I know, and the harder it is, the more stimulating it is.  You have understood that it will be fruitful in so far as it will not be your own but Christ’s and that means the Church’s.  And this will come about through obedience, the obedience of the spirit: seeing Christ in those who give us orders…this makes obedience natural since it means saying “yes” to Christ.

Avoid all tenseness in your relations with the Lord.  Let your action be contemplation.  This is possible if you see Christ in your work and in the people you meet, if you welcome Christ and help Him to grow.

May I confess that it is when my dispensary is in full swing that I can best contemplate?  “I was sick and you cared for me,” so in suffering flesh of these sick ones I have the overwhelming honor and joy of touching the flesh of Christ.  I call that an experience of “the real presence”.

And you, too, can welcome the Christ Child in these little ones entrusted to you.  Go to the Lord with great simplicity, lucidity, and self-control—no exaltation.  Which does not mean that if, at certain moments, Our Lord wants to “ravish” us, we haven’t the right to feel how wonderful this is.  –Father Albert Peyriguere ‘Voice From the Desert’

Father’s word possess subtle nuances, a saturation of applied wisdom, experience proving spiritually fruitful.  There is a presence within.  I marked in bold the words I took deepest to heart–no exaltation.  Internally, emotionally, a man of extremes, I trend to exaltation in worship and deed.  It is advice staunchly provided by another.  This morning I am bound for mass at Jennings, a wonderful place of Catholic faith being applied to caring and tendering for men and women in a similar manner as Father Peyriguere brought to the world, and his spiritual directee provided for children.

Hold on, plans have changed, Jennings mass begrudgingly put off to another morning.  I just received a telephone call from the Hospice, my presence is requested for a vigil, a sobering call to sit bedside with a man of ninety-one years experiencing final moments due to congestive heart failure.  Within lucidity, simplicity, and self-control, I feel blessed.  Matters are starting to go into full swing with the Hospice.

Jennings Chapel's tabernacle, taken with my phone.

Jennings Chapel’s tabernacle, taken with my phone.




Yes, be more simple with God. We are never simple enough, never childlike enough with Him. When you are before Him, think of Him only, not at all of what comes to you from Him or through Him. Think of Him only, not of the insight He gives you about Himself, not of the feelings that through Him you have for Him—think of Him alone. I was going to say, be so busy looking for Him and loving Him that you do not even notice that you are looking at Him and loving Him, that you do not know in what way you are looking at Him and loving Him.  –Father Albert Peyriguere ‘Voice from the Desert’

Disciple of Charles de Foucauld

Disciple of Charles de Foucauld


Reordering a personal and spiritual life

You know that, though your spiritual center of gravity has been displaced, in your new circumstances you have the same solid foundation.  There is a way of fusing contemplation and action so that all becomes contemplation, an awareness of the presence of God, strengthened by a ceaseless prayer of oblation.  To be at the Lord’s disposal, to surrender to Him, ready to do whatever He wants, to give oneself over and over again, and to be accepted by Him often for unrewarding work with people, this is no small thing and it throws one still more completely into Our Lord’s arms.

What an incentive this is to reduce our ego in order to let Christ grow and work in us.  People have, as it were, an antenna to pick up the waves of Christ in us.  But to be picked up, the waves must be there.  Yes, I will pray a great deal for the new apostolate to which you are called by the Church, that is, by Christ. 

…at last you have found Christ.  It is in the darkness, in the darkness of our whole selves—the night of St John of the Cross—that He wants to be sought and found.  But often we do not look for Him there, because it is ourselves that we are seeking in Him.

“Where were you, O Christ, while I was desperately struggling to hold on to you?”  “I was near you, my child.  If I had not helped you, you would have lost me, I would no longer be yours…”  This is a dialogue between Jesus and St Catherine of Siena.  She had lived through a temptation in which she felt that no trace of Christ remained in her.

–Random words from two letters of Father Albert Peyriguere in his book ‘Voice From the Desert’

I was thinking about the lack of reading, writing and time I am being allowed to dedicate to the contemplative life.  It has been seriously reduced.  I decipher it as the will of God.  I went to Father Peyriguere’s letters in regards to the fact he went off to the desert to follow Charles de Foucauld, desiring to live the life of a desert hermit, only to experience the life of a missionary caregiver to the local Berbers.  Daily, he was inundated with the poor, sick, and needy demanding his time and attention.  He found no time for the life of a desert hermit.  The way he wanted to approach God–good, moral, and righteous–was not what God asked from him.  I laughed during today’s Gospel reading.  Father Roger’s foreign tongue accenting perfectly the question posed by the Sons of Thunder, the blessed apostle brothers James and John, two of my favorites, the saint of my mother’s country Spain and the contemplative mystic.   Hearing their words to Our Lord, the way Father Roger read it, I laughed, thinking they did not really say that did they?  Here is the demand: “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”  It still makes me laugh.  Ohh, how we must make God laugh, and frustrate Him.  My reflections, during mass, moved to my encounter with Father Reymann, one of his parishioners, and his bulldog in Wellington, Ohio.  It dawned on me what an enlightening moment God presented.  The elder priest, the oldest in the Cleveland diocese, came at me in such a friendly, welcoming comical manner he disarmed me, allowing me to be a small little man of no consequence.  He just kept talking.  I did not have to be anything.  I did not have to act like a Church scholar, a writer, a contemplative, a man discerning a religious vocation, the possibilities existing through the Hospice, nothing.  I did not have to be anything special at all.  The reality struck me as we talked, and I found myself playing a little with the situation.  He showed me the small hidden chapel he created behind the main sanctuary.  I asked him if he celebrated daily mass here.  He said yes.  I then asked awkwardly, due to the fact there was very limited seating, if the public was invited.  He looked at me as if I was mentally deranged, remarking: ‘You ask some really odd questions.  Of course the public is invited.  What do you think I lock the doors, celebrate mass by myself, not allowing anyone else to join me?’  I could only laugh which in reflection was just about the first moment his bulldog took a running start before throwing himself into my back with both of his front paws.  Throughout the splendid fellowship, I made a vow to remain simple, not to convey in the slightest regard a position of being knowledgeable about faith, hope, or charity.  The reason I brought up the Shrine was the fact he asked me what parish I belonged to.  The overall message I am presenting is the living of a hidden life of smallness, the true being of who I am in the eyes of God, is not a clever option amongst many options chosen by a man of brilliance.  I do not become small through my magnificence.  I do not educate my way into spiritual poverty.  It is a ‘becoming’ through purification, illumination, and on into unification.  Mass and adoration has become the centering point of my efforts, the time of transformation.  Must run off to work, my time is limited.  It will be even more limited once the Hospice calls.  I eagerly wait upon the challenge.

Father Reymann J


Letter reading

Father Albert Peyriguere is an inspiring letter writer of spiritual direction. Let us read one of his letters.

September 17, 1949

Another great loss in your life, another death. Our answer to God must always be the same as Job: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord”.

You are probably home again after taking care of your motherless little nephews. The school year will soon start, and you will be engaged in humble duties which require obedience only and no initiative; you will be nothing, just an insignificant little wheel. Oh! My dear child, it is so good to be nothing in men’s eyes, for then we are deeply imbedded in the truth, and we can harbor no illusions about ourselves. The attentions we receive can no longer give us swollen heads. Whether we are in an important or in a humble position, we are still nothing before God—it is easier to realize this when we are at the bottom,

And it is when we know ourselves to be “nothing” before God that we touch His heart. So many apostolic works are lasting and fruitful more because of the humble work of those at the bottom of the ladder than because of the outpourings of brains and activity from the top.

God first placed you at the top, but now wants to bury you in the foundations. Try to love being “nothing,” and don’t even ask if you can be more.

How mysterious are God’s plans that allows so many trials to overwhelm those who are dear to you. Yet they are still to be adored. God knows where your relatives are going along these rough roads, and also where you are going. And so, close your eyes, put your hand in His, and go on, sorrowfully but always with trust and love.

Disciple of Charles de Foucauld

Disciple of Charles de Foucauld


Many words random

It is a great joy to me to learn from your letter that you are sailing over calm waters.  Calm waters can also be very deep, and under the surface the swells are moving and they carry the soul along without agitation, without the jolts, the ups and downs, the worries which bring exhaustion and no progress…..

I want to keep intact your predilection for going to Christ as the Savior.  Do not enjoy Christ as if He were solely your own.  He will be yours as you let Him radiate through you…Oh!  how much of a savior was the Christ of the hidden life at Nazareth, and is not the Christ of the Eucharist the Christ of the hidden life now? 

Let Him relive His redemptive work in you through the mysteries of the liturgy.  Open wide your heart to His yearning for souls.  Be the hearth from which He radiates.  Let your whole spiritual life center upon the Eucharist….

I live the kind of life that I did not want.  But wasn’t Christ of Nazareth in the world?  He lived His hidden life and the turmoil of His work, His comings and goings, the wearying and meaningless gossip of a small village, His door always open…

Oh! how good it is that we should not choose our manner of serving the Lord, but that he should choose!  —Father Albert Peyriguere

And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.  And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country.  And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.  And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.  And he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth; and they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”  And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did at Caper’na-um, do here also in your own country.'” And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country.  But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Eli’jah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; and Eli’jah was sent to none of them but only to Zar’ephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.  And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Eli’sha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Na’aman the Syrian.”  When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath.  And they rose up and put him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong.  But passing through the midst of them he went away.  Luke chapter 4

And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.  Then the word of the LORD came to him, “Arise, go to Zar’ephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.”  So he arose and went to Zar’ephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.”  And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”  And she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a cruse; and now, I am gathering a couple of sticks, that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”  And Eli’jah said to her, “Fear not; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make for yourself and your son.  For thus says the LORD the God of Israel, ‘The jar of meal shall not be spent, and the cruse of oil shall not fail, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'”  And she went and did as Eli’jah said; and she, and he, and her household ate for many days.  The jar of meal was not spent, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD which he spoke by Eli’jah.  After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill; and his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him.  And she said to Eli’jah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to cause the death of my son!”  And he said to her, “Give me your son.” And he took him from her bosom, and carried him up into the upper chamber, where he lodged, and laid him upon his own bed.  And he cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, hast thou brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?”  Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this child’s soul come into him again.”  And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Eli’jah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.  And Eli’jah took the child, and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house, and delivered him to his mother; and Eli’jah said, “See, your son lives.”  And the woman said to Eli’jah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.”  –1 Kings chapter 17.

Na’aman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper…when Eli’sha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you rent your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.”  So Na’aman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the door of Eli’sha’s house.  And Eli’sha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.”  But Na’aman was angry, and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and cure the leper.  Are not Aba’na and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.  But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, if the prophet had commanded you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much rather, then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”  So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.  Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him; and he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.”  But he said, “As the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will receive none.”  2 Kings chapter 5.

Returning to the land of familiarity, banality, the commonplace,
Within the demand of identity, to have one’s way,
An individual amongst individuals, being somebody, staking claim, creating one’s own way,
Having things one’s way, exterior, going out amongst the horde intent upon being recognized as being right, a multitude of rationalization and justification,
Working in the minds of others, subtly exercising compliance to free will, manipulating, plotting in order to achieve ordinariness, talking, scheming, and being the establishing of a neighborhood of man, rage smartly amongst the mob,
Nazareth rejected Christ.
Extraordinary, the spiritual life sailing upon a sea of calmness,
Darkly driven by the winds of mystery,
Still waters, still mind, behavior in kind,
The astonishing meditates hidden,
Prayer reposing upon Christ’s breast,
The Eucharist exposed a daily standard,
Chosen while mystified, a life of one’s undoing, being done onto,
I live the life I did not want,
The unique quietly acquiescing,
Healed, called into deeper being by ways I did not want,
Purity, luminescence unseen,
I did not want and came into being,
I will receive none, seeking now to give,
Now a friend in servitude,
Identity destroyed, a severe decreasing, a severe increasing,
Let me now go off to properly die.

Sublime Growth

Sublime Growth


The emergence of Christ

I was thinking about the idea of power within powerlessness, strength within surrendering.  A training idea brought forth by the Hospice of Western Reserve made an impression upon me, relatable through my experience with my father in his passing and incapacitating multi-year struggle with invalidity.  A patient suffers from a loss of control.  The words of Shakespeare pronounce with veracity: “Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”  Medical authorities impose upon the patient: regimenting schedule, activities, and even the most private of moments is intruded upon.  For many, familial support causes complications and a further loss of control, a complete intrusion of privacy.  Within the overwhelming reality of dying, the patient experiences a total lack of control.  Nothing they think or desire matters.  In spirit, they are rendered destitute and alone.  A basic necessity in establishing and maintaining mental vigor for the patient is to know they have control.  Some aspect of their life belongs solely to their thoughts and voice.  It was stressed this is where a volunteer can prove crucial.  If I walk into a room and the television is blaring, I should not assume control, even politely asking the patient if he could turn the TV down.  It just may be the patient feels so helpless, alone, and lacking control that the television being loud is their rebellion to everything happening to them.  It is spiritual.  Within the loneliness and overwhelming struggles of life we are rendered powerless, yet to the highest degree we possess the ultimate power of determining eternity.  It was a marvelous revelation as I sat being instructed in order to bring the Rosary to the Hospice of the Western Reserve.  A great gift I can offer the patient is a sense of empowerment; putting aside my intentions, judgments, and assumptions, while being fully present to their thoughts and needs.  Truly presenting Christ to them, not my interpretations, nor my perceived clever thoughts needing to define Christ.  Allow the patient to bring Christ into his heart, soul and mind himself.  Allow the patient to reveal his own faith, hope, and charity; to expand the virtues through his own efforts and spiritual exercises.  Simply and fully, be there in mind, body, and spirit, absolutely open and inviting, asking nothing from the patient.

It is most important that, when you choose to sacrifice yourself, you see the positive side of renunciation, rather than the negative.  Instead of speaking of annihilation of self, speak of the coming of Christ in you, the growing of Christ in you.  It is more uplifting and results in a devotion which is less tense and less vulnerable to pride, a devotion which is sunnier, more gracious and more understanding of others.  –Father Albert Peyriguere ‘Voice from the Desert’

Disciple of Charles de Foucauld

Disciple of Charles de Foucauld