Monsieur Jean-Jacque Olier

Monsieur Olier, letter writer extraordinaire

I seem to see Jesus and Mary united as one, Who seem but one person, and seem to rejoice in their innocent, pure and divine love for all eternity. I cannot express this mutual love which transmits and carries them one to the other. Alas! It is a love which alone is capable of being a paradise. So the kiss, which is spoken of in the Canticles, is accomplished: the Bride rejoices in her request, she confesses that the Spouse had introduced her to his cellar; for she has her fill of love and its delights from the Spouse. So well does she captivate him since letting himself go to her, and allowing her to find him that she no longer wants to leave him, to the point until she has entered heaven. She is no longer troubled about asking where he rests at midday, since she rejoices in him in her place of glory. It is there where she is all clothed with the sun, and she appears to be no longer in herself, but in Jesus Christ, in Whom she is wholly transformed in the beautiful day of eternity. Be faithful in this life to losing yourself in her, and you will with her, be lost in Jesus Christ for time and eternity. 


‘Absent souls’ what does that mean?

Monsieur Olier speaks accurately to my sensibility, expanding and deepening my way of knowing.  The following paragraph from one of his letters introduces a new insight regarding the discerning of a small still voice. Silent in nature, loving in captivation, faith and hope are properly bolstered within an absent soul listening sincerely to the beating of his heart, keenly aware,  at all times,  of the presence of God.

Is it well known that absent souls see each other in God and speak about His goodness and love? How many times do you believe that the soul of Mary was present to the absent Jesus, and how Jesus spoke to His Mother though absent in body, but divinely present to Him?   – – Monsieur Olier

Tonight, I will spend a couple hours after work with a Hospice patient. I went out of my way, insisting upon the time.  The Hospice covers the hours through the night with in-house staff, asking for volunteers in this case only from eight AM to eight PM. Her sister and niece approved my late night visit, granting permission for a prayer vigil. The women is ninety-seven, single throughout her life, the oldest of eight siblings. Her younger sister talked extensively about her older caretaking sister. The elder, controlling and opinionated, lorded over her siblings and their children throughout her life. The younger sister loved her older sister, speaking of her wisdom and strength, yet stressing her sister was an angry,  hot-tempered woman, difficult to endure often. Recently, before the elder sister became unresponsive, she remarked to her younger sister,  ‘You must hate me for the things I have said and done’.  Her sister responded, ‘Oh no!  I forgive you for everything’.  The elder demanded more of an answer,  ‘Why would you forgive me? I was a bitch and I knew it. I wanted you to despise me.’  ‘You were my sister. You always watched over me. I love you’. The words moved me, however looking at my patient, eyes wide open, I was shocked by the severity of her anger. Her sister was causing great unrest within her. She wanted to say something. She wanted to argue and fight. She wanted to shut her sister up. I was positive of the fact.  I knew I had to be alone with her, to speak to her about releasing the immense wrath filling her heart. I knew she must hear me recite a Rosary and sing the Divine Mercy chaplet. Tonight will be our time together. She is a new soul I am attaching to within love and prayer. This is a special one. We need one another.


Saint Joseph: Keeper of Divine Silence

There the Holy Family was, a paradise on earth, endless delights in this place of grief.  It was a glory already begun in the vileness, abjection and lowliness of  life.  Jesus, I am not surprised You remained thirty whole years in this house without leaving St. Joseph.  I am not surprised that You are inseparable from his person.  His house alone is a paradise for You and his house is for You the bosom of Your Father from whom You are inseparable and in whom You take Your eternal delights.  Outside this house, You find only deadly objects, only sinners, those unfortunate causes of Your death!  Jesus, You saw in Joseph the eternal Father as his Father and the Most Blessed Virgin considered in His person the same eternal Father of whom she was the bride.  –Monsieur Jean Jacque Olier


“Not only physically, but in his heart as well, Joseph reveals to us the secret of a humanity which dwells in the presence of mystery and is open to that mystery at every moment of everyday life. In Joseph, faith is not separated from action. His faith had a decisive effect on his actions. Paradoxically, it was by acting, by carrying out his responsibilities, that he stepped aside and left God free to act, placing no obstacles in his way. Joseph is a ‘just man’ (Mt 1:19) because his existence is ‘ad-justed’ to the word of God….establish a sort of spiritual conversation with St Joseph, so that he may help us live to the full this great mystery of faith.”  Pope Benedict

The Gospel of Matthew 1:16-25

And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. So all the generations, from Abraham to David, are fourteen generations. And from David to the transmigration of Babylon, are fourteen generations: and from the transmigration of Babylon to Christ are fourteen generations. Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name JESUS. For he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. And Joseph rising up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife. And he knew her not till she brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.


Regarding Mary fair

I adore You, O my Divine Jesus, dwelling and living in the Most Blessed Virgin.
I adore the greatness and the perfections with which  Her soul is adorned.
I adore Your reign in Her and the absolute power which animates her whole being.
I adore Your life, which fills and animates Her heart and all Her faculties.
I adore the abundance of the gifts, the fullness of the virtues, and the fruitfulness of the graces you place in Her for the whole Church.
Divine Jesus, reign in and through Her on us forever.
Divine Lord, Your power is worthy to be adored, Your yoke and reign are always sweet, but it is never sweeter than under this throne of love.
How willingly we come to the feet of this holy tabernacle to render You our duties, and pray that You will destroy in us what is opposed to Your reign and life!
Divine Jesus, vivify our hearts; don’t accept in us any other life than Yours; destroy and annihilate all that is contrary to it..  Act in us like You do in Mary; that You alone live there and let all that is mortal be absorbed in Your life.
Grant that the virtues of Your spirit be in us as in Her, and  by Her same virtue all that comes from the corruption of the flesh be destroyed and annihilated in us.
What an admirable communion of the spirit, life and virtues of Jesus in Your soul, O my divine Mother! To me You are but one with Jesus, so much is He living in You, and You  consumed in Him.
Adorable model of the communion of all Christians, would to God that Your divine remembrance would fill our soul with its holy abundance, and with the fullness of His life with which  He vivifies You, O divine Mistress!
Divine Jesus, live in us through Your Mother, and give us the fullness of your gifts and holy graces, so as to be one with You and with Your dearest Mother.

Monsieur Jean Jacques Olier


Spiritual direction according to Monsieur Olier

“Annihilate yourself before God, abide in patience, and await in peace the voice of your Master, who said to His disciples ‘in patientia vestra possidebitis animas vestras’ (Within patience, you possess your soul).  It will not be long before He speaks; but permit Him to speak, and let the humble sentiment of your heart, which sees itself so far removed from the perfect virtues of the Order to which you aspire, make you tremble for fear of being promoted without being as firmly established as your Divine Master desires you to be in everything which He requires of you.  Labour on, therefore, with courage…All the good and all the benediction of your future life depend on the holy dispositions with which you approach your ordination (lay vocation), and on your obedience to the law of the Divine Master.  He never willingly accepts the services of one who enters His house by force, and who has not waited for His election and vocation with reverence, humility, and patience.”


So, too, in their public disputations he bade them argue, not to display their knowledge, but simply to ascertain the truth…To dispute from a motive of vanity, he said, was to pledge ourselves never to yield.  It was to act the part of Lucifer, who would be content with nothing short of the highest throne in heaven.  To confess one’s own ignorance and acknowledge another s ability, as it was the part of true candor and humility, so it was torture to the proud.  In the schools let them keep before their eyes, and adore in their hearts, Jesus Christ in the midst of the doctors.  Although He had in Himself all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, yet He was found listening and asking questions.  In imitation of this profound humility on the part of the Son of God, they were to beware of playing the master in their disputations, but comport themselves as to appear to be rather seeking to be enlightened than instructing and enlightening others.   –Edward Healy Thompson, M.A.”The life of Jean-Jacques Olier: Founder of the Seminary of St. Sulpice”



Monsieur Olier friend to St Francis de Sales

Jesus that does in Mary dwell
Be in thy servants’ hearts as well,
In the spirit of thy holiness,
In the fullness of thy force and stress,
In the very ways that thy life goes
And virtues that thy pattern shows,
In the sharing of thy mysteries;
And every power in us that is
Against thy power put under feet
In the Holy Ghost the Paraclete
To the Glory of the Father. Amen

Monsieur Olier prayer

It was during the illness he had in., at the close of the mission of 1637, that Monsieur Jean-Jacques eyes began to be opened, and he was enabled to perceive how much of self-love mixed itself up with everything he did. The sight of what he was filled him with dismay, and he became possessed with an intense desire of being wholly united with God, so that he cared not what might befall him if only he could attain to this blessed state. His soul was assailed with foul, afflicting thoughts, and often during the day he felt moved to repeat those words of the royal Psalmist:”Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me…O life divine! When shall I live only for God?”…God would raise him to a still higher degree of sanctity; He would empty him entirely of self, and form within him the life of His dear Son; and to this end He subjected him to humiliations the most painful to pride and self-love. He withdrew from him, not only those spiritual gifts for which he had been conspicuous, but the exercise of his natural powers and faculties. At times he lost the use of his bodily limbs; they would suddenly refuse to obey the motions of his will, as though God would show him by actual experience that we live and move only in Him. Sometimes he trembled and staggered as he walked, at others he was unable to put one foot before another….His mind was at the same time affected with a similar torpidity: his memory and understanding failed him; often he knew neither what he said nor what was said to him; he felt like a deaf man in a crowd, neither hearing nor comprehending what was going on around him. He would have a clear perception of what he was about to express, and would have begun to put his thought into words, when in an instant it would pass from him, and he no longer recollected what it had been in his mind to say; and this, not merely on subjects of high import, but in the commonest things, and while in easy converse with a friend. He seemed also to have forgotten the art of writing, and would be hours accomplishing three or four lines, and those all awry. He would suddenly forget where he was going, and the names of the persons he wished to see; he would lose his way in the streets, so that he was obliged to be always accompanied by a servant. His mother, seeing him in this miserable state, told people they would take him for an idiot or a fool; while he, on his part, offered himself to God to deprive him altogether of his senses if such were His holy will. –Edward Healy Thompson, M.A.”The life of Jean-Jacques Olier: Founder of the Seminary of St. Sulpice”



The deeper and hidden Saint Joseph


…we acquire a conviction: Mary would want her husband to be better known. She told St Teresa how her devotion to Joseph was a source of joy for her. She expresses herself in the same way to Monsieur Olier: ‘The Most Blessed Virgin gave me this great saint as a patron Saint, assuring me that he was the protector of hidden souls and adding these words about him:’I have nothing dearer to me in heaven and on earth next to my son….Joseph is a saint God has wished to keep hidden during his life and of whom he has reserved the inner preoccupations for himself alone, without sharing them with the external cares of the Church, a saint that God has manifested in the bottom of hearts and for whom he himself has inspired veneration in souls.’ – – Andrew Doze ‘Saint Joseph Shadow of the Father’