Eugáene Emmanuel Lemercier

The Argonne, France

The Argonne, France

I am happy to see you so determinedly courageous. We have need of courage, or, rather, we have need of something difficult to obtain, which is neither patience nor overconfidence, but a certain belief in the order of things, the power to be able to say of every trial that it is well.

Our instinct for life makes us try to free ourselves from our obligations when they are too cruel, too oft-repeated, but, as I am happy to know, you have been able to see what Spinoza understood by human liberty. Inaccessible ideal, to which one must cling nevertheless. . . .

. . . Dear mother, these trials that we must accept are long, but notwithstanding their unchanging form one cannot call them monotonous, since they call upon courage which must be perpetually new. Let us unite together for God to grant us strength and resource in accepting everything. . . .

You know what I call religion: that which unites in man all his ideas of the universal and the eternal, those two forms of God. Religion, in the ordinary sense of the word, is but the binding together of certain moral and disciplinary formulas with the fine poetic imagery of the great biblical and Christian philosophies.

Do not let us offend any one. Looked at properly, religious formulas, however apart they may remain from my own habit of mind, seem to me praiseworthy and sympathetic in all that they contain of aspiration and beauty and form.

Dear mother whom I love, let us always hope: trials are legion, but beauty remains. Let us pray that we may long continue to contemplate it. . . .

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