To Geoffrey, of Lisieux
He grieves at his having abandoned his purpose to enter the religious life and returned to the world. He exhorts him to be wise again.
I. I am grieved for you, my son Geoffrey, I am grieved for you. And not without reason. For who would not grieve that the flower of your youth, which, amid the joy of angels, you offered unimpaired to God for the odour of a sweet smell (Phil. iv.18), should now be trampled under the feet of devils, stained by the filthiness of vice and the uncleanness of the world? How can you, who once wast called by God, follow the devil who calls you back? How is it that you, whom Christ began to draw after Himself, have suddenly withdrawn your foot from the very threshold of glory? In you I now have proof of the truth of the Lord's word, when He said: A man's foes shall be they of his own household (S. Matt. x.36). Your friends and kinsfolk have approached and stood against you. They have called you back into the jaws of the lion, and have placed you once more in the gates of death. They have placed you in dark places, like the dead of this world; and now it is a matter for little surprise that you are descending into the belly of hell, which is hasting to swallow you up, and to give you over as a prey to be devoured by those who roar in their hunger.
2. Return, I pray you; return before the deep swallow thee up and the pit shut her mouth upon thee (Ps. lxix.16); before you sink whence you shall never more rise; before you be bound hand and foot and cast into outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (S. Matt. xxii.13); before you be thrust down to the place of darkness and covered with the gloom of death. Perhaps you blush to return, because you gave way for an hour. Blush, indeed, for your flight, but do not blush to return to the battle after your flight, and to fight again. The fight is not over yet. Not yet have the opposing lines drawn off from each other. Victory is still in your power. If you will, we are unwilling to conquer without you, and we do not grudge to you your share of glory. I will even gladly come to meet you and gladly welcome you with open arms, saying: It is meet that we should make merry and be glad; for this thy brother was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found (S. Luke xv.32).