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Letter of Lyautey - On the 24th of September 1876

A priest was going past. In this Paris, exhilarated and exalted by revolutions, dimmed and blinded by one hundred years of atheism, in which the crowd could no longer bear the public worship to the God who made it, nothing could distinguish this priest from any other priest who goes past. And like at any priest who went past, the crowd sneered and jeered; the workman knocked and hit him and the bourgeois shrugged their shoulders. His gait possessed something far more sacred than usual; he seemed, while engrossed in an intimate contemplation and cogitation, to go through men neither apprehending them nor seeing them. For it is, in his everyday cassock, on his chest, that God rested. Seeing this priest, distracted and oblivious of the earth because of his inner contemplation of God and with the crowd sneering at his passing by, my thoughts went by one degree to the order of the universe and fell on Man whom God endowed with a larger part of His Infinite Understanding.

Poet, philosopher, artist, no matter what you are, worshipper of the ideal; you whom, amongst His Creatures, God has favored of infinite aspirations and of Sursum, go past, my friend, go through the men who knock you and jeer at you while shrugging their shoulders. Don't be led astray by the ignorant and derisive crowd when you go past with dreaming eyes, engrossed, likewise, in the intimate contemplation, your soul riveted at an aim they don't see. And when you tread in the midst of their lives, like the priest in the middle of the road and that they point at you with their fingers. Go, just like him, he who no longer feels the earth. Don't ask yourself whether what you have in you, inside, is nothing because they don't grasp it; it is not below that one must look, not even at your sides, but up there; it is in you that God has deposited the spark of His Light. Similar to that priest who goes past, who could be knocked, bruised, and hurt! But what does all of this represent? And if these were sufferings they don't have, they would ignore the sublime pleasure, my friend. Go on hence, and go past. You know what you possess, so what's the importance of your being understood?

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