Excerpts, “The Holy Innocents” – Charles Péguy
I know man well. It is I who made him. He is a strange creature.
For in him operates that liberty which is the mystery of mysteries.
One can ask from him plenty of heart, plenty of charity, plenty of sacrifices.
He has plenty of faith and plenty of charity.
But what one can’t ask from him, damn it, is a little hope.
A little confidence, what, a little relaxation.
A little delay, a little abandonment.
A little pause. He is is always resisting.
Now you, my daughter night, you succeed, sometimes, you sometimes obtain just that
From rebellious man.
This gentleman’s consent to yield a little to me.
Just to relax, his poor tired limbs on a restful bed.
Just to relax, his aching heart on a restful bed.
For his head, above all, to be still. It goes on far too long, that head of his. And he calls it work when his head goes on like that.
Poor creature. I do not like, God says, the man who doesn’t sleep.
The kind who burns in his bed from anxiety and fever.
I am in favor, God says, of people examining their conscience, every evening.
It is good exercise.
But then, you mustn’t torture yourself to the point of losing your sleep.
At that hour the day is done and well done; there is no doing it over again.
There is no going back on it.
Those sins which trouble you so much, my boy, well, it was very simple.
My friend, you ought not to have committed them.
At the time when you could still not commit them.
At the present, it is over, go, sleep, tomorrow you will not begin them again.
But the man who goes to bed making plans for the morrow,
Is the one I do not like, God says.
The fool, does he even know what tomorrow will be like?
Does he even know what the weather will be?
He would do better to say his prayers. I have never refused tomorrow’s bread.