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SECTION III.—The Generosity of God.

The more God seems to despoil the soul that is in the state of abandonment, the more generous are His gifts.

Let us continue to advance in the knowledge of the divine action and of its loving deceptions. That which it withdraws from the perception, it bestows incognito, as it were, on the goodwill. It never allows it to want for anything. It is as if someone who had maintained a friend by bounties bestowed personally upon him, should suddenly, for the welfare of this same friend, pretend that he could no longer oblige him, yet continues to assist him without making himself known. The friend, not suspecting any stratagem in this mystery of love, feels hurt, and entertains all sorts of ideas and criticisms on the conduct, of his benefactor.

When, however, the mystery begins to be revealed, God knows what different feelings arise in the soul; joy, tenderness, gratitude, love, confusion and admiration; followed by an increase of zeal for, and attachment to the benefactor. And this trial will be the means of strengthening the soul, and accustoming it to similar surprises.

The application is easy. With God, the more one seems to lose the more one gains. The more He strikes off of what is natural, the more He gives of what is supernatural. He is loved at first for His gifts, but when these are no longer perceptible He is at last loved for Himself. It is by the apparent withdrawal of these sensible gifts that He prepares the way for that great gift which is the most precious and the most extensive of all, since it embraces all others. Souls which have once for all submitted themselves to the divine action, ought to interpret everything favourably. Yes, everything! even the loss of the most excellent directors, and the want of confidence they cannot help feeling in those who offer themselves for that post.

In truth those guides who, of their own accord, run after souls, deserve to be distrusted. Those who are truly inspired by the spirit of God do not, as a rule, show so much eagerness and self sufficiency. They do not come forward until they are appealed to, and even then they proceed with caution. May the soul that has given itself entirely to God pass without fear through all these trials without losing its balance. Provided it is faithful to the divine action, this all-powerful action can produce marvels in it in spite of every obstacle.

God and the soul work in common, and the success of the work depends entirely on the divine Workman, and can only be spoilt if the soul prove unfaithful. When the soul is well, all is well, 79because what is from God, that is to say, His part and His action are, as it were, the counterpoise of the fidelity of the soul. It is the best part of the work, which is done something like beautiful tapestry, stitch by stitch from the wrong side. The worker employed on it sees only the stitch he is making, and the needle with which he makes it, while all the stitches combined form magnificent figures which do not show until, every part being complete, the right side is turned outwards. All the beauty and perfection of the work remain in obscurity during its progress. It is the same with the soul that has abandoned itself to God; it has eyes only for Him and for its duty. The performance of this duty is, at each moment, but an imperceptible stitch added to the work, and yet with these stitches God performs wonders of which He sometimes allows a glimpse to be seen, but which will not be visible in their entirety till revealed on the great day of eternity. How full of goodness and wisdom is the guidance of God! He has so entirely kept for His own grace, and His own action, all that is admirable, great, exalted and sublime; and so completely left to our souls, with the aid of grace, all that is little, light and easy, that there is no one in the world who cannot easily reach a most eminent degree of perfection in accomplishing lovingly the most ordinary and obscure duties.

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