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Letter IV.—Practice of Abandonment.

To Sister Marie-Henriette de Bousmard, on the general practice of abandonment.

You are quite right, my dear daughter, to say what you do and it was the favourite maxim of St. J.F. de Chantal, “Not so much talk, so much science, nor so many writings, but more good practice.” In fact with regard to those souls who have acquired the habit of avoiding all deliberate faults, and of fulfilling faithfully all the duties of their state, all perfection is contained in the exercise of a continual resignation to the will of God in all things, of a complete abandonment to all the arrangements of divine Providence whether exterior or interior, at present or in the future. A single “fiat,” or, as St. Francis of Sales said, “Yes, my heavenly Father, yes, always yes,” said and reiterated by the habitual disposition of the heart without even the necessity of pronouncing it interiorly, is the short and straight path to the highest perfection, because it is a continual union with the holy and adorable will of God.

To arrive so far it is not necessary to make a great deal of fuss, only two things are necessary: 1st, To be profoundly persuaded that nothing takes place in this world either spiritually or physically, that God does not will, or at least, permit; therefore we ought no less to submit to the permissions of God in things that do not depend upon us, than to His absolute will.

2nd, Believe firmly that everything that God wills or permits will, according to the purpose of an all-powerful and paternal Providence, turn always to the advantage of those who practise this submission. Resting on this two-fold assurance let us remain firm and immovable in our adhesion to all that God pleases to ordain in our regard. Let us acquiesce in advance in a spirit of humility, love and sacrifice, to all the imaginable decrees of His providence, let us assure Him that we shall be satisfied with all that contents Him. It is not always possible for us, doubtless, to feel this satisfaction in the inferior part of our soul, but we will, at least, keep it in the higher part of the spirit, in that highest point of the will, as St. Francis of Sales puts it; it will then be all the more meritorious.

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