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Letter V.—Means of Acquiring this Practice.

On the means of acquiring abandonment.

You speak truly, my dear Sister, and it is indeed the Spirit of God who inspired your remark; one of the greatest obstacles to the reign of the divine Spirit in our hearts is our own miserable nature which recoils from the sort of captivity and death with which the holy abandonment enables us to purchase a share in the liberty and life of God.

But this same Spirit who has made you so well understand the evil, will assist you to apply a remedy for it. In a few words this is what you ought to do to arrive at pure love, and total abandonment. 1st, You must desire it ardently, and energetically will to acquire it, no matter at what cost. 2nd, Believe firmly and often say to God that it is absolutely impossible for you, left to yourself, to acquire such perfect dispositions, but that grace will make everything easy, that you hope for this grace through His mercy, and ask for it by and through Jesus Christ.

3rd, Humble yourself quietly and peacefully for as long as you are kept back from this holy captivity; do not be discouraged, but, on the contrary, protest to God that you are awaiting with confidence the moment when it shall please Him to grant you this decisive grace which will make you die to yourself to live a new life in Him, a life hidden with Jesus Christ our Saviour.

4th, If you are submissive to the inspirations of the Spirit of God you will beware of making your progress depend on the vividness and sensible sweetness of interior impressions. This divine Spirit on the contrary will make you set more value on operations that are almost imperceptible, because the more subtle and profound they are and the more withdrawn from the senses, the more divine they become. Then it is that you become more entirely for God, because you will tend to Him with your whole being and with all your powers, uniting yourself to Him without particularising anything, as every being seeks its centre. Be persuaded besides that you still have a great way to go. You will have to work and to grow for a long time, but concerning this as about all other things you ought to say “Oh my God, Your holy and most amiable will shall always be the exact measure of my desires however holy, just, or apparently perfect they may be. I desire neither grace nor sanctity but at the time appointed and in the precise degree You will, nothing more, nothing less. If all the Saints and holy Angels prostrated themselves before Your throne to ask You for a single degree 129more of grace or of glory than You have destined for me I should refuse it, because I prefer to remain exactly and simply, Oh my God, in the position You have been pleased to ordain for me.” I implore You, and this is my last word, never to have, in any of your actions any other motive than the pure love of God and His greater glory. At the same time you need not exclude motives of hope, and of fear, and whenever the Holy Spirit inspires you with these do not hesitate to entertain them, but pure love should reign in your heart above every other sentiment. You should desire, and very ardently, your salvation and perfection; but, even in this desire have the glory of God at heart much more than your own happiness. Nothing is more likely than this habit of mind to enable you to make great strides in virtue, and great merit. The smallest actions inspired by this love are beyond comparison, of more value than the greatest performed with other good motives. But do not forget that you will make the more certain progress the more pure love induces you to renounce yourself even in the smallest things. If it did not lead to this it would not be pure love.

Be carefully on your guard against the snares that the enemy will lay in your path to make you forsake your good intentions. Do not seek for, nor expect from creatures anything but forgetfulness and contempt, and may the joy of resembling Jesus Christ your divine Example make this contempt dearer to you than all the glory of the world. Let no occasion escape, however slight it may be, of perfecting in you this divine likeness, and after having faithfully profited by these slight trials humble yourself for not being judged worthy of greater ones.

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