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Letter XXIII.—The Value of Good Desires.

To the same person. On the value of good desires.

The increase of the desire to consecrate yourself to God is an additional grace of His mercy. To suffer all the pain of being unable to accomplish these ardent desires is, insomuch as you bear it with resignation, to correspond well with this grace, and to merit its continuance. The interior effort to maintain yourself in this state of resignation is a sort of martyrdom that will, sooner or later, be rewarded. God will carry out the pious design with which He has inspired you, the delay is intend to try your fidelity. If, in the meantime, you are getting on in years, you need not consider that, because you already possess the best part of what you wish for, which is, the strong desire to consecrate yourself to God. This desire is, in the sight of God, the best part of the sacrifice, or, to speak correctly, it is the entire sacrifice since you have already given yourself to Him, in heart and soul, and are now sacrificing your most earnest desires in awaiting patiently the time chosen by His providence. Possibly this last sacrifice is of more value than the first, since by it you renounce more entirely your own will. Therefore be at peace and quite tranquil in the presence of Him who sees to the bottom of our hearts and who takes all your good desires for performance. He has no need of anything that you could give Him; but He loves a heart that is ready and willing to sacrifice all. The fear of death and of the judgments of God is a good thing as long as it does not go so far as to cause you trouble and anxiety; then it would be an illusion of the devil. For, what is it that makes you afraid? Is it because you have not yet done what you have not been able to do? Does God require what is impossible? Is it, as you add, because you have, as yet, done nothing for heaven? Be careful again in this; it is a delicate subject for 163it seems as if you wanted to acquire merit for your own assurance.This is not real confidence which can only be founded on the mercy of God, and the infinite merits of Jesus Christ. Any other confidence would be vain and presumptuous, since it would rest on your own nothingness, and I know not what wretched works which have no value in the sight of God. Without depending in any way on ourselves let us try and accomplish, with the help of God’s grace, all that He demands of us, and hope only in His goodness and in the merits of Jesus Christ, His Son.

You are right in saying that more grace is required to save us in the world than in religion. From this I form the opinion that, evidently, a much more distinct vocation is necessary for those who have to remain in the world, than for the religious state; but, at the same time there are particular graces given to those who, against their will, have to remain in the world. God is then, as it were, obliged to take care of them. Therefore fear nothing, you are already a Religious in heart and soul. Try to subject your mind, feelings, and actions to the spirit of the rules of this holy state, by a humble resignation and a perfect confidence in the fatherly goodness and power of that heavenly Spouse whom you have chosen. He, also, regards you as His beloved Spouse.

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