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Letter XXXIII.—Patience with Oneself.

To the same person. On bearing with herself.

My dear Sister,

We must submit to God in all things and about all things; as to the state and condition in which He has placed us, the good or evil circumstances that He has allotted us, and even as to the character, mind, nature, temperament, and inclinations with which He has endowed us. Practise yourself, therefore, in being patient with regard to yourself and in this perfect submission to the divine will. When you have acquired this you will enjoy great peace, and not distress yourself about anything, nor get out of humour with yourself, but put up with yourself with the same gentleness which you should use towards your neighbour. This is a more important matter than you would imagine, and just at present is most essential to your sanctification. Keep 173it, therefore, always before your eyes, and make frequent acts of submission to the holy will of God, of charity, of endurance, and of gentleness towards yourself even more than towards your neighbour. You will never attain to this without great efforts.

A soul to whom God makes known its defects is much more burdensome to itself than its neighbour ever could be to it, because the latter, however near to us, is not always with us; at any rate is not within us, whereas we carry ourselves about with us, and cannot leave ourselves for a single moment, nor completely cease to behold ourselves, to feel ourselves, and to carry about with us everywhere our imperfections, and our faults. But see wherein the infinite goodness of our God shines forth; for the sorrow and shame that our faults cause us are their own remedy, provided that this shame never turns into defiance, and that the sorrow is inspired by the love of God, and not by self-love. Sorrow born of self-love is full of vexation and bitterness; far from healing the wounds of our soul, it only serves to poison them. On the other hand, sorrow produced by the love of God is calm and full of resignation; while detecting the fault it delights in the humiliation which follows, and from this it results that much merit is gained, and thus even from losses we make profit. Cease then from tormenting yourself on account of your defects and of the imperfection of your works. Offer to God the sorrow they occasion you, and allow His divine Providence to make good these slight infidelities by many little crosses and sufferings of all kinds. Arm yourself only with patience, raise yourself again as soon as possible and deplore your falls with a sweet, tranquil humility. God wishes you to act thus, and by this indefatigable patience you will render Him more glory and will make more progress than the most violent efforts would have enabled you to do.

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