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Letter XII.—On Obedience.

On disinclination to accept the comforts enjoined.

Be careful never to leave off the practice of obedience under the pretext of mortifying yourself; and never forget these words of the Holy Spirit, “I will have obedience and not sacrifice.” Do not, therefore, hesitate to take those little comforts that the doctors, the superiors, and infirmarians prescribe for you; at any rate, you should have much scruple about refusing them. In this way you will practise a more meritorious self-denial than any bodily mortification—that which consists in the renunciation of your own ideas, of your own judgment, and of your own will. Through ignorance or forgetfulness of this truth certain devout persons, who are strongly attached to their own ideas, commit many faults in being obstinately determined in their pretended self-denial, and extremely unmortified in their mortifications. How can they delude themselves so far as not to understand 204that self-love spoils and corrupts even the most holy practices? Those who renounce their own will, their own judgment, and their own ideas for the love of God will make great progress in the path of true and solid perfection. Henceforth, do not make any other use of your mind and of your reason than to know what you are ordered to do, and to do it promptly, joyfully, with a great confidence in God, and an absolute abandonment to His mercy. It will be all the easier to practise this confidence when you no longer have any other ambition than to do His holy will. And in fact, could there be a pleasanter task? Does not this divine Will sanctify all Its decrees? Follow It then in all things, as much in what gives you pleasure, as in that which costs you most; in consolations, as well as privations; working and resting; in mental and vocal prayer, in the Office, at Mass, in confession and Communion; in all things. Blind obedience, makes no exception, it generally sacrifices its own thoughts, ideas, judgments, inclinations, repugnances, aversions, tempers, in one word all its own will. On this account is this sacrifice more pleasing to God than any other that could possibly be made, and without this sacrifice all else is of little value, and cannot fail to be harmful. The divine Spirit also assures us in Holy Scripture, that the obedient man will gain many victories.

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