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Letter XIV.—On Discouragement.

To the same person. On discouragement.

My dear Sister,

At this moment you are suffering from one of the most dangerous temptations that could assail any soul of good will; the temptation to discouragement. I conjure you to resist it with all your might. Have confidence in God, and be convinced that He will finish the work He has begun in you. Your foolish fears about the future come from the devil. Think only of the present, abandon the future to Providence. It is the good use of the present that assures the future. Apply yourself to obtaining attachment and conformity to the will of God in all things and everywhere, even to the smallest things, for in this consist all virtue and perfection. For the rest, God only allows our daily faults to keep us humble. If you know how to gain this fruit, and to remain in peace and confidence, then you will be in a better state than if you had not committed any apparent fault, which would only have greatly flattered your self-love, and have exposed you to the extreme danger of being satisfied with yourself. Nothing, on the contrary, can be more easy than to make use of your faults to acquire a fresh degree of humility, and thus to dig more deeply in yourself the foundation necessary for building up true sanctity. Ought we not to admire, and to bless the infinite goodness of God who knows how to make our very faults serve for our greater good? For this it suffices to dislike them, to humble ourselves quietly about them, and to raise ourselves again with an untiring perseverance after each fall, and to work peacefully to correct ourselves. Submit to the will of God as to your employments, but do not be uneasy or eager about them. Do amiably all that you know you ought to do, and depend on divine Providence for success, without solicitude or anxiety, in order to have a free mind and a tranquil heart in so far as it is 208possible. If you are faithful in this practice, you will be able to live in peace even in the midst of disturbances, and the involuntary trouble these may occasion you will but increase the merit that is grounded on the conformity of your will to the will of God. May He be blessed by all and in all, now and for ever.

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