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Letter VIII.—Annoyances caused by Good People.

To the same person. On annoyances caused by good people.

1st. The annoyances you have experienced must have been all the more painful as coming from people from whom you would least expect them; but be assured that you will have gained great merit for heaven by them. Men’s ideas are so different; they vary according to their interests or temper, and each is convinced of his own sense, and that he has right on his side. Oh men! men! To what have we come? What an abyss of humiliation for the whole human race! It is a good thing to have arrived at the bottom of this abyss, for it will be more easy to place all one’s confidence in God. The mind, enlightened by faith, disposes the heart to submit to the decrees of divine Providence who permits good people to make each other suffer to detach them from each other. On occasions such as these we can only resign ourselves, and abandon ourselves to God who will support us. These dispositions will enable us to turn a deaf ear to arguments that might tend to disturb us. Whether we consider ourselves, or the conduct of others towards us there will never be wanting specious reasons for becoming vexed and uneasy. But there is never any reason for depression and worry. These irregular emotions are always contrary to reason as well as to religion; and the peace of which they deprive us is of incalculably more value than that for which we sacrifice it.

2nd. For the rest it is always allowable to speak in confidence to a director, to obtain consolation, strength, and instruction, but always do so with charity and discretion. Nevertheless it is better and more perfect to keep silence. It is to God alone that we should confide our vexations, and tell all as to a friend, or director worthy of our entire confidence. This is an excellent and easy way of praying, and is called the prayer of confidence, and the outpouring of the heart before God. By it is gained great spiritual fortitude, and from it proceeds consolation, peace and courage. If you continue to live as you are doing now, very imperfectly no doubt, but with a sincere desire to improve, and with efforts proportioned to your weakness, our salvation is certain. Even the fear you feel about it is a gift of God provided it does not go so far as to trouble you, and to prevent you frequenting the Sacraments, practising virtue, or continuing your spiritual exercises. As for the hardness of heart and want of feeling that you complain about, be patient and offer this affliction to God in a spirit of penance as you offer Him your illnesses and bodily infirmities. Those of the soul are much harder to bear and consequently more meritorious.

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