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Letter XVIII.—Will of God to be Preferred.

To the same Sister.

Believe me, my dear Sister, and put an end to all your fears and entrust all to divine Providence who makes use of hidden but infallible means of bringing everything to serve His ends. Whatever men may say or do, they can only act by God’s will or permission, and everything they do He makes serve for the accomplishment of His merciful designs. He is able to attain His purposes by means apparently most contrary, as to refresh His servants in the midst of a fiery furnace, or to make them walk on the waters. We shall experience more sensibly this fatherly protection of Providence if we abandon ourselves to Him with filial confidence. Quite recently I have had experience of this, therefore I have prayed to God with greater fervour than ever to grant me the grace never to have my own will which is always blind, and often dangerous, but always that His which is just, holy, loving, and beneficent may be accomplished. Ah! if you only knew what a pleasure it is to find no peace or contentment except in accomplishing the will of God which is as good as it is powerful, you would not be able to desire anything else. Never look upon any pain, no matter of what kind, as a sign of being far from God; because crosses and sufferings are, on the contrary, effects of His goodness and love. “But,” say you, “what will become of me if . . . ?” This is indeed 290a temptation of the enemy. Why should you be so ingenious in tormenting yourself beforehand about something which perhaps will never happen? Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. Uneasy forebodings do us much harm; why do you so readily give way to them? We make our own troubles, and what do we gain by it? but lose, instead, so much both for time and eternity. When we are obsessed in spite of ourselves by these worrying revisions let us be faithful in making a continual sacrifice of them to the sovereign Master. I conjure you to do this, as in this way you will induce God to deal favourably with you and to help you in every way. You will acquire a treasure of virtue and merit for Heaven, and a submission and abandonment which will enable you to make more progress in the ways of God than any other practice of piety. It is, possibly, with this view that God permits all these troublesome and trying imaginations. Profit by them then, and God will bless you. By your submission to His good pleasure you will make greater progress than you could by hearing beautiful sermons, or reading pious books. If you only understood this great truth thoroughly, you would enjoy great peace of mind, and advance rapidly in the ways of God. Without this submission to His good pleasure no spirituality counts for much. As long as people restrict themselves to exterior practices, they can but have a very thin veneer of true and solid piety which consists essentially, and in reality, in willing in everything what God wills, and in the manner in which He wills it. When you have attained to this, the Spirit of God will reign absolutely in your heart, will supply for all else, and will never fail you in your need if you call with humble confidence for His help. This is of faith, but is known to very few souls who are otherwise pious. Thus, for the want of this disposition we see them kept back and obstructed in the ways of God. What a pitiful blindness! All the business and complicated affairs in which we are immersed by God’s will and by the decrees of His divine Providence, are equal to the most delightful contemplation, if one says from the bottom of one’s heart, “My God, this is Your will, and, therefore, also mine.” Although this is said only in the higher part of the soul without the will seeming to take any share in it, still the sacrifice is no less agreeable to God, and meritorious for oneself. Keep with a firm determination to this practice and you will soon experience its excellent results. If you could also combine with it a certain peace and quietness of mind, a certain gentleness of manner towards others and also towards yourself, without ever showing signs of annoyance, worry, or vexation, what great and meritorious sacrifices you will have made! At least humble yourself gently after all your faults, and return to God with confidence 291as if nothing had happened, as the “Spiritual Combat” teaches. As we can never enjoy happiness or peace in this miserable world except in proportion as we blindly submit to the decrees of divine Providence, I shall continue to speak to you about it untiringly. Believe me and rely on divine Providence alone, and abandon everything to His care absolutely and without reserve. Do with simplicity what you believe you ought to do under the circumstances, so as not to tempt God, but do it gently, quietly, and without effort, trouble, excitement, or eagerness; as St. Francis of Sales advises. Of how many anxieties, disappointments and forebodings should we not rid ourselves, if we could only act in this reasonable and Christian manner.

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