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Letter I.—On Temptations.

On temptations and the fear of giving way to them.

I acknowledge, my dear Sister, that the trial to which our Lord is subjecting you at this moment, is worse than any through which you have hitherto passed. To a soul that loves God, the fear of offending Him is worse than any other. Nothing is more frightful than to have the mind filled with bad thoughts, and to feel the heart carried away to some extent, against one’s will, by the violence of the temptation; but that which is, to you, a subject of cruel anguish is, to your directors, a subject for satisfaction. The stronger are your fears, and the greater the horror these temptations cause you, the more evident is it that your will has given no consent to them, and that, far from doing you harm they only serve to increase your merit. In this even more than in other things you ought blindly to follow the advice of those who direct you. Besides, and I say it without the least hesitation, all these fearful temptations, these interior revolts which agitate you, the discouragement which makes you despond, that kind of despair which seems to separate you from God irreparably; all this takes place in the inferior part of your soul without any express and formal consent of the superior part. The latter also, it is true, is often so troubled, and so blinded that it cannot discern what it has, or has not, done; or whether or not it has consented. It is this that makes this trial so painful; but take courage! it is then that you must cast yourself, as well as you can, at the feet of Jesus Christ crucified, humbling yourself and being overcome at the extent of your weakness, but quietly and without vexation, imploring the help of God through His divine Son our Saviour and our Advocate, through the intercession of Mary our sweet mother, and firmly believe that He Who pursues us when we flee from Him will never permit us to be separated from Him against our will.

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