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Letter XVII.—Abandonment in Trials.

To Sister Charlotte-Elizabeth Bourcier de Monthureux. On the practice of abandonment in the midst of trials. Nancy, 1734.

My dear Sister,

I must thank you for the charming letter of which you have been so good as to send me a copy. I have read and re-read it frequently with great edification. My experience regarding yourself is something that has hardly ever occurred to me before; it is, that after having read your letter several times and implored the help of God, I cannot remember either what you have said, or what I have written to you in reply. About this, three considerations have presented themselves to me. Firstly, if God wishes to withdraw from a soul all sensible support, He does not permit it to find any, even in its director, unless in a very passing way. Thus He reduces it to find help in this thought alone; my state is a good one, since the guide appointed for me by God 375finds it so. Secondly, what does God find it necessary for me to say after the letter which I judged before God to suit you perfectly, and to fully suffice? Thirdly, in spite of your darkness, want of feeling, and stupidity, your faith does not lack an immovable, although unfelt, support; since, following the example of Jesus Christ, you have a great desire to abandon yourself to the very One by whom you believe yourself to be abandoned and forsaken. This is an evident sign that in the midst of your supposed destitution and apparent abandonment, you recognise by pure faith interiorly that you have never been, in the main, less forsaken, nor less friendless than now. Does not the spiritual affliction which the fear of not being able to abandon yourself in all things, nor as well as you desire, occasions you, prove the deep and hidden intention which is rooted in your heart, of practising this total abandonment and abnegation that are so meritorious? Does not God behold these desires, so deep and so hidden, and do they not speak for you to God more powerfully than any words you could utter? Yes, certainly, these desires are acts, and better acts than any others, for if you were allowed to practise abandonment in a manner that you could feel, you would find consolation, but would lose, at least somewhat, the salutary feeling of your misery, and would be again exposed to the imperceptible snares of self-love, and to its fatal satisfactions. Remain therefore in peace and wait for our Lord. This peaceful and humble expectation ought to keep you recollected, serve as subject for meditation, and occupy you quietly during your exercises of piety.

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