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SECTION V.—The Common Way of all Souls.

The soul that aims at union with God should value all the operations of His grace, but should only attach itself to that of the present moment.


It is by union with the will of God that we enjoy and possess Him; and it is an illusion to endeavour to obtain this divine enjoyment by any other means. Union with the will of God is the universal means. It does not act by one method only, but all methods and all ways are, by its virtue, sanctified. The divine will unites God to our souls in many different ways, and that which suits us is always best for us. All ways should be esteemed 56and loved, because in each we should behold that which is ordained by God accommodating itself to each individual soul, and selecting the most suitable method of effecting by it the divine union. The duty of the soul is to submit to this choice, and to make none for itself; and this without dispensing itself from esteeming and loving this adorable will in its work in others. For instance, if this divine will should prevent me saying vocal prayers, having sensible devotion, or receiving lights on mysteries, I should still love and esteem the silence and bareness induced by the sight of the faith of others; while for myself I should make use of the present moment, and by it should become united to God. I should not, as the Quietists do, reduce all religion to personal inaction despising all other means; because what makes perfection is obedience to the law of God which always renders the means it applies suitable to the soul. No! I should not admit of obstacles or bounds to the will of God, neither should I take anything in place of it, but should welcome it in whatever way it was made manifest to me, and should revere it in whatever way it was pleased to unite itself to others. Thus all ordinary souls have but one common way in which each is distinct and different in order to form the variety of the mystical robe of the Church. All these souls mutually approve of, and esteem each other, and all say “We are going to the same goal by different paths, and are all united in the same way, and by the same means in the ordinance of God, which is so different in each.” It is in this sense that we must read the lives of the saints, and other spiritual books, without ever making a change, and forsaking our own path. For this reason it is necessary that we should neither read spiritual books, nor hold spiritual conversation unless God so will; for, if He makes it the duty of the present moment, the soul, far from making any change will be strengthened in its way, either by what it finds in conformity with its own method, or even by that in which it differs. But if the will of God does not make this reading, or spiritual intercourse a present duty it will cause nothing but trouble, and a confusion of ideas; and a succession of changes will ensue; because without the concurrence of God’s will there cannot be order in anything.

Since when, therefore, have we busied ourselves with the pains and anxieties of our souls which have nothing to do with our present duty? When will God be all in all to us? Let creatures act according to their nature, but let nothing hinder us, let us go beyond all created things and live entirely for God.

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