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Letter VIII.—Our Dependence on God.

To Sister Marie-Anne-Thérèse de Rosen (1724).

Concerning motives for abandonment on account of the goodness and greatness of the divine Majesty.


My dear Sister,

Do not ask me for new ways of acquiring the friendship of God, and of making rapid progress in virtue. I know only one way which I have more than once explained to you, and of which my daily experience demonstrates more and more clearly the infallible efficacy. This secret is, abandonment to divine Providence. Bear with me for calling your attention to it once again, and do not grow weary, either, of learning what I do not weary of teaching you. I should like to cry out everywhere, “Abandonment! abandonment!” and again “Abandonment!” unbounded and unreserved; and for two good reasons.

1st. Because the greatness of God and His sovereign dominion over all, require that all creatures should bow before Him, that all should be cast down, and as it were annihilated before His supreme Majesty. There is no comparison between His infinite greatness and our nothingness. It is above all things, comprehends all things, absorbs all things in its immensity. Or, rather, it is all things since all things that have a separate existence from the Divinity have received their being from Him in creation and still continue to receive it in their preservation which is creation renewed unceasingly. Thus the existence we have received from God remains, as it were, in the bosom of the Divinity and never leaves its service, but remains plunged and engulfed therein. God, then, is the author of all being, nothing is, nor lives, nor subsists, nor moves, but by Him, and in Him, He is Who is, by Whom and in Whom all exists, and Who is in all things.

Things, compared with nothingness, seem to have an existence, but, compared with God, they seem nothing; they only possess being and substance by the gift of God; while He alone exists of Himself, and owes nothing to any other than Himself. Therefore as everything belongs to Him, necessarily everything will return to Him that His supreme dominion may be glorified by all His creatures. Those creatures that have not the gift of 116reason glorify Him according to their state in following with complete exactness and perfect obedience the laws of their nature; but He has a right to expect from His reasonable creatures a glory far more worthy of Him; which results from their voluntary abandonment. And what more just and noble use could any reasonable creature make of its liberty than in rendering to God all it has received from Him, and in offering Him in advance all that may be added to it in the future? Understand me thoroughly; the homage that God expects from us He alone can give us power to render Him in giving us the thought, the desire, and the will. Also if He gives us this grace, and if we profit by it, far from taking the credit to ourselves we ought to thank Him for it as the crown of all His other benefits. The impulsion which prompts us to offer up this last thanksgiving is yet another grace, as well as the thought that projected the act. Thus, each of our moments, each of our actions, in increasing our debt, forms new ties and makes us depend more entirely on the divine goodness. At this thought, our spirit, our heart, our soul remain as though engulfed, lost, annihilated in the profound abyss of this sovereign dominion.

Our merits, regarded in this light, far from inspiring us with pride will pierce us with the idea of our own utter dependence, which, as we see more clearly we shall understand better; and we shall finish by arriving at the complete annihilation of our entire being before God. Thus alone shall we be true, and shall be before God in our proper state—that of nothingness. Thus, also, shall we practise perfect abandonment. To keep oneself always in this interior disposition is what Holy Scripture calls “walking in justice—in truth,” outside this state there is nothing but falsehood and injustice towards God. Injustice because we deprive Him of the gory that belongs to Him; falsehood because we flatter ourselves in appropriating what can never belong to us.

2nd. The second motive to induce us to abandon ourselves without reserve is, that, unless God receives from His creatures the homage due to His infinite Majesty He cannot give free vent to His infinite goodness. All that His creatures bring to Him by a total renunciation He wills to return to them by a gratuitous gift of His mercy; or rather, He repays infinitely more than they have given Him, because in return for the gift of their limited being He bestows on them His infinite riches. Therefore at the bottom of this abyss of renunciation where we should expect to find nothingness we find infinitude. What an exchange of the divine liberality! What ingenuity of divine wisdom! What a contrivance and surprise of the divine goodness!

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