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Letter XXIV.—Results of Imprudence.
To the same Sister. On the vexatious results of imprudence.
I have already told you very often, my dear Sister, that nothing should trouble you, not even your faults, and certainly far less should you allow yourself to be cast down by those trying consequences of acts which are not sins, although they imply some imprudence on your part. There is hardly any trial more mortifying to self-love, and consequently hardly any more sanctifying than this. It does not cost nearly so much to accept humiliations that come to us from without and that we have not had any hand in drawing upon ourselves. One can resign oneself much more easily to the confusion caused by faults very much graver in themselves provided they do not appear outside. But one simple imprudence that entails annoying results that everyone can see; this is decidedly of all humiliations the very worst; and therefore, as a natural consequence, an excellent occasion for the mortification of self-love. Then it is that we can say over and over again the “fiat” of perfect abandonment; we must even go further and make an act of thanksgiving, adding for this purpose “Gloria Patri” to our “fiat.”
One single trial, accepted thus, causes a soul to make more progress than any number of acts of virtue. I hope I have made this clear to you and that you will no longer distress yourself about the consequences that are likely to follow the mistake of which you have been the innocent cause. Remain in peace with the intention of taking what steps are necessary at a convenient time to bring about peace, and a union of hearts; then abandon to God all the success, whatever it may be. It is well to get accustomed to act in this way in all the troublesome events of this miserable life; thus we shall enjoy peace, and shall have 332made merit in the sight of divine Providence. Without this submission and total abandonment we can expect no rest during the course of our sad pilgrimage. Think only of pleasing God, of satisfying God, of sacrificing all to God. Let all the rest go, and keep nothing back. Provided that God dwells within you, you will never lose anything. Take good courage and all will go well; do not be so uneasy, nor so surprised at these rebellions of your nature: I assure you that they will be no impediment to the submission of your higher faculties, and that God only hides this submission for your own good. In the most violent attacks try just to say these few words, “It is but just that a creature should be submissive to her Creator, therefore I desire and pray to become so.” Read the chapter on “Progress” in the “Interior Life” by Fr. Guilloré; it is an inspired chapter, and I hope you will derive great benefit from it.
For God’s sake do not sadden yourself, and try to preserve peace during even the most terrible tempests. If you do this all will go well. In fact I see nothing but good in everything that you have confided to me, but a good that would cease to be so if you saw it as plainly as I do.
When a number of different thoughts enter my head which makes the least thing assume monstrous proportions, I recall to mind the advice I have given to others in similar circumstances. I abandon myself to divine Providence in all things and about all things. When the worst comes to the worst, I defy it like St. Paul, to separate me from the charity of Jesus Christ. I know that without the grace of this divine Saviour I could do nothing; but I know also that with His grace I can do all things; I beg Him therefore to keep me in all my temptations from all sin, from all that could displease Him; but as for the bitterness of soul, the interior crucifixion, the holy abjection and even the confusion before others, I accept them with all their consequences for as long as it pleases His sovereign Majesty. I desire the accomplishment of His holy will, and not my own in all things, and I implore Him not to allow me either to say or to do anything that might place any obstacle to the least thing that He wills. And if, through weakness, error, or malice I should undertake anything of the kind, I implore Him not to allow it to succeed.
I recognise the fact that His holy will is, in all things, not only holy and adorable, but infinitely salutary and beneficent towards those who are humbly submissive; and that mine, on the contrary, is always either blind or ill-regulated. Therefore I subscribe to all that the eternal Father decrees, and would do so a hundred times no matter at what cost to myself. This dear and good Father has commanded it, that is enough, and what have 333I to fear? From this, two conclusions can be drawn, firstly that during these tempests and storms often raised by trifles I retain such a profound peace that I am surprised at it myself. Secondly that I consider myself very fortunate to have to endure these interior tortures, temptations and trials. Then I say to myself, this is worth more than all my own miserable arrangements. I feel my soul becoming stronger by this abandonment to divine Providence, so much so, that all my personal desires and attachment to my own will are consumed and annihilated.
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