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Shewing how a simple and ready Obedience is the only means of for walking, safely in the inward Way, and of procuring internal Peace.
66. If thou dost in good earnest resolve to deny thy Will, and do God’s Obedience is the necessary means; whether it be by the indissoluble knot of thy Vow, made in the hands of thy Superior in thy Religion, or the free tying of thy self by the Dedication of thy Will, to a Spiritual and expert Guide, that hath the Qualities sewn before in the precedent Chapters.
67. Thou wilt never get up the Mountain of Perfection, nor to any high Throne of Peace Internal, if thou art only govern’d by thy own Will: This cruel and fierce Enemy of God, and of thy Soul, must be conquered; thy own Direction, thy own Judgement, must be subdued and deposed as Rebels, and reduced to Ashes by the Fire of Obedience: there it will be found, as in a Touch-stone, whether the Love thou followest be thine own, or Divine; there in that Holocaust must thine own Judgment, and thine own Will be Annihilated and brought to its last Substance.
68. An ordinary Life under Obedience, is worth more than that which of its own will doth great Pennance; because obedience and subjection, besides that they are free from the deceits of Satan, are the truest Holocaust which can be sacrificed to God on the Altar of our Heart. Which made a great Servant of God say, That he had rather gather Dung by Obedience, than be caught up to the third Heaven of his own will.
69. You will know that Obedience is a ready way to arrive quickly at Perfection: ‘tis impossible for a Soul to purchase it self true peace of Heart, if it doth not deny and overcome its own judgment and rebellion: And the means of denying and overcoming ones Judgment, is to be willing in every thing to obey with resolution, him that stands in God’s place; because the Heart remains free, secure, and unburthen’d by all that which goes from the Mouth, with true Submission, to the Ears of the Spiritual Father. (Effundite coram illo corda vestra, Pl. 61.) The most effectual means therefore to advance in the way of the Spirit, is to imprint this in the Heart, that a man’s spiritual Director stands in God’s place, and whatever he orders and says, is said and ordered from the Divine Mouth.
70. The Lord often-times manifested to that venerable Mother Ann Mary of S. Joseph a Fransciscan Nun; That she should rather obey her spiritual Father, then Himself, (History of her Life, § 42.) To the venerable Sister Catherine Paulucci, the Lord also one day said, You ought to go to your spiritual Father, with pure and sincere Truth, as if you came to Me, and not inquire whether he be or be not Observant, but you ought to think that he is Governed by the Holy Ghost, and that he is in My stead, (Her Life, Book 2. Ch. 16) adding, When Souls shall observe this, I will not permit that any be Deceived by him. O Divine Words worthy to be imprinted in the Hearts of those Souls which desire to advance in Perfection!
71. God revealed to Lady Marina of Escobar, that if our Lord Christ would have her communicate after his mind, and her spiritual Father should say nay; she was obliged to follow the mind of her spiritual Father: And a Saint was lower’d down from Heaven to tell her the reason of it; which was, That in the first there might be Cheat, but in the second none.
72. The Holy Ghost advises us all in the Proverbs (Ch. 3.) that we take Counsel, and trust not in our own Wisom: Ne innitaris prudentiæ tuæ. And says by Tobit, That, to do well, thou never oughtest to govern thy self with thine own proper judgment; but always must ask others mind and judgment, (Ch. 4. 14. Consilium semper a sapiente perquire.) Although the spiritual Father Err in giving counsel, you can never Err in taking it, and following it; because you act wisely: Qui judiceo alterius operatur, prudenter operatur. And God doth not suffer Directors to Err, that he may preserve, tho’ it should be with Miracles, the visible Tribunal of the spiritual Father; from whence is known with all Safety, what is the Divine Will.
73. Besides, that this is the common Doctrine of all the Saints, of all the Doctors and Masters of Spirit, Christ our Lord gave credit and security to it, when he said, That the spiritual Father should be understood and obeyed just like Himself: Qui vos audit, mea audit (St. Luke 10) And this even when their Works do not correspond with their Words and Counsels; as is manifest by St. Matthew, Chap. 1. Quæcunque dixerint vobis facite, secundum autem opera eorum nolite facere.
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