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Letter VII.—Rules for Direction.

To Sister Marie-Thérèse de Vioménil (1731), on the same subject. Rules, etc.

My dear Sister and very dear daughter in our Lord, may the peace of Jesus Christ be always with you.

1st. I thank God for all the good thoughts with which He inspires you. As long as you keep this good intention of belonging to God without reserve, resigning yourself entirely to His good pleasure, and fearing neither dryness, darkness, temptation, nor destitution, all will turn to your spiritual profit.

2nd. The fear of being mistaken about being at peace in the midst of interior troubles is very useless. What you unwittingly disclose to me proves that this peace is very real; it is the foundation of all else and a great grace which you must preserve at all costs. All the attacks and stratagems of the devil are aimed to make you lose it, or to diminish or, disturb it; but keep firm in faith and confidence through abandonment. Take care not to pledge yourself by vow to anything whatever.

3rd. To be completely severed from creatures in the intention and the affections is a great favour which infallibly leads to pure love and divine union.

4th. The secret presentiment of approaching death may come either from God or from the devil. If it detaches you more completely from all things, without disturbing you or creating discouragement and distrust, it comes from God; if not, it must be rejected, because all that comes from God has a good effect, and it is entirely from the effects that the spirit it proceeds from is discerned. All the repugnance that you feel is intended to detach you more completely from all human support, so that you may have none but God alone; your interior practices about this are very good. But I am surprised that you have not yet learnt that when God permits this darkness all feeling for good disappears like the sun during the night. All that can be done then is to remain firm and peaceful, waiting for the return of the sun and the dawn of day when all will be as usual. I give you permission to write one, two, three, or four letters during the year, and whenever, after imploring the help of God, you deem it necessary, and if I should think the same, I shall be very particular to reply to you.

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