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Letter X.—Continued Troubles.
To the same Sister.
My dear Sister,
I am sorry that your troubles continue, but I should be much more sorry if you refused to profit by them, at least in the way of making a virtue of necessity. Remember our great principles:
1st. That there is nothing so small, or so apparently indifferent which God does not ordain or permit, even to the fall of a leaf.
2nd. That God is sufficiently wise, and good and powerful and merciful to turn even the most, apparently, disastrous events to the advantage and profit of those who humbly adore and accept His will in all that He permits. Is there anything more consoling in religion than these two principles? When we know too that our natural dislikes and rebellions, far from preventing the merit of submission, do but increase it as long as this submission is sincere in the higher part of the soul; when we know further that these fits of impatience and vexation which are only half voluntary, are the effect of frailty, and do not destroy our submission, but only slightly diminish its merit.
These imperfections are often useful to us by rendering us more humble, and preventing us from losing all our merit through a vain self-complacency. Do you recollect this wise saying of Fénélon? “It is a great grace of God to be willing to suffer, not in a grand and heroic way, but quite humbly, and in small things because in this way we gain patience and become little and humble at the same time.”
As for the grievous trials of which you speak, add them to your cross as an extra weight that divine Providence allows you to carry, and instead of one “Fiat,” say two, then remain in peace in the superior part of your soul whatever storms and tempests rage in the inferior part. The latter resembles the base of a high mountain where bad weather is usually encountered, however fine and clear the sky is at the summit. Try then to keep yourself always on the summit in those serene heights above the thunderstorms and every disaster.
It seems to me that your thoughts dwell too much on creatures. As for me, thank God I see only Him in all things. Everything helps me to Him. Since it is He that has placed us where we are, dependent on those who afflict us, it is, therefore, on Him alone that we must depend. It is He alone, I am certain, who inspires or allows the actions of men. I will accept nothing that does not come to me from Him, will owe no obligation to any one but Him, will thank no one but Him alone. If you call to mind how little men contribute to the existing state of things you will see that it is divine Providence who manages everything in a manner singularly adapted for the welfare of those who submit to Him, and who disposes everything for their best advantage. God can produce occurrences, and arrange necessary circumstances as seems good to Him, may He be blessed for all, in all, and for ever.
I am aware that my direction is considered rather too simple, but what does that matter? This holy simplicity hated by the world is, to me, so delightful that I never dream of correcting it. Everyone to his taste. I respect those who are wise and prudent, but content myself with remaining one of those poor, simple and little people of whom Jesus Christ speaks, and after His example St. Francis of Sales. Let us be sure that God arranges all for the best. Our fears, our activities, our urgencies make us imagine inconveniences where in reality they do not exist. Let us follow step by step the ways of divine Providence, and when we realize what is required of us let us desire that and nothing else. God knows much better than we do ourselves what is most suitable for us, His poor creatures. Our misfortunes and sufferings often result from the accomplishment of our own desires. Let us leave all to God and then all will go well. Abandon to Him everything in general: that is the best way, indeed the only way of providing infallibly and surely for all our real interests. I say “real” because there are false interests that lead to our ruin. The abandonment to divine Providence which I practise and counsel others to adopt is not so heroic nor so difficult as you seem to imagine. It is the centre of a solid peace, and in it I find an unchangeable repose, proof against the most trying events. Oh! how well repaid we are for the small and miserable sacrifices we make for God! And then, once made, there are no more to make, because we no longer have any other desires. We cannot entertain even a wish for ourselves apart from the will of our sovereign Master, nor without His permission. What a happy state both for this life and the next!
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