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Abandonment to Divine Providence
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Letter XXX.—Resignation in Sickness.

To the same person. On abandonment in sickness.


Your incurable complaints would affect me with a very great compassion did I not know that they form a great treasure for you in eternity. It is a sort of martyrdom, a kind of purgatory, and an inexhaustible source of every species of sacrifice, and of acts of continued resignation. I assure you that all this, borne as you are doing it, without complaint, or murmuring, is very likely to sanctify you. Even if you only practised the patience of ordinary good Christians you would gain a great deal of merit; but, from what you say I gather that you are doing more than this, and the involuntary rebellion of nature and occasional little signs of impatience which escape you in spite of yourself will not impede your union with God which remains in the centre of your heart. Your life may well be called a hard and laborious one, a life of pain and trial, it will, therefore be your purgatory in this world and deliver you from that of the next or at any rate shorten it considerably. This is why I do not dare to ask God to deliver you from a trouble that must soon end, and for which you will have to thank Him for all eternity as a special sign of His mercy. The only request I could make Him for you is an increase of His love, and the virtues of submission, patience, and resignation which will greatly add to the merit of your sufferings. To feel no fear at the thought of death is a grace from God. As for your sufferings and the outward annoyances you have to endure, bear them as you do your physical ills. God does not require more; just a daily “fiat” applied to all your exterior sufferings ought to work your salvation as well as your perfection. All that books or directors can say may be reduced to this one word, “Fiat, fiat,” at all times and for everything, but especially in the penitential and crucified life to which it has pleased Providence to reduce you. Tobias in his blindness, Job on his dung-hill, and so many other saints prostrate on beds of suffering did no more than this. It is true that they did it more perfectly, and with greater love. Let us try to imitate their virtues as we share their trials, and one day we shall assuredly share their glory.

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