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Treatise on the Love of God
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CHAPTER XIV.

AN EXPLANATION OF WHAT HAS BEEN SAID TOUCHING THE DECEASE OF OUR WILL.

We may well believe that the most sacred Virgin Our Lady received so much pleasure in carrying her little Jesus in her arms, that delight beguiled weariness, or at least made it agreeable; for if a branch of agnus castus can solace and unweary travellers, what solace did not the glorious Mother receive in carrying the immaculate Lamb of God? And though she permitted him now and then to run on foot by her, she holding him by the hand, yet this was not because she would not rather have had him hanging about her neck and on her breast, but it was to teach him to form his steps and walk alone. And we ourselves, Theotimus, as little children of the heavenly Father, may walk with him in two ways. For we may, in the first place, walk with the steps of our own will which we conform to his, holding always with the hand of our obedience the hand of his divine intention, and following it wheresoever it leads,—which is what God requires from us by the signification of his will; for since he wills me to do what he ordains, he wills me to have the will to do it: God has signified that he wills me to keep holy the day of rest; since he wills me to do it, he wills then that I will to do it, and that for this end I should have a will of my own, by which I follow his, conforming myself and corresponding to his. But we may on other occasions walk with our Saviour without any will of our own, letting ourselves simply be carried at his divine good pleasure, as a little child in its mother's arms, by a certain kind of consent which may be termed union or rather unity of our heart with God's;—and this is the way that we are to endeavour to comport ourselves in God's will of good-pleasure, since the effects of this will of good-pleasure proceed purely from his Providence, and we do not effect them, but they happen to us. True it is we may will them to come according to God's will, and this willing is excellent; yet we may also receive the events of heaven's good pleasure by a most simple tranquillity of our will, which, willing nothing whatever, simply acquiesces in all that God would have done in us, on us, or by us.

If one had asked the sweet Jesus when he was carried in his mother's arms, whither he was going, might he not with good reason have answered: I go not, 'tis my mother that goes for me: And if one had said to him: But at least do you not go with your mother? might he not reasonably have replied: No, I do not go, or if I go whither my mother carries me, I do not myself walk with her nor by my own steps, but by my mother's, by her, and in her: But if one had persisted with him, saying: But at least, O most dear divine child, you really will to let yourself be carried by your sweet mother? No verily, might he have said, I will nothing of all this, but as my entirely good mother walks for me so she wills for me; I leave her the care as well to go as to will to go for me where she likes best; and as I go not but by her steps, so I will not but by her will; and from the instant I find myself in her arms, I give no attention either to willing or not willing, turning all other cares over to my mother, save only the care to be on her bosom, to suck her sacred breast, and to keep myself close clasped to her most beloved neck, that I may most lovingly kiss her with the kisses of my mouth. And be it known to you that while I am amidst the delights of these holy caresses which surpass all sweetness, I consider that my mother is a tree of life, and myself on her as its fruit; that I am her own heart in her breast, or her soul in the midst of her heart, so that as her going serves both her and me without my troubling myself to take a single step, so her will serves us both without my producing any act of my will about going or coming. Nor do I ever take notice whether she goes fast or slow, hither or thither, nor do I inquire whither she means to go, contenting myself with this, that go whither she please I go still locked in her arms, close laid at her beloved breasts, where I feed as amongst lilies. O divine child of Mary! Permit my poor soul these outbursts of love: Go then so, O most amiable dear little babe, or rather go not but stay, thus holily fastened to your sweet mother's breast; go always in her and never without her, while thou remainest a child! O how blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the breasts that gave thee suck!425425Luke xi. 27. The Saviour of our souls had the use of reason from the instant of his conception in his Mother's womb, and could make all this discourse; so could even the glorious S. John his forerunner, from the day of the holy visitation, and though both of them, as well in that time as all through their infancy, were possessed of liberty to will or not to will, yet, in what concerned their external conduct, they left to their mothers the care of doing and willing for them what was requisite.

Thus should we be, Theotimus, pliable and tractable to God's good-pleasure, as though we were of wax, not giving our thoughts leave to wander in wishing and willing things, but leaving God to will and do them for us as he pleases, throwing upon him all our solicitude, because he hath care of us,4264261 Pet. v. 7. as the holy Apostle says: and note that he says all our solicitude, that is, as well that which concerns the events, as that which pertains to willing or not willing, for he will have a care of the issue of our affairs, and of willing that which is best for us.

Meanwhile let us affectionately give our attention to blessing God in all his works, after the example of Job, saying: The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away, the name of the Lord be blessed!427427Job i. 21. No, Lord; I will no events, for I leave you to will them for me at your pleasure, but instead of willing the events I will bless you because you have willed them. O Theotimus! what an excellent employment of our will is this, when it gives up the care of willing and choosing the effects of God's good-pleasure in order to praise and thank this good pleasure for such effects.

 


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