Section 1 - Sacrifice, the Foundation of Sanctity.
The first great duty of souls called by God to this state is the
absolute and entire surrender of themselves to Him.
"Sacrificate sacrificium, et sperate in
Domino." That is to say that the great and solid foundation of the
spiritual life is the sacrifice of oneself to God, subjecting
oneself to His good pleasure in all things, both interior and
exterior, and becoming so completely forgetful of self thereafter
as to regard oneself as a chattel, sold and delivered, to which
one no longer has any right.
In this way the good pleasure of God
forms one's whole felicity; and His happiness, glory and existence
one's sole good. This foundation laid, the soul has nothing else
to do but to rejoice that God is God, and to abandon itself so
entirely to His good pleasure that it feels an equal satisfaction
in whatever it does, nor ever reflects on the uses to which it is
applied by the arrangements of this good pleasure.
oneself, therefore, is the principal duty to be fulfilled,
involving, as it does, the faithful discharge of all the
obligations of one's state. The perfection with which these duties
are accomplished will be the measure of the sanctity of each
A saintly soul is a soul freely submissive, with
the help of grace, to the divine will. All that follows on this
free consent is the work of God, and not of man. The soul should
blindly abandon itself and be indifferent about everything. This
is all that God requires of it, and as to the rest He determines
and chooses according to His own plans, as an architect selects
and arranges the stones for the building he is about to construct.
It is therefore of the first importance to love God and His will,
and to love this will in whatever way it is made manifest to us,
without desiring anything else. The soul has no concern in the
choice of different objects, that is God's affair, and whatever He
gives is best for the soul.
The whole of spirituality is an
abridgment of this maxim, "Abandon yourself entirely to the
over-ruling of God, and by self-oblivion be eternally occupied in
loving and serving Him without any of those fears, reflexions,
examens, and anxieties which the affair of our salvation, and
perfection sometimes occasion." Since God wishes to do all for us,
let us place everything in His hands once and for all, leaving
them to His infinite wisdom; and trouble no more about anything
but what concerns Him.
On then, my soul, on with head uplifted
above earthly things, always satisfied with God, with everything
He does, or makes you do. Take good care not to imprudently
entertain a crowd of anxious reflexions which, like so many
trackless ways, carry our footsteps far and wide until we are
hopelessly astray. Let us go through that labyrinth of self-love
by leaping over it, instead of traversing its interminable
On, my soul, through despondency, illness, aridity, uncertain
tempers, weakness of disposition, snares of the devil and of men;
through suspicions, jealousies, evil imaginations and prejudices.
Let us soar like the eagle above all these clouds with eyes always
fixed on the sun, and on its ways, which represent our
obligations. All this we must needs feel, but we must, at the same
time, remember that ours is not a life of mere sentiment, and that
it does not depend upon us either to feel, or to be callous.
us live in the higher regions of the soul in which God and His
will form an eternity ever equal, ever the same, ever unchanging.
In this dwelling entirely spiritual, wherein the uncreated,
immeasurable and ineffable holds the soul at an infinite distance
from all that is specific in shadows and created atoms, it remains
calm, even when the senses are tossed about by tempests. It has
become independent of the senses; their troubles and agitations
and innumerable vicissitudes no more affect it, than the clouds
that obscure the sky for a moment and then fade away, affect the
We know that all passes away like clouds blown along by the
wind, and nothing is consecutive nor ordered, but everything is in
a state of perpetual change. In the state of faith, as in that of
glory, God and His will is the eternal object that captivates the
heart, and will one day form its true happiness, and this glorious
state of the soul will influence the material part which at
present is the prey of monsters and savage beasts.
appearances, terrible though they be, the divine action will so
work on this material part as to make it partake of a heavenly
power which will render it brilliant as the sun; for the faculties
of the sensitive soul, and those of the body are prepared here
below like gold or iron, or like canvas for a picture, or stones
for a building. Like the matter of which these different materials
are composed they will not attain their brilliance and purity of
form until they have passed through many alterations, have endured
many deprivations, and survived many destructions. Whatever they
suffer here below under the hand of God serves to that end.
The soul, in the state of faith, which knows the secret of God,
dwells always in peace. All that takes place interiorly, instead
of alarming, reassures it. Deeply convinced that it is guided by
God, it takes all that happens as so much grace, and overlooking
the instrument with which God works, it thinks only of the work
that He is doing.
It is actuated by love to fulfil faithfully and exactly all its
duties. All that is distinct in a soul abandoned to God, is the
work of grace, with the exception of those defects which are
slight, and which the action of grace even turns to good account.
I call that distinct of which a soul receives a sensible
impression either of sorrow or consolation through those things
applied to it unceasingly by the divine will for its improvement.
I call it distinct because it is more clearly distinguished by the
soul from all else that takes place within it.
In all these things faith sees only God,
and applies itself solely to become conformed to His will.