Section 2 - The Pains and Consolations of Abandonment.
The soul ought to strip itself of all things created in order to
arrive at the state of abandonment.
This state is full of consolation for those
who have attained it; but to do so it is necessary to pass through
much anguish. The doctrine concerning pure love can only be taught
by the action of God, and not by any effort of the mind. God
teaches the soul by pains and obstacles, not by ideas.
This science is a practical knowledge by which God is enjoyed as
the only good. In order to master this science it is necessary to
be detached from all personal possessions, to gain this
detachment, to be really deprived of them. Therefore it is only by
constant crosses, and by a long succession of all kinds of
mortifications, trials, and deprivations, that pure love becomes
established in the soul. This must continue until all things
created become as though they did not exist, and God becomes all
To effect this God combats all the personal affections of
the soul, so that when these take any especial shape, such as some
pious notion, some help to devotion; or when there is any idea of
being able to attain perfection by some such method, or such a
path or way, or by the guidance of some particular person; in fine
to whatever the soul attaches itself, God upsets its plans, and
allows it to find, instead of success in these projects, nothing
but confusion, trouble, emptiness, and folly. Hardly has it said
"I must go this way, I must consult this person, or, I must act in
such a manner," than God immediately says the exact contrary, and
withdraws all the virtue usual in the means adopted by the soul.
Thus, finding only deception and emptiness in everything, the soul
is compelled to have recourse to God Himself, and to be content
Happy the soul that understands this lovingly severe conduct of
God, and that corresponds faithfully with it. It is raised above
all that passes away to repose in the immutable and the infinite.
It is no longer dissipated among created things by giving them
love and confidence, but allows them only when it becomes a duty
to do so, or when enjoined by God, and when His will is made
especially manifest in the matter. It inhabits a region above
earthly abundance or dearth, in the fulness of God who is its
God finds this soul quite empty of its own
inclinations, of its own movements, of its own choice. It is a
dead subject, and shrouded in universal indifference. The whole of
the divine Being, coming thus to fill the heart, casts over all
created things a shadow, as of nothingness, absorbing all their
distinctions and all their varieties. Thus there remains neither
efficacy, nor virtue in anything created, and the heart is neither
drawn towards, nor has any inclination for created things, because
the majesty of God fills it to its utmost extent.
Living in God in this way, the heart becomes dead to all else, and
all is dead to it. It is for God, who gives life to all things, to
revive the soul with regard to His creation, and to give a
different aspect to all things in the eyes of the soul. It is the
order of God which is this life. By this order the heart goes out
towards the creature as far as is necessary or useful, and it is
also by this order that the creature is carried towards the soul
and is accepted by it.
Without this divine virtue of the good
pleasure of God, things created are not admitted by the soul;
neither is the soul at all inclined towards them. This dissolution
of all things as far as the soul is concerned, and then, by the
will of God, their being brought once more into existence, compels
the soul at each moment to see God in all things, for each moment
is spent for the satisfaction of God only, and in an unreserved
self-abandonment with regard to its relations to all possible
created things, or rather to those created, or possibly to be
created by the order of God. Therefore each moment contains all.