Section 5 - The Common Way of all Souls.
The soul that aims at union with God should value all the
operations of His grace, but should only attach itself to that of
the present moment.
It is by union with the will of God that we
enjoy and possess Him; and it is an illusion to endeavour to
obtain this divine enjoyment by any other means. Union with the
will of God is the universal means.
It does not act by one method
only, but all methods and all ways are, by its virtue, sanctified.
The divine will unites God to our souls in many different ways,
and that which suits us is always best for us. All ways should be
esteemed and loved, because in each we should behold that which is
ordained by God accommodating itself to each individual soul, and
selecting the most suitable method of effecting by it the divine
The duty of the soul is to submit to this choice, and to
make none for itself; and this without dispensing itself from
esteeming and loving this adorable will in its work in others. For
instance, if this divine will should prevent me saying vocal
prayers, having sensible devotion, or receiving lights on
mysteries, I should still love and esteem the silence and bareness
induced by the sight of the faith of others; while for myself I
should make use of the present moment, and by it should become
united to God.
I should not, as the Quietists do, reduce all
religion to personal inaction despising all other means; because
what makes perfection is obedience to the law of God which always
renders the means it applies suitable to the soul. No! I should
not admit of obstacles or bounds to the will of God, neither
should I take anything in place of it, but should welcome it in
whatever way it was made manifest to me, and should revere it in
whatever way it was pleased to unite itself to others.
ordinary souls have but one common way in which each is distinct
and different in order to form the variety of the mystical robe of
the Church. All these souls mutually approve of, and esteem each
other, and all say "We are going to the same goal by different
paths, and are all united in the same way, and by the same means
in the ordinance of God, which is so different in each." It is in
this sense that we must read the lives of the saints, and other
spiritual books, without ever making a change, and forsaking our
For this reason it is necessary that we should neither
read spiritual books, nor hold spiritual conversation unless God
so will; for, if He makes it the duty of the present moment, the
soul, far from making any change will be strengthened in its way,
either by what it finds in conformity with its own method, or even
by that in which it differs. But if the will of God does not make
this reading, or spiritual intercourse a present duty it will
cause nothing but trouble, and a confusion of ideas; and a
succession of changes will ensue; because without the concurrence
of God's will there cannot be order in anything.
Since when, therefore, have we busied ourselves with the pains and
anxieties of our souls which have nothing to do with our present
duty? When will God be all in all to us? Let creatures act
according to their nature, but let nothing hinder us, let us go
beyond all created things and live entirely for God.