Section 2 - Unjust Judgments.
Second trial of the state of abandonment. The apparent uselessness
and exterior defects allowed by God in the souls He wills to raise
to this state.
The second trial of souls conducted by God
in this way is the result of their apparent uselessness, and of
their exterior defects. There can be neither honour nor reward in
a service hidden, often enough, under the most utter incapacity
and uselessness, as far as the world is concerned.
Doubtless those who are given more
important posts, are not, on this account, necessarily precluded
from the state of abandonment. Less still is this state
incompatible with striking virtue, and that sanctity which
attracts universal veneration. Nevertheless there is a far greater
number of souls raised to this sublime state whose virtue is known
only to God. By their state these souls are free from nearly every
outward obligation. They are little suited for worldly business or
affairs, for complicated concerns, or for putting their mind into
the conducting of industries. It seems as though they were quite
useless; nothing is noticeable in them but feebleness of body,
mind, imagination and passions. They take no notice of anything.
They are, so to say, quite stupid, and possess nothing of that
culture, study, or reflexion which go to the making of a man. They
are like children of nature before they are placed in the hands of
masters to be formed. They have noticeable faults which, without
rendering them more guilty than children, cause more offence. God
takes away everything but innocence in order that they should have
nothing to rely upon but Him alone.
The world, being in ignorance of this
mystery can only judge by appearance, and can find nothing in them
to its taste, nor anything that it values. It, therefore, rejects
and despises them, and they seem to be exposed to censure from
all. The more closely they are observed, the less is thought of
them and the more opposition do they encounter; no one knows what
to make of them. Although some hidden voice seems to speak in
their favour, yet people prefer to adhere to their own malignant
prepossessions rather than to follow this instinct, or at least to
suspend their judgment. Their actions are pried into to find out
their opinions, and like the Pharisees who could not endure the
actions of Jesus, they are regarded with such prejudice that
everything they do appears either ridiculous or criminal.
Section 3 - Self-Contempt.
The third trial: interior humiliations.
Contemptible as they are in the eyes of others, the souls raised
by God to this state are far more contemptible in their own. There
is nothing either in what they do, or in what they suffer that is
not altogether paltry and humiliating; there is nothing striking
in anything about them, all is quite ordinary, nothing but
troubles and afflictions interiorly, and contradictions and
disappointments exteriorly. With a feeble body requiring many
alleviations and comforts, the very reverse one would think of
that spirit of poverty and austerity so much admired in the
Neither heroic undertakings, nor fasts, large alms, nor
ardent and far-reaching zeal can be discerned in them; but united
to God by faith and love they behold in themselves nothing but
disorder. They despise themselves still more by comparison with
those who pass for saints, and who, besides adapting themselves
with facility to rules and methods show nothing irregular either
in their persons or actions. Therefore their own short-comings in
this respect fill them with confusion, and are unbearable to them.
It is on this account that they give way to sighs and tears,
marking the grief with which they are oppressed.
Let us remember
that Jesus Christ was both God and man; as man He was destroyed,
and as God He remained full of glory. These souls have no
participation in His glory, but they share in the sadness and
misery of His sufferings. Men regard them in the same way as Herod
and his court regarded Jesus Christ. These poor souls, therefore,
are nourished as to their senses and mind, with a most disgusting
food, in which they can find no pleasure. They aspire to something
quite different, but all the avenues leading to the sanctity they
so much desire, remain closed to them. They must live on this
bread of suffering, on this bread mingled with ashes, with a
continual shrinking both exterior and interior. They have formed
an idea of saintliness which gives them constant and irremediable
torment. The will hungers for it, but is powerless to practise it.
Why should this be, except to mortify the soul in that which is
its most spiritual and intimate part, which, finding no
satisfaction or pleasure in anything that happens to it, must
needs place all its affection in God who conducts it this way for
the express purpose of preventing it taking pleasure in anything
but Him alone.
It seems to me that it is easy to conclude from all this that
souls abandoned to God cannot occupy themselves, as others do,
with desires, examinations, cares, or attachments to certain
persons. Neither can they form plans, nor lay down methodical
rules for their actions, or for reading This would imply that they
still had power to dispose of themselves, which would entirely
exclude the state of abandonment in which they are placed.
state they give up to God all their rights over themselves, over
their words, actions, thoughts, and proceedings; over the
employment of their time and everything connected with it. There
remains only one desire, to satisfy the Master they have chosen,
to listen unceasingly to the expression of His will in order to
execute it immediately. No condition can better represent this
state than that of a servant who obeys every order he receives,
and does not occupy his time in attending to his own affairs;
these he neglects in order to serve His Master at every moment.
These souls then should not be distressed at their powerlessness;
they are able to do much in being able to give themselves entirely
to a Master who is all-powerful, and able to work wonders with the
feeblest of instruments if they offer no resistance.
Let us, then, endure without annoyance the humiliations entailed
on us in our own eyes, and in the eyes of others, by what shows
outwardly in our lives; or rather, let us conceal ourselves behind
these outward appearances and enjoy God who is all ours. Let us
profit by this apparent failure, by these requirements, by this
care-taking and the necessity of constant nourishment, and of
comfort; of our ill-success, of the contempt of others, of these
fears, uncertainties, troubles, etc., to find all our wealth and
happiness in God, who, by these means, gives Himself entirely to
us as our only good.
God wishes to be ours in a poor way, without all those accessories
of sanctity which make others to be admired, and this is because
God would have Himself to be the sole food of our souls, the only
object of our desires. We are so weak that if we displayed the
virtues of zeal, almsgiving, poverty, and austerity, we should
make them subjects for vainglory. But as it is, everything is
disagreeable in order that God may be our whole sanctification,
our whole support, so that the world despises us, and leaves us to
enjoy our treasure in peace.
God desires to be the principle of all that is holy in us, and
therefore what depends on ourselves and on our active fidelity is
very small, and appears quite contrary to sanctity. There cannot
be anything great in us in the sight of God except our passive
Therefore let us think of it no more, let us leave the care of our
sanctification to God who well knows how to effect it. It all
depends on the watchful care, and particular operation of divine
Providence, and is accomplished in a great measure without our
knowledge, and even in a way that is unexpected, and disagreeable
Let us fulfil peacefully the little duties of our active fidelity,
without aspiring to those that are greater, because God does not
give Himself to us by reason of our own efforts. We shall become
saints of God, of His grace, and of His special providence. He
knows what rank to give us, let us leave it to Him, and without
forming to ourselves false ideas, and empty systems of sanctity,
let us content ourselves with loving Him unceasingly, and in
pursuing with simplicity the path He has marked out for us, where
all is so mean and paltry in our eyes, and in the estimation of