Section 6 - Supernatural Prudence.
The soul, in the state of abandonment, does not fear its enemies,
but finds in them useful helps.
I fear more my own action and that of my
friends than that of my enemies. There is no prudence so great as
that which offers no resistance to enemies, and which opposes to
them only a simple abandonment. This is to run before the wind,
and as there is nothing else to be done, to keep quiet and
peaceful. There is nothing that is more entirely opposed to
worldly prudence than simplicity; it turns aside all schemes
without comprehending them, without so much as a thought about
them. The divine action makes the soul take such just measures as
to surprise those who want to take it by surprise themselves. It
profits by all their efforts, and is raised by the very things
that are done to lower it. They are the galley slaves who bring
the ship into port with hard rowing. All obstacles turn to the
good of this soul, and by allowing its enemies a free hand, it
obtains a continual service, so sufficing that all it has to fear
is lest it should itself take part in a work of which God would be
principal, and His enemies the agents, and in which it has nothing
to do but to peacefully observe the work of God, and to follow
with simplicity the attractions He gives it. The supernatural
prudence of the Divine Spirit, the principle of these attractions,
infallibly attains its end; and the precise circumstances of each
event are so applied to the soul, without its perception, that
everything opposed to them cannot fail to be destroyed
Section 7 - Conviction of Weakness.
The soul in the state of abandonment can abstain from justifying
itself by word or deed. The divine action justifies it.
This order of the divine will is the solid
and firm rock on which the submissive soul reposes, sheltered from
change and tempest. It is continually present under the veil of
crosses; and of the most ordinary actions. Behind this veil the
hand of God is hidden to sustain and to support those who abandon
themselves entirely to Him.
From the time that a soul becomes
firmly established in abandonment, it will be protected from the
opposition of talkers, for it need not ever say or do anything in
self-defence. Since the work is of God, justification must never
be sought elsewhere. Its effects and its consequences are
justification enough. There is nothing but to let it develop "Dies
diei eructat verbum"; "Day to day uttereth speech" (Ps xviii. 3).
When one is no longer guided by reflexion, words must no longer be
used in self-defence. Our words can only express our thoughts;
where no ideas are supposed to exist, words cannot be used. Of
what use would they be? To give a satisfactory explanation of our
conduct? But we cannot explain that of which we know nothing for
it is hidden in the principle of our actions, and we have
experienced nothing but an impression, and that in an ineffable
manner. We must, therefore, let the results justify their
All the links of this divine chain remain firm and solid, and the
reason of that which precedes as cause is seen in that which
follows as effect. It is no longer a life of dreams, a life of
imaginations, a life of a multiplicity of words. The soul is no
longer occupied with these things, nor nourished and maintained in
this way; they are no longer of any avail, and afford no support.
The soul no longer sees where it is going, nor foresees where it
will go; reflexions no longer help it to gain courage to endure
fatigue, and to sustain the hardships of the way. All this is
swept aside by an interior conviction of weakness. The road widens
as it advances; it has started, and goes on without hesitation.
Being perfectly simple and straightforward, it follows the path of
God's commandments quietly, relying on God Himself whom it finds
at every step, and God, whom it seeks above all things, takes upon
Himself to manifest His presence in such a way as to avenge it on
its unjust detractors.
Section 8 - Self-guidance a Mistake.
God imparts to the soul in the state of abandonment by means which
seem more likely to destroy it.
There is a time when God would be the life
of the soul, and Himself accomplish its perfection in secret and
unknown ways. Then all its own ideas, lights, industries,
examinations, and reasonings become sources of illusion. After
many experiences of the sad consequences of self-guidance, the
soul recognising its uselessness, and finding that God has hidden
and confused all the issues, is forced to fly to Him to find life.
Then, convinced of its nothingness and of the harmfulness of all
that it derives from itself, it abandons itself to God to gain all
from Him. It is then that God becomes the source of its life, not
by means of ideas, lights, or reflexions, for all this is no
longer anything to it but a source of illusion; but in reality,
and by His grace, which is hidden under the strangest appearances.
The divine operation, unknown to the soul, communicates its virtue
and substance by many circumstances that the soul believes will be
its destruction. There is no cure for this ignorance, it must be
allowed its course. God gives Himself therein, and with Himself,
he gives all things in the obscurity of faith. The soul is but a
blind subject, or, in other words, it is like a sick person who
knows nothing of the properties of remedies and tastes only their
bitterness. He often imagines that what is given him will be his
death; the pain and weakness which result seem to justify his
fears; nevertheless it is under the semblance of death that his
health is restored, and he takes the medicines on the word of the
In the same way the submissive soul is in no way
pre-occupied about its infirmities, except as regards obvious
maladies which by their nature compel it to rest; and to take
suitable remedies. The languor and weakness of souls in the state
of abandonment are only illusory appearances which they ought to
defy with confidence. God sends them, or permits them in order to
give opportunities for the exercise of faith and abandonment which
are the true remedies.
Without paying the least attention to them,
these souls should generously pursue their way, following by their
actions and sufferings the order of God, making use without
hesitation of the body as though it were a horse on hire, which is
intended to be driven until it is worn out. This is better than
thinking of health so much as to harm the soul.
A courageous spirit does much to maintain a feeble body, and one
year of a life spent in so noble and generous a manner is of more
value than would be a century of care-taking and nervous fears.
One ought to be able to show outwardly that one is in a state of
grace and goodwill. What is there to be afraid of in fulfilling
the divine will?
The conduct of one who is upheld and
sustained by it should show nothing exteriorly but what is heroic.
The terrifying experiences that have to be encountered are really
nothing. They are only sent that life may be adorned with more
glorious victories. The divine will involves the soul in troubles
of every kind, where human prudence can neither see nor imagine
any outlet. It then feels all its weakness, and, finding out its
shortcomings, is confounded.
The divine will then asserts itself in all
its power to those who give themselves to it without reserve. It
succours them more marvellously than the writers of fiction, in
the fertility of their imagination, unravel the intrigues and
perils of their imaginary heroes, and bring them to a happy end.
With a much more admirable skill, and much
more happily, does the divine will guide the soul through deadly
perils and monsters, even through the fires of hell with their
demons and sufferings. It raises souls to the heights of heaven,
and makes them the subjects of histories both real and mystical,
more beautiful, and more extraordinary than any invented by the
vain imagination of man.
On then, my soul, through perils and monsters, guided and
sustained by that mighty invisible hand of divine Providence. On,
without fear, to the end, in peace and joy, and make all the
incidents of life occasions of fresh victories. We march under His
Standard, to fight and to conquer; "exivit vincens ut vinceret";
"He went forth conquering that he might conquer" (Apocal. vi. 2).
As many steps as we take under His command will be the triumphs we
gain. The Holy Spirit of God writes in an open book this sacred
history which is not yet finished, nor will be till the end of the
world. This history contains an account of the guidance and
designs of God with regard to men. It remains for us to figure in
this history, and to continue the thread of it by the union of our
actions and sufferings with His will. No! It is not to cause the
loss of our souls that we have so much to do, and to suffer; but
that we may furnish matter for that holy writing which is added to
day by day.