Section 9 - Divine Love, the Principle of All Good.
To those who follow this path, divine love is all-sufficing.
While despoiling of all things those souls
who give themselves entirely to Him, God gives them something in
place of them. Instead of light, wisdom, life, and strength, He
gives them His love.
The divine love in these souls is like a
supernatural instinct. In nature, each thing contains that which
is suitable to its kind. Each flower has its special beauty, each
animal its instinct, and each creature its perfection. Also in the
different states of grace, each has a special grace.
This is the
recompense for everyone who accepts with goodwill the state in
which he is placed by Providence. A soul comes under the divine
action from the moment that a habit of goodwill is formed within
it, and this action influences it more or less according to its
degree of abandonment. The whole art of abandonment is simply that
of loving, and the divine action is nothing else than the action
of divine love.
How can it be that these two loves seeking each
other should do otherwise than unite when they meet? How can the
divine love refuse aught to a soul whose every desire it directs?
And how can a soul that lives only for Him refuse Him anything?
Love can refuse nothing that love desires, nor desire anything
that love refuses. The divine action regards only the goodwill;
the capability of the other faculties does not attract it, nor
does the want of capability repel it. All that it requires is a
heart that is good, pure, just, simple, submissive, filial, and
It takes possession of such a heart, and of all its
faculties, and so arranges everything for its benefit that it
finds in all things its sanctification. That which destroys other
souls would find in this soul an antidote of goodwill which would
nullify its poison. Even at the edge of a precipice the divine
action would draw it back, or even if it were allowed to remain
there it would prevent it from falling; and if it fell, it would
rescue it. After all, the faults of such a soul are only faults of
frailty; love takes but little notice of them, and well knows how
to turn them to advantage.
It makes the soul understand by secret
suggestions what it ought to say, or to do, according to
circumstances. These suggestions it receives as rays of light from
the divine understanding : "intellectus bonus omnibus facientibus
eum"; "A good understanding to all that do it" (Ps. cx. 10), for
this divine understanding accompanies such souls step by step, and
prevents them taking those false steps which their simplicity
If they make arrangements which would involve them in
some promise prejudicial to them, divine Providence arranges some
fortunate occurrence which rectifies everything. In vain are
schemes formed against them repeatedly; divine Providence cuts all
the knots, brings the authors to confusion, and so turns their
heads as to make them fall into their own trap. Under its guidance
those souls that they wish to take by surprise do certain things
that seem very useless at the time, but that serve afterwards to
deliver them from all the troubles into which their uprightness
and the malice of their enemies would have plunged them.
good policy it is to have goodwill! What prudence there is in
simplicity! What ability in its innocence and candour! What
mysteries and secrets in its straightforwardness! Look at the
youthful Tobias; he is but a lad, yet with what confidence he
proceeds, having the archangel Raphael for his guide. Nothing
frightens him, nothing is wanting to him. The very monsters he
encounters furnish him with food and remedies; the one that rushes
forward to devour him becomes itself his sustenance. By the order
of Providence he has nothing to attend to but feasts and weddings,
everything else is left to the management of the guiding spirit
appointed to help him.
These things are so well managed that never
before have they been so successful, nor so blessed and
prosperous. However, his mother weeps, and is in great distress at
his supposed loss, but his father remains full of faith. The son,
so bitterly mourned returns to rejoice his family and to share
Divine love then, is to those who give themselves up to it
without reserve, the principle of all good. To acquire this
inestimable treasure the only thing necessary is greatly to desire
it. Yes, God only asks for love, and if you seek this treasure,
this kingdom in which God reigns alone, you will find it. If your
heart is entirely devoted to God, it is itself, for that very
reason, the treasure and the kingdom that you seek and desire.
From the time that one desires God and His holy will, one enjoys
God and His will, and this enjoyment corresponds to the ardour of
To desire to love God is truly to love Him, and
because we love Him we wish to become instruments of His action in
order that His love may be exercised in, and by us: The divine
action does not correspond to the aims of a saintly and simple
soul, nor to the steps it takes, nor to the projects it forms, nor
to the manner in which it reflects, nor to the means it chooses,
nor to the purity of its intention. It often happens that the soul
can be deceived in all this, but its good intention and
uprightness can never deceive it. Provided that God perceives in
it a good intention, He can dispense with all the rest, and He
holds as done for Him what it will eventually do when truer ideas
second its goodwill.
Goodwill, therefore, has nothing to fear. If it fall, it can only
do so under the almighty hand which guides and sustains it in all
its wanderings. It is this divine hand which turns it again to
face the goal from which it has strayed; which replaces it in the
right path when it has wandered. In it the soul finds resources
for the deviations to which the blind faculties which deceive it,
render it subject. It is made to feel how much it ought to despise
them, and to rely on God alone, abandoning itself absolutely to
His infallible guidance.
The failings into which good souls fall are
put an end to by abandonment. Never can goodwill be taken
unawares. That all things work for its good is an article of