You so earnestly desire that I describe the method by which I
arrived at that habitual sense of God's presence, which our
merciful Lord has been pleased to grant me. I am complying with
your request with my request that you show my letter to no one. If
I knew that you would let it be seen, all the desire I have for
your spiritual progress would not be enough to make me comply.
The account I can give you is: Having found in many books
different methods of going to God and divers practices of the
spiritual life, I thought this would serve rather to puzzle me
than facilitate what I sought after, which was nothing but how to
become wholly God's. This made me resolve to give the all for the
All. After having given myself wholly to God, to make all the
satisfaction I could for my sins, I renounced, for the love of
Him, everything that was not He, and I began to live as if there
was none but He and I in the world.
Sometimes I considered myself before Him as a poor criminal at the
feet of his judge. At other times I beheld Him in my heart as my
Father, as my God. I worshipped Him the oftenest I could, keeping
my mind in His holy presence and recalling it as often as I found
it wandered from Him. I made this my business, not only at the
appointed times of prayer but all the time; every hour, every
minute, even in the height of my work, I drove from my mind
everything that interrupted my thoughts of God.
I found no small pain in this exercise. Yet I continued it,
notwithstanding all the difficulties that occurred. And I tried
not to trouble or disquiet myself when my mind wandered. Such has
been my common practice ever since I entered religious life.
Though I have done it very imperfectly, I have found great
advantages by it. These, I well know, are to be imputed to the
mercy and goodness of God because we can do nothing without Him;
and I still less than any.
When we are faithful to keep ourselves in His holy presence, and set Him always before us, this hinders our offending Him and doing anything that may displease Him. It also begets in us a holy freedom, and, if I may so speak, a familiarity with God, where, when we ask, He supplies the grace we need. Over time, by often repeating these acts, they become habitual, and the presence of God becomes quite natural to us.
Please give Him thanks with me for His great goodness towards me, which I can never sufficiently express, and for the many favors He has done for so miserable a sinner as I am. May all things praise Him. Amen.