At the end of the little work which I wrote on the Marks of true
devotion, I promised to write another under the title of Spiritual
Maxims, in which I would explain in more detail the means for
practising that devotion. The following work is the result.
I have put these Maxims in the form of verse in order that they
may be more readily grasped and retained. To the Maxims I have
added explanations which develop their meaning and show their
importance and solidity, and enable me to enter into certain
elucidations which I have judged necessary. These explanations
will be short, considering the vast extent of these questions
which embrace almost the whole of the spiritual life; but I have
endeavoured to make them clear and adequate. It has not been my
intention to write a big book, but one which would be easily
accessible to all, and not so long as to discourage the reader.
For the sake of those who have not the other work, in the second
Maxim I give a brief summary of the nature of devotion. But
although I present it as fundamentally the same, yet it is under
another aspect, so that it will appear new even to those who have
read the former book.***
If I am obliged sometimes to say things that perhaps will not be
understood by everybody, let them be assured that by putting these
principles into practice they will in time arrive at an
understanding of them. The great master of the interior life is
experience. To know the interior way well, one must walk in it.
One's understanding grows in proportion to the progress made.
Let no one be frightened by the name the interior way. All
Christians must be interior. The kingdom of God is within you,
said Our Lord. Anyone in whom God has not established this
interior kingdom cannot be but an imperfect Christian.
Finally, let me protest that my intentions are altogether in
accordance with the Church's teaching. Indeed, I have no wish but
to teach what Our Lord himself taught and practised. In speaking,
although with caution, of the passive way and of certain states
out of the ordinary, it is possible that I may not have explained
myself with sufficient clarity and precision. But who can hope to
explain matters of such delicacy in a way that leaves nothing to
be desired? I trust I will be believed when I say that I abhor all
kinds of Quietism, and anything that might lead to it.
[Note: For obvious reasons, we have not attempted to translate
literally the verse in which our author has expressed his Maxims.
We may add that the chapter-headings briefly summarize the subject
matter treated in the explanations which follow. They are not in