The weariness, aversion and aridity frequently experienced by you are the usual vicissitudes through which souls seeking God are wont to pass.
We should have small merit and little ability to show God our fidelity, if interior grace took charge of us and gave us throughout consolations that we could feel. The one thing needed is to be faithful in every duty and every interior and exterior experience known to our spiritual state, in dryness and aversions no less than in delights and sensible consolations. The merit is only the greater if at such times everything has to be done with effort and extreme repugnance. Only thus can our love of God be wholly rid of that miserable self-love which, to quote Saint Francis de Sales, by its intrusive meddling, spoils everything.
In prayer there can be a gentle and pleasurable peace. But that peace can be also bitter and barren and even sorrowful. God can effect more in our soul by the latter than by the former, liable as it is to the activities of self-love. Thus, self-abandonment is necessary in this matter as in all others. Leave him to act he knows our need better than we. We have but one thing to fear lest we voluntarily allow ourselves to go astray. To avoid the risk of this we have only to wish exactly what God wills at every hour, at every moment, and in every happening of the day. The surest, swiftest, and, I venture to say, the sole way of perfection lies in that. Everything else is fable to illusion, pride, and self-love.
To conclude: gently and without too much effort learn to refrain from those lengthy reasonings with which your mind is busied during prayer, and incline rather to loving aspirations, to simple rest and delight in God. This, however, need not prevent you from dwelling for a little time on good thoughts when their nature is sweet, simple, and peaceful, and when they seem to be spontaneous.
Father Jean Pierre de Caussade, S.J. "How the Seed of the Kingdom Grows in Us." excerpt from The Joy of Full Surrender (Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2008).
Reprinted with permission from Paraclete Press.
This excerpt appeared in Magnificat.
Father Jean Pierre de Caussade, S.J. (1675-1751) was a French Jesuit priest and writer known for his work Abandonment to Divine Providence (also translated as The Joy of Full Surrender) and his posthumously-published letters of instruction to the Nuns of the Visitation at Nancy, Spiritual Letters of Jean-Pierre De Caussade, where he was spiritual director from 1733-1740. He also spent years as preacher in southern and central France, as a college rector (at Perpignan and at Albi), and as the director of theological students at the Jesuit house in Toulouse.Copyright © 2008 Paraclete Press
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