Counsels on the Inner Life
'The Kingdom of God is within you,(Luke 17:21) says Our Lord. Turn to the Lord with all your heart,(Joel 2:12) forsake this sorry world, and your soul shall find rest (Matt.11:29). Learn to turn from worldly things, and give yourself to spiritual things, and you will see the Kingdom of God come within you. For the Kingdom is peace and joy in the Holy Spirit;(Rom.14:17) these are not granted to the wicked. Christ will come to you, and impart his consolations to you, if you prepare a worthy dwelling for Him in your heart. All true glory and beauty is within,(Ps.45:14) and there He delights to dwell. He often visits the spiritual man, and holds sweet discourse with him, granting him refreshing grace, great peace, and friendship exceeding all expectation.
Come then, faithful soul; prepare your heart for your Divine Spouse, that He may deign to come to you and dwell with you. For He says, `If any man love Me, he will keep My word; and We will come and make Our abode with him(John 14:23). Therefore welcome Christ, and deny entrance to all others. When you possess Christ, you are amply rich, and He will satisfy you. He will dispose and provide for you faithfully in everything, so that you need not rely on man. For men soonchange and fail you; but Christ abides for ever,(John 12:34) and stands firmly by you to the end.
Never place your whole trust and reliance in weak and mortal man, however helpful and dear to you he may be; nor should you grieve overmuch if sometimes he opposes and contradicts you. Those who take your part today may tomorrow oppose you; for men are as changeable as the weather. Put your whole trust in God;(Prov 3:5; I Pet.5:7) direct your worship and love to Him alone. He will defend you, and will dispose all things for the best. Here you have no abiding city,(Heb 13:14) and wherever you may be, you are a stranger and pilgrim;(Heb 11:13) you will never enjoy peace until you become inwardly united to Christ.
What do you seek here, since this world is not your resting place? Your true home is in Heaven;(Phil.3:20) therefore remember that all the things of this world are transitory. All things are passing, and yourself with them. See that you do not cling to them, lest you become entangled and perish with them. Let all your thoughts be with the Most High, and direct your humble prayers unceasingly to Christ. If you cannot contemplate high and heavenly things, take refuge in the Passion of Christ, and love to dwell within His Sacred Wounds. For if you devoutly seek the Wounds of Jesus and the precious marks of His Passion, you will find great strength in all troubles. And if men despise you, you will care little, having small regard for the words of your detractors.
Christ Himself was despised by men, and in His direst need was abandoned by his friends and acquaintances to the insults of His enemies. Christ was willing to suffer and to be despised; and do you presume to complain? Christ had enemies and slanderers; and do you expect all men to be your friends and benefactors? How will your patience be crowned, if you are not willing to endure hardship? Suffer with Christ, and for Christ, if you wish to reign with Christ (2 Tim.2:12).
Had you but once entered perfectly into the Heart of Jesus and tasted something of His burning love, you would care nothing for your own gain or loss; for the love of Jesus causes a man to regard himself very humbly. The true, inward lover of Jesus and the Truth, who is free from inordinate desires,can turn freely to God, rise above self, and joyfully rest in God.
He who knows all things at their true worth, and not as they are said or reputed to be, is truly wise,(Isa.54:13) for his knowledge comes from God, and not from man. He who walks by an inner light, and is not unduly influenced by outward things, needs no special time or place for his prayers. For the man of inner life easily recollects himself, since he is never wholly immersed in outward affairs. Therefore his outward occupations and needful tasks do not distract him, and he adjusts himself to things as they come. The man whose inner life is well-ordered and disposed is not troubled by the strange and perverse ways of others; for a man is hindered and distracted by such things only so far as he allows himself to be concerned by them.
If your inner life were rightly ordered and your heart pure, all things would turn to your good and advantage (Rom. 8:28). As it is, you are often displeased and disturbed, because you are not yet completely dead to self, nor detached from all worldly things. Nothing defiles and ensnares the heart of man more than a selfish love of creatures. If you renounce all outward consolation, you will be able to contemplate heavenly things, and often experience great joy of heart.
Chapter 25 Table of Contents Chapter 27