On the Proof of a True Lover
CHRIST. My son, you are not yet a brave and wise lover.
THE DISCIPLE. Why, Lord?
CHRIST. Because as soon as you encounter a little trouble, you abandon what you have begun, and eagerly seek for comfort. A brave lover stands firm in temptation, and pays no heed to the crafty arguments of the Devil. He is as true to Me in trouble as in prosperity.(Phil.4:12)
A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover, as the love of the giver. He esteems the affection above the gift, and values every gift far below the Beloved. A noble lover is not content with a gift, but desires Myself above all gifts. All is not lost, therefore, if sometimes you do not feel that devotion to Me and My Saints that you desire. The good and pleasant affection which you sometimes enjoy is the effect of My grace in you, and is a foretaste of your heavenly home; but do not rely on it too much, for it comes and goes. To fight against evil thoughts as they occur, and to reject with scorn the suggestions of the Devil, is a noteworthy sign of virtue and merit.
Let no strange fancies disturb you, from whatever source they spring. Hold to your purpose bravely, and keep an upright intent towards God. It is no illusion if you are sometimes rapt out of yourself, yet swiftly return to the usual trivial thoughts of men. For these are involuntary rather than deliberate, and as long as they do not please you, can be turned to your gain and not your loss.
You may be sure that the old Enemy is working by every means to frustrate your desire for good, and to entice you away from every spiritual exercise of devotion; from veneration of the Saints, from devout meditation on My Passion, from profitable examination of your sins, from the guard of your heart, and from the firm resolve to grow in holiness. He suggests many evil thoughts to discourage you, and to draw you away from holy reading and prayer. Humble Confession is hateful to him, and if he could, he would make you give up Communion. Do not listen to him or believe him, however often he tries to entrap you. Charge him with it, when he suggests evil and unholy things. Say to him, `Away, unclean spirit!(Matt.4:10) Blush for shame, wretch! You are foul indeed to speak of these things! Off with you, most evil of liars! You shall have no part in me. Jesus will be with me like a mighty warrior, and you will stand confounded.(Jer.20:11) I would rather die and suffer any torture than consent to you. Be silent, and shut your mouth! I will listen to you no longer, however often you pester me.' `The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear?(Ps. 27:1) `Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not be afraid. (Ps. 27:3) `The Lord is my helper and redeemer.'(Ps.19:14)
Give battle, like a good soldier,(2Tim.2:3) and if through weakness you sometimes fall, take greater strength than before and put your trust in My more abundant grace. Be also on your guard against vain complacency and conceit, for this leads many into error, and causes almost incurable blindness of heart. Let the overthrow of the proud, who presumed in their own strength, be a warning to you and keep you always humble.
Chapter 42 Table of Contents Chapter 44