THE SECOND BOOK:
ADMONITIONS USEFUL FOR THE IMITATION OF THE MOST
SACRED HEART OF JESUS IN HIS ACTIVE LIFE
CHAPTER IX. THAT AT THE CIRCUMCISION, THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS
TEACHES US MORTIFICATION OF THE HEART
1. The voice of Disciple.-----Scarcely yet art Thou come among us, O Thou the delight of Heaven, sweet Jesus! and behold! Thou pourest out Thy Blood! Disclose to me, I pray, what was the design of Thy Heart therein: show me, I entreat Thee, what were then the feelings of Thy Heart. For, whatsoever, Thy Heart feels, I also long to feel.
The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, thou oughtest to be so disposed, as not to stop at the things which thou perceivest by the senses; but so as to go forward even unto My very Heart.
Attend then, and consider how mortified is My Heart. I knew well that I was not at all bound by the law of Circumcision; that, by complying therewith, I should be reckoned among sinners, lowered before men; that My Body should undergo sufferings, and My Soul debasement; but My Heart, moved by the Divine Will, enkindled by love as with a living flame, overcame all this.
Understand, My Child, the inner sentiments of My Heart, and be mindful of putting on the same.
All things were well-ordered in My Heart; there is naught inordinate in My whole Humanity. Yet, I did never act from a mere inclination of My human nature.
This I either overcame or passed by, and in all things, even those which were natural, I acted ever from a supernatural principle.
Whether the things, to be done or undergone, were pleasing or displeasing to the feelings of human nature; this was never the cause, or reason, why I did either embrace or shun them.
I was ever moved by the Divine Will to do and suffer, with a willing Heart, all things that were according to the Divine good pleasure.
2. Behold, My Child, the example which thou must follow, if thou desirest to be a true Disciple of My Heart.
If thou lookest well into thy heart, thou shalt find it divided, as it were, into two parts, each of which is anxious to sway it.
One of these, a sensual propensity, is called the inferior; the other, a rational inclination, the superior part. The former is especially vitiated by Original Sin: the latter is still guided by a supernal ray.
With the first, the spirit of evil is wont to harmonize; the good Spirit, on the other hand, espouses the cause of the second.
The inferior part struggles to extend its sway over the whole heart, and maintain it by means of pride and self-love, the leaders of all other vices.
The superior part, through humility and charity-----which preside over the whole host of virtues-----desires, with perfect justice, to rule, to conquer and subdue, as its foe, the part opposed.
3. These two parts, My Child, are the two domestic enemies that hardly ever cease to war against each other, whose aims are opposite,-----that can be put down and subjugated, but never destroyed or exterminated.
The superior part, through the Divine favor, by the freedom of its will, possesses such strength that not only the inferior part, but the whole world and all Hell united, cannot force it to a surrender.
Therefore, the inferior part, together with the evil spirit, endeavors, by every possible means, to encompass, to disturb, to deceive, to worry the same. It tries every artifice: at one time violence, at another caresses; now perverseness, then uprightness; sometimes it shows itself an enemy, at others a friend.
Unless thou do carefully attend, thou wilt hardly be able to distinguish between them. Yet it is necessary to know them distinctly. For on this discernment depends the right governing of the heart; by it illusions are avoided, vain fears are made to disappear, inward peace is preserved and retained, even amid the greatest afflictions.
The more one part is mortified and subdued, the more the other is made to live and triumph.
4. The first thing, therefore, to be deadened in thy heart is that inferior part, the inordinate craving of nature, which is also called selfishness, or the spirit of nature. Against this thou must never cease to fight.
If, at any time, this enemy, frightened by thy bravery, be put to flight, or forced to conceal himself----until a more favorable opportunity presents itself----do thou diligently seek him out, and, when found, strike him down with fresh ardor.
Thou wilt know him by this mark, that he ever aims immoderately at what is either too high or too low, being ever carried off by an inordinate liking, or dislike, beyond the order which Divine Providence has established.
On the one hand, proud and wandering beyond his sphere, and relying on his own powers, he would fain search and look into the insearchable counsels of the Diety; and, although he does not fully comprehend aught of what is beneath him, yet, he would measure, by his own dullness and imbecility, the Wisdom, Power, and other perfections of God, which, in their very nature, are incomprehensible.
He struggles against admitting, what he does not both see and love.
He is ashamed and unwilling to own that he has erred: if it is proved, he grows stubborn, he seeks to be prominent; he shrinks from the thought of being surpassed, or brought under in anything.
He takes for granted that he can do everything: if he has brought something to a prosperous issue, he is wonderfully self-pleased, and boasts as if he had performed a miracle: has he done aught unsuccessfully? he murmurs, excuses himself, or throws the blame upon others.
He is not concerned about what he is in reality, but about what he may appear to be before others: he seeks to be esteemed: he is anxious that others should speak of him: he longs to possess the affection of men.
He gains enough, if he is praised: if no one praise him, he himself makes up the deficiency.
In himself, he either sees no faults, or he disguises them: in his neighbor, he descries them everywhere.
He is prone to despise others; to suspect many things, and to twist them into evil.
Hence, on the other hand, he is ever inclined to what is low: what pleases the flesh, what flatters the senses, what savors of the world, he loves, he relishes.
He judges matters according to his own propensity, not according to the reality of the things themselves.
As he has himself for an end, he seeks in everything his own convenience or pleasure: he even endeavors betimes to adapt things Divine to himself. For he undertakes occasionally to serve Me, whilst he desires to gratify himself.
Wherefore, he easily gives admittance to the Angel of darkness, who, taking the shape of an Angel of light, suggests to him many things apparently pious, beautifully thought, tenderly felt: all which increases his pride, and keeps up his self-love.
5. My Child, if this spirit of nature triumphs over the heart, it effects the ruin of the heart.
It behooves thee, therefore, to deaden this part of the heart, by resisting it, by going counter thereto, and by unceasingly repressing the same, as long as it remains vitiated or ill-ordered.
Do not think this hard, My Child: it is incomparably more easy and pleasant to subdue the same, and govern it when subdued, than to be ruled and tormented thereby.
6. But, since natural reason cannot, by itself, attain to a supernatural end, thou must likewise, by mortification, purify and elevate the superior part of the heart.
For, if thou actest from natural reason alone, thou canst thence gather no merit for life everlasting; nor wilt thou be called a Disciple of My Heart.
Thou must, then, mortify the whole heart, and subject it to grace; so that, in all things, it obeys the Divine good pleasure.
In thoughts, in words, in deeds, in sufferings, thou shouldst be moved by Divine grace, guided by a supernatural reason, directed to Me as thy end. Nowhere suffer thyself to be hurried into any
act, by the mere motion or impulse of nature; but follow grace, act according to My Spirit.
Use the powers of nature, not as causes or principles, but as means or instruments for things
7. This mortification of the heart-----which is the rule of the interior life, and the spirit of the Saints-----is that more useful and necessary mortification, whereby the roots of vices are plucked up, the dangers of temptations avoided, the very causes of inward troubles removed.
This holy mortification is to be practiced, not with fretfulness, harshness or anxiety, but with a tranquil and generous heart.
Now, My Child, in thy heart there are things so great and numerous to be mortified, and they lie so hidden from thee, that, unless enlightened by grace, thou couldst not so much as see them; and when thou seest them, unless strengthened by grace, thou mightst be overpowered by the sight of them.
Wherefore, thou must have recourse to prayer without intermission, that thou mayst obtain light and strength from above.
Then will I-----knowing that, as yet, thou art unable to bear the knowledge of all the imperfections of thy heart-----so gently order things, that thou mayst know and overcome them by degrees, since I will proportion the grace of strength to the grace of light.
And thou, My Child, must unremittingly be on thy guard, lest thou shut thy eyes to this light sent from above, or neglect to co-operate with this heaven-given strength. For this might be the beginning of thy downfall.
Be faithful: allow thyself to be led by grace in all and to all; and thou wilt experience such things as the Saints have experienced, whereby thou wilt doubtless come to My Heart, and God shall be exalted, and thou shalt be made holy; the more perfectly, the more closely thou shalt become assimilated to My Heart.
8. The voice of the Disciple.-----O most kind and sweet Jesus! how great is the goodness of Thy
Heart! Even to me unworthy, Thou hast made known the way of the interior life, wherein all the Saints walk with Thee.
Behold! my heart is ready to follow Thee in this holy way: guide me in truth, and teach me to do Thy good pleasure.
Too long have I followed the motion of nature: too long have I acted by natural propensity or aversion: I have led altogether too much of a natural life.
Grant me, I beseech Thee, Lord, to live henceforth by grace; to follow Thy Spirit in whatever I may have to do or suffer.
Grant that my heart, created by Thee, ransomed by the price of the Blood of Thy Heart, endowed by Thee, at its every pulsation, with new favors-----may at last, disengaged from creatures, soar to Thee, live for Thee alone, love Thee alone above all else.
CHAPTER X. THAT AFTER THE EXAMPLE OF THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS,
ADORED BY THE MAGI, WE SHOULD OVERCOME ALL HUMAN RESPECT
1. The voice of Jesus.-----Behold! My Child, the Magi had come from the East: and, entering the Cave, they found Me, an Infant, with Mary, My Virgin Mother.
Observe My Heart, and imitate Its disposition. Such as It was in the presence of My Own, such It is before strangers; as It was before shepherds of the lowest estate, so It is before Magi of the highest rank: I was not ashamed of the lowliness of My Birth, the obscurity of My condition, the practice of every virtue.
In this, My Heart does not regard the judgments of men, but, setting aside human respect, It pursues the things that please My Father.
2. Happy he, that imitates this fortitude of My Heart; that, with his heart undaunted, overcomes human respect!
For as My heavenly Father confessed Me, because I confessed Him; so, whosoever shall confess Me before men, him also will I confess before My Father.
But woe to him, that shall be ashamed before men of Me, of My teaching, of My example! Of him will I also be ashamed before My Father, the Angels, and men themselves, when I shall come in Majesty to judge.
3. What fearest thou, O man? Does not reason itself tell thee, that honor is due to virtue, dishonor to vice? why then dost thou dread to practice virtue, as if thou thoughtest it a disgrace?
Behold! beside God, none witness thy actions except Angels and men. Now, pray then, which of these shouldst thou mind?
The good Angels-----if thou boldly avowest thyself My servant-----will joyfully extol thy greatness of soul, and pray for the continuance of thy fortitude. And men, as well as the Saints in Heaven, as the wise and good upon earth, feeling similarly disposed in thy regard, will act in like manner.
Yea, the reprobate Angels, and foolish and wicked men, will admire thee, at least inwardly, in spite of themselves, although outwardly they speak against thee, to hide their own faint-heartedness and cowardice. Oughtest thou to heed the false judgments and idle talk of these? Wouldst thou be reckoned among these, and become a partaker of their lot?
Were all men to talk about thee, wouldst thou be different from what thou art? Thou art just what thou art before Me, My Child; nor can the tongues of all creatures make thee greater or smaller.
4. Who is he that can be pleasing to all? None; neither could I Myself obtain this. Do not, then, attempt what is impossible.
Strive to please Me, as much as thou art able; and, in this holy endeavor, care not for what the world may think concerning thee.
If thou art still guided by a regard for men; it is plain that thou hast not yet learnt humility and charity of My Heart.
Whosoever is humble of heart, and impelled by Divine love, desires not to please men; nor fears he to displease them, when he cannot otherwise satisfy Me.
Neither stands he in dread of the judgments and scoffs of the world, but he keeps his countenance, and goes his way; and, if My honor requires it, he utters his opinion with a holy freedom.
He does nothing that he may be seen, he omits nothing through fear of being seen: he cares naught whether he be praised or blamed by a foolish world; whether he be esteemed much or little.
The world is for him, as if it were not: Me alone he has in view, since he knows that to Me everything is due; to Me he loves to refer all, by whom alone he can and will be approved and rewarded as he deserves.
But it is no wonder, that whosoever gratifies pride and self-love, becomes the slave of human respect.
For surely none is more a slave, than he that is swayed by human respect; since he has as many masters, as he sees men.
Meanwhile such a one will do nothing worthy of Me-----worthy of his own perfection.
5. My Child, wheresoever thou mayst be, whether living in the world, or secluded from the world, beware of human respect. This vice is met everywhere, not only among people of the world, but even among religious: from the world it enters into the sanctuary, and there it stands an abomination in the Holy of Holies.
Many, deceiving themselves, under the semblance of charity or prudence, yield to human respect: and were they to look properly into themselves, they would discover, that it is not the virtue of charity or prudence, but the vail of timid pride and self-love.
The voice of the Disciple.-----Yet, Lord, is it proper always and everywhere, publicly to proclaim virtue, and to profess it openly? If so, I pray Thee, how is this to be done? if not, what rule should be followed?
The voice of Jesus.-----Sometimes, My Child, it is not expedient rashly to expose piety; but never and nowhere is it allowed to betray piety.
In the practice of virtue, it is a sure and safe rule, to consider not one's own, but the Divine honor; not to neglect the open profession of virtue, simply to avoid thy own confusion; but to omit its open profession, when My honor or glory might suffer in consequence.
6. In general, My Child, in whatever place thou mayst be, if, inasmuch as this rule allows, thou beginnest at once openly to practice virtue, it will not only give Me great honor, but also prove very advantageous to thyself. For thus the good and the wicked, as well as the fervent and the lukewarm, shall know thee; the first will seek thy company, and sustain thee: the last will let thee alone, and not ensnare thee.
If any there be who do find fault with thy conscientiously free and noble-souled deportment, be not, therefore, troubled or cast down; but call to mind, that if, to the in jury of thy conscience, thou didst still seek to please men, thou shouldst not be the servant of God, nor a Disciple of My Heart.
Besides, what would it avail, to be blamed by none, and to be pleasing to all? Couldst thou in the end be defended by mortal man, when I will be thy Judge? or couldst thou be saved, whilst I condemn thee?
What will be the feelings, after death, before Me, their Judge, of those cowardly souls, that, through human respect, placed during life the opinions of a foolish world before My judgments, and betrayed My cause?
Alas! how many reprobates has human respect made, whose lot, had they spurned it, should now be among the Saints!
7. Believe me, Child, it is every way better to regard My judgments, rather than those of men: if thou art pleasing to Me, that is enough for thee; to please men alone, is simple vanity, mere mockery.
Cheer up thy courage, My Child, look down upon the false sayings of men, that fly through the air, and only reach those who grasp them for themselves.
If thou dost once fully learn to raise thyself above every human respect, thou wilt hardly be again annoyed by it, and, thyself consistent, thou wilt pity the madness of the world, and the silliness of men, who suffer themselves, in so slavish a manner, to be dragged to destruction.
And when thou hast come to this, that thou art no longer moved by any human respect, then, freed from a very great hindrance to salvation and perfection, thou shalt safely advance in the way of virtue.
8. The voice of the Disciple.-----How true, how holy a doctrine Thou teachest, good Master, sweet Jesus! Help me, I entreat Thee, to reduce it to practice.
I am justly ashamed, Lord, of my past cowardice, my faint-heartedness. Often did I blush or fear to do what my heart approved as good and worthy of honor: on the other hand, I did not blush to give way to human respect, which it acknowledged to be evil and unbecoming.
From a base fear of men's opinions, I have frequently betrayed Thy interests and Thy holy service, and thus rendered myself deserving of great shame and punishment.
Have mercy on me, my God, and forgive my offenses, whereby, through human respect, I have turned away from Thy Will, and chosen rather, despite my conscience, to follow the opinion of the world.
But now, mercifully recalled and taught by Thee, behold! I am resolved to follow Thee, the sole guide to eternal blessedness.
Let worldlings continue to call good, evil, and evil, good: let them still estimate honor by the changeable and worthless opinion of deluded men: let them still feed on vanity; from Thee I know, and hold with certainty, that to cleave to Thee, is unchangeably good; that to follow Thee, is truly honorable; that to enjoy Thee, most sweet Jesus, the fountain of life and of all good things, does really constitute bliss.
CHAPTER XI. THAT OF THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS, PRESENTED IN THE TEMPLE,
WE SHOULD LEARN TO HAVE IN ALL THINGS A RIGHT INTENTION
1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, when the days were accomplished, that they should present Me to the Lord, I offered Myself and all I had, to My heavenly Father, with a pure desire of pleasing Him.
Although, at My Incarnation, I had forever consecrated Myself and My whole life to My Father yet, I never omitted to dedicate to Him every particular action of My life, and keep in view His good
But, since a good intention is a matter of such importance in the interior life, that no one can be a true Disciple of My Heart without it, My Heart did not cease to show, teach, inculcate this by Its example.
Look at My life from its beginning unto the end: did My Heart anywhere please Itself? Did It seek the glory of the world?
In all My life, Child, can be found no act arising from the mere impulse of human nature, none from mere custom, none from mere necessity, none, finally, whether great or small, which did not spring from the motive of fulfilling the Divine Will, of pleasing the Divine Majesty.
2. How happy he that has put on this sentiment of My Heart! he is ever useful to himself, ever dear to Me, his Saviour-God.
What is that which is acceptable to Me? The inward affection, rather than the outward act; the intentions of the heart, rather than the fulfillment of the work. What do I reward forever? The fruit of grace, whereby thou art moved to act, and wherewith thou co-operatest, not the effect of nature-----whereby thou art stirred up, or which thou followest.
My grace moves the Will to do whatsoever things are by Me directly or indirectly commanded or desired. These I wish to be so done, that they be supernaturally good and meritorious: wherefore, to
do them, I give an actual grace, without which they could not be supernaturally good and meritorious. If, then, thou art induced to act by My Will or good pleasure, know, that thou art moved by grace, a supernatural principle.
But the end or intention of thy will forms the species of the act. Such as is thy intention, such will be the act that follows.
If thou hast a right intention, thou wilt, before and above all, intend and seek My good pleasure, Me-----thy end and supreme Good.
It sometimes happens, that the primary intention of all action is right, but that a wrong secondary intention creeps in. When this occurs, the goodness of the action indeed is not wholly destroyed, but is lessened in part: and the actor becomes guilty of so much, as there has been of ill-regulated or evil will, in the vitiated intention.
Behold! My Child, I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end: therefore, all things must be derived from Me-----be referred to Me.
If, then, thou wouldst be blamed, when thou dost not refer them to Me; how much more so, if thou turnest them aside to thyself, or to My enemy the world?
3. A precious thing, a wonderful virtue, My Child, is a right intention, whereby actions, although natural and indifferent in themselves, when done by means of grace, become, supernatural and meritorious. A marvelous secret, whereby lead, and brass, and other metals, are changed into pure gold.
Beware, however, lest thou fall into that quite common delusion which makes men fancy that, by substituting a good intention, they can render meritorious a work or action undertaken, not by grace, or by My Will, but from the sole motive of nature, aversion or inclination, or from self-will alone.
Follow thou, with a right aim, everything begun according to My good pleasure.
Of what avail is a work, how great or praiseworthy soever it may outwardly appear, to him that does it without a right intention?
On the other hand, that which is done with a pure intention, how little and lowly soever it may seem, becomes excellent, and altogether beneficial.
4. Would that men knew and practiced this art of acting rightly! How easily could they merit a bright crown in Heaven!
There are those who work much and gain little; who busy themselves about everything; who attempt many and various things, but, in the end, find themselves with almost empty hands; because, like irrational creatures, they act without an end, or pursue an end ill-ordered and unworthy.
How many there are, who exchange the fruit of their labors for an empty breath of praise or admiration; wherewith they ever long to feed their weary and hungry heart!
Behold! how many there are, who make so much of the smoke of vain glory, that they buy it at a price by which they might purchase for themselves the kingdom of endless glory.
Is there not an endless number of such madmen: Take heed, My Child, lest thou be reckoned among them.
There are others who appear to be doing little, and yet deserve to become very holy; these are they who think, that he does enough, who does the Will of God.
5. My Child, when thou devotest thyself to Me in exercises of piety, thou must place, even above these practices themselves, the intention of doing My good pleasure. Thus, whether thou feel est consolation or desolation, thou shalt remain calm, gather certain fruit, and honor Me.
If thou art engaged in works of duty or charity toward thy neighbor, let Me be the end of those works; for thus it will happen, that thou shalt never fail of thy reward, and that thou shalt lose nothing of thy peace-----whether thy neighbor be or be not improved.
If thou hast in view no other object except My sole good pleasure, thou shalt be contented and happy in every event; because thou knowest that I do not demand of thee, and will not crown in thee, aught save only thy good efficacious will; and that success depends upon Me, Who orders all things according to infinite Wisdom.
By means of a pure intention, thou art enabled to remain undisturbed and tranquil amid hardships, distresses, yea amid temptations themselves; for, since purity of intention raises thee before Me above sensible things, thou needest not to be annoyed by what thou feelest against thy will.
Finally, My Child, whether thou art in action or at rest, whether thou laborest or divertest thyself, whether thou art watching or sleeping, whether thou eatest or drinkest; whether, in short, thou art doing aught else, do all things, to follow My good pleasure, to be acceptable to Me; and, behold! a great and ever-increasing amount of merits will accrue to thee.
6. In the morning, thou must daily make a general intention, whereby everything to be done or
suffered during that day, is directed to this last end, that, for love of Me, thou mayst accomplish My Will, and thus please Me. This good, this holy intention, will give life to all things that follow, and will virtually continue to add vigor to them.
It is also of the greatest importance to renew, during the day, thy good intention before every action; nay more, when it can be done conveniently, to renew the same during the action.
But to do all things with a right end, it will be of very great help, to foresee occasions of meriting, dangers of losing-----virtues to be practiced, snares of pride and self-love to be avoided.
One and the same action may be directed to several and different proximate ends, which, directly or indirectly, tend to the salvation of thy own soul, or of thy neighbor, or to My honor. Whence thou mayst acquire a great treasure of merits, of which they, who act with no aim of this kind, are deprived.
Moreover, every action may be made up of several virtues: as thou practicest as many virtues as
thou intendest, and as to every act of virtue corresponds a new degree of present grace and future glory, it is easy to see how important a matter is this holy intention.
But, My Child, thou must take care that these things be not done with anxiety, with injury to inward freedom, or with the loss of peace: for, so far from being useful, they would, on the contrary, be hurtful.
Remember, lastly, that, inspired by the spirit of the same intention that animated Me, thou oughtest to unite all thy actions and sufferings with Mine, if, as a Disciple of My Heart, thou art desirous of acting in a manner worthy of so high a vocation.
7. My Child, vain self-love is so subtle that it can easily assume any shape, and thrust itself into all things.
Whence it will happen, that, unless thou be cautious, thou mayst be animated and led by that spirit of self, rather than by My own. Nor does human light or prudence suffice to distinguish this, since neither can, of itself, discern things supernatural; but a light from above, and the Divine assistance are needed.
Wherefore, thou must pray without ceasing, that thou mayst be enlightened from Heaven; and beg
fervently that thou mayst be helped by grace, whereby thou art enabled to tend, rightly and singly, above all things to Me.
8. The voice of the Disciple.-----I pray and beseech Thee, Lord Jesus, Author of all good, give Thou light to my mind, love to my heart, strength to my whole being, that I may ever rightly accomplish what is pleasing to Thee.
Grant me true earnestness, a holy intention, that, in all things, I may do Thy good pleasure, without turning to the right or to the left.
Suffer not that, henceforth, I be so foolish as to lose the merit of my actions, for the sake of grasping an airy phantom; nor so undutiful as to snatch away the glory which belongs to Thee!
Pour into my heart, I implore Thee, the purity of Thy Heart, that I may, above all else, direct my thoughts to Thee, find Thee, and repose in Thee my God, my beginning and my end, the centre and rest of my soul.
CHAPTER XII. OF THE FREEDOM OF HEART, WHICH THE MOST
SACRED HEART OF JESUS, IN HIS FLIGHT INTO EGYPT, TEACHES US
1. The voice of Jesus.-----Bebold, My Child, king Herod sought Me, a Child, that he might put Me to death. But Joseph, warned by an Angel, took Me and My Mother, by night, and retired into Egypt.
The unseasonable hour of the night, My tender age, the condition of My parents, the abandoning of My native land, the dwelling in a foreign country, the tarrying among infidels, whose manners were contrary to Mine, the poverty and obscureness of My life, drudgery and hardship, everything in fine, was suited to render the heart cheerless.
Yet, amid all this, My Heart remained so free, that neither time, nor place, nor men, nor any created objects whatsoever could render It captive.
2. My Child, strive, by every means in thy power, to imitate this holy freedom of My Heart.
My Heart, elevated above the reach of all else, was restrained by the good pleasure of My Father alone.
So also should thy heart, raised above all created objects, be held by the Divine Will alone.
The greatest freedom to which the heart of man can aspire is this, to be dependent upon no one, except its God.
This is that true, that perfect liberty, whereby man is nobly exalted, and elevated above his very Superiors, through whom, as the organs of God, he is pleased to have My Will made known.
Whosoever possesses this freedom is raised above every created power, above all the whims and fickleness of men-----above all the casual events of times, places, and circumstances; in so much, that, unless he betray himself, he can be enslaved by no created object.
But none can gain this privilege, unless he wholly devote to Me his heart, disengaged from every creature.
For, so long as thou inordinately desirest or fearest aught, so long will thy heart be fettered and embarrassed.
Thy heart will be a slave, so long as it follows its natural inclination in either direction, or seeks in anything, even in what is good, itself as its end.
There are those who, released from sin and the world, endeavor to be also released from themselves, that they may freely live for Me: who yet sigh in My service, as under a heavy yoke; because they suffer themselves to be insnared by a delusion, whereby they fancy Me a troublesome ruler, or a harsh master, ever bent on discovering something to punish.
These, assuredly, do Me great injustice, deter their neighbors from My service, and render them selves wretched to no purpose.
3. Am I not a Father? Where is there a father's heart like Mine? Who then is so much a father, as I am? A Father infinitely wise, Who knows everything-----what is useful, what is hurtful to My children: infinitely powerful, against Whose will no enemies, whether visible or invisible, can do the least harm to My children: infinitely good, Who love My children with a Heart burning with a Divine love, and long to turn all things, evil as well as good, to their advantage.
Wherefore, show in My service that thou art the worthy child of such a Father: and do not, by a most unseemly crime, conduct thyself as the servant of an overbearing master.
Do but keep the good will, of shunning whatsoever thou knowest is displeasing, and of doing whatsoever thou understandest is agreeable to Me: and then expand thy heart-----not, indeed, to the false freedom, the hard yoke of the children of the world, but to the true freedom, the sweet privilege of the children of My Heart.
4. This do I love, that My children enjoy a holy freedom; and I consider Myself greatly honored thereby.
Use, therefore, a becoming diligence to please Me, and be not anxious to know, whether in reality thou art pleasing to Me: but, setting aside all subtlety of the understanding, and all uneasiness of the will, throw thyself with confidence on My Heart. It cannot be otherwise than that, so far from being offended, I will rather be delighted with this freedom of heart, inspired by a pure and generous love.
Under My guidance, under My protection, under My Divine care, be thou free from all inordinateness; neither do thou excessively fear Hell, the world, nor thyself. For although, of thyself, thou art able to do nothing, thou canst do much in Me, in Whom thou believest, in Whom thou hopest, Whom thou lovest.
If, at any time thou fallest into faults, do not conduct thyself like a menial servant, who, full of alarm, stands in dread of stripes, and is desirous either of running away, or of cowardly hiding himself: but act like a child that loves his father, and forthwith endeavors to make up for his guilt-----who runs to his father, with so much the more freedom, the greater the goodness which he knows him to possess.
As often, therefore, as thou sadly fallest, do thou return to Me in a child-like manner-----ask forgiveness, and renew thy resolve of being faithful: nor suffer thou the peace of thy heart to be disturbed, or thy freedom lessened.
5. Neither should the means of perfection fetter thy heart; for even these, if they took away the holy freedom of thy heart, would be obstacles rather than means.
Wherefore, so soon as I make known to thee My Will, thou must freely overlook everything else, and be solely dependent on My bidding.
Take heed, however, My Child, lest, under pretense of a holy freedom, thou indulge the fickleness of the heart-----as they do who allow themselves to be guided by feeling, not by principle.
To them, that which a little before was pleasing, now becomes irksome: in the glow of fervor, they assume spiritual practices, and soon afterwards leave them off again, or perform them with distaste; they live now in one way, and, in a short time, wearied therewith, they try another; now, they mortify themselves severely, as if they were wholly spiritual; and, soon again, having become really sensual, they flatter nature.
This, surely, is not to be a child of freedom, but the sport of fickleness, the slave of feeling.
6. My Child, be thou more steadfast in regard to thy freedom. If thou art busied with any employments, do not give thyself up to them-----merely lend thyself to them-----lest, instead of thyself being their master, they perchance rule thee.
As often as thou feelest thyself impelled by nature, either to undertake or to perform something, do thou forthwith check thy ardor: otherwise thou shalt soon perceive that thy heart is being fettered, and that the matter itself is less rightly done.
Let no place on earth hold thy heart bound to itself: keep it free everywhere, knowing that I, thy God, am found in all places; that My children are everywhere cherished by My Spirit; finally, that where My Spirit is, there is true freedom.
Wherever, therefore, thou mayst be, be master of thyself: in all things whatsoever, whether internal or external, whether spiritual or temporal, whether lofty or lowly, keep thy heart free, united above everything with the Divine Will.
7. My Child, thou shouldst so cherish and guard the freedom of thy heart, that no one-----neither thy inferior, nor an equal, nor even thy Superior-----can take it away.
Wherefore, thou oughtest to judge of nothing, nor strive after it, according to the semblance of things, the opinion of men, or thy own feeling. In all things, let the standard of thy judgment be the truth, which thou wilt find, by examining how My Heart has judged them: and let My Will be the rule of thy desiring. This truth will free thee, and thou shalt be free indeed: this Divine Will shall guide thee, and keep thee free.
The more glorious this holy freedom of heart is to Me-----the more useful to thyself and to thy neighbor-----with the more care is it to be fostered, the more resolutely is it to be defended against thy foes.
Beside the demon and the world, nature will also frequently rise up against it. Pride, with many reasonings, and self-love, in various ways, will prey upon it, to cause it to yield, at least in some or other matter.
But thou wilt frustrate and overcome the assaults and stratagems of thy enemies, if thou goest boldly counter to what these foes suggest, and if thou simply followest My Will.
Whosoever wills everything according to My Divine good pleasure-----whosoever lives by this, and seeks his happiness therein-----enjoys a true and holy freedom, which I desire every Disciple of My Heart to possess, and which neither Hell, nor the world, nor any creature, can take away.
8. The voice of the Disciple.-----Holy freedom! how sweet a name! but sweeter far its possession: most sweet its fruit. Would, O good Jesus, that I might enjoy it!
But alas, wretched me! of how many things am I still the slave! blushing with shame, I confess to Thee, O Lord, that my heart is full often captivated and held by various things, yea, the most trifling or imaginary.
Give me, I entreat Thee, give me light to know and strength to burst asunder all my chains, that at last I may be free in truth and holiness.
Mercifully grant, most benign Jesus, that, to preserve holy freedom of heart, I may stand with a heart firm and undaunted, amid all the temptations of Hell; that I be unconquered and unshaken by the good and evil things, the sayings and doings of the world; that, above all which is of self, I may repose and persevere in Thy most holy, most delightful good pleasure.