On Transitory Emotions, Fidelity, and Simplicity

We must not be surprised if we frequently perceive in ourselves emotions of pride, of self-complacency, of confidence in ourselves, of desire to follow our own inclination contrary to right, of impatience at the weakness of others, or at the annoyances of our own state.

In such cases we must instantly let them drop like a stone to the bottom of the sea, recollect ourselves in God, and wait, before acting, until we are in such a frame as our recollection should induce in us.

If the distraction of business, or of vivacity of imagination, should hinder us from calmly and easily entering into such a state, we must at least endeavor to be quiet by the rectitude of the will, and by the desire for recollection. In such a case, the will to be recollected, answers to deprive the soul of its own will, and to render it docile in the hands of God.

The true method of curing this defect is to become dead to the sensitiveness of self-love, without hindering the course of grace, which had been a little interrupted by this transitory unfaithfulness.

We must follow after God, never precede Him; when He gives the signal, we must leave all and follow Him. If, after an absolute consecration to Him, and a conviction in conscience that he requires something of us, we hesitate, delay, lose courage, dilute what He would have us do, indulge fears for our own comfort or safety, desire to shield ourselves from suffering and obloquy, or seek to find some excuse for not performing a difficult and painful duty, we are truly guilty in his sight. God keep you from such unfaithfulness! Nothing is more dreadful than this inward resistance to Him; it is that sin against the Holy Ghost of which our Lord assures us that it shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. (Matt. xii. 32.)

God, jealous and rejected after so much mercy, will depart and leave you to your own resources; you will then turn round in a kind of circle instead of advancing with rapid strides along the King’s highway; your inward life will grow dim and dimmer, without your being able to detect the sure and deep-seated source of your disease.

He desires to create in your heart that child-like disposition so distasteful to the spirit of man. By this very simplicity and lowliness He will heal all the remains of haughty and self-confident wisdom in you, and you shall say with David, And I will yet be more vile than this, and will be base in mine own sight, (1 Sam. vi. 22,) from the moment that you give yourself to the Lord.

The Inner Life – Francois Fenelon


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