« AnteriorContinua »
As the tempest increased every day, some of my friends advised me to withdraw. But before I mention my leaving Grenoble, I must say something farther of my state while here.
Jesus Christ was communicated to me in all his states. His apostolic state was at that time set most before me. When I could neither write nor communicate any other way I was all languishing. I experienced what our Lord said to his disciples, "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you.” Luke xxii. 15. It was the communication of himself by that supper, and by his passion, when he said, "It is finished." John xix. 30. And boring his head he gave up the ghost, or his own holy spirit, returning it back as well as his kingdom to his Father; as if he had then said, "My Father, my kingdom is that I reign by thee, and thou by me, over men; which can only be done by the shedding abroad of my spirit upon them: let then my spirit be communicated to them by my death." In this is the finishing and consummation of all things. Often the plenitude of this spirit took from me the liberty of writing. I had nothing for myself; all was for others; and yet I wanted nothing. I was like those nurses who are full of milk, though they are not fed the more for it.
Before I began to write in the Book of Kings an what regards David, I felt so close an union with that holy patriarch, that I communicated with him, as if he had been present. I comprehended the greatness of his grace, the conduct of God over him, and all the circumstances of the states through which he had passed; that he was a lively figure of Jesus Christ, and a chosen pastor for Israel. It seemed to
me that all our Lord made, and would make, me do for souls, would be in union with David, my dear King, and with those for whom there was given me at the same time an union like that which I had with him, but still most of all with Jesus Christ, sprung from the seed of David. In this divine union my words had wonderful effect, even the formation of Jesus Christ in the souls of others. I was in no wise mistress of saying the things I did. He who conducted me made me say what he pleased, and as long as he pleased: To some he let me not say a word; and to others there flowed forth as it were a deluge of grace, and yet this pure love admitted not of any superfluity, or matter of empty amusement. When questions were asked, to which an answer were use less, it was not given me. It was the same case in regard to such as our Lord was pleased to conduct through death to themselves, and who came to seek for human consolation. I had nothing for them but what was purely necessary, and could proceed no farther. I could at least only speak of indifferent things, in such liberty as God allows, in order to suit évery one, and not be unsociable or disagreeable to one's neighbour; but for his own word, he himself is the dispenser of it. Oh, if preachers were duly careful to speak only in that spirit, what fruits would they bring forth in the lives of their hearers! With my true children I could not communicate but in silence, in the spiritual language of the divine word. I had the consolation some time before to hear one read in St. Augustine a conversation he had with his mother. He complains of the necessity of returning from that heavenly language to words, by reason of our weakness. I sometimes said, "Oh my love, give me
hearts large enough to receive and contain the fulness bestowed on me." I had wonderful intelligences opened to me, of the communication at the supper: betwixt Jesus Christ and St. John, and continued betwixt St. John and the Mother of our Lord; how the holy child communicated himself to the Eastern sages, and to the shepherds, conveying to them the knowledge of his divinity.
After this manner when the Holy Virgin approached Elizabeth, a wonderful commerce was maintained betwixt Jesus Christ and John the Baptist, who after this manifested no eagerness to come to see Christ, but was drawn to retire into the deserty to receive the like communications with the greatest plenitude. When he came forth to preach repentance, he said, not that he was the WORD, but only a VOICE which was sent to make way, or open a passage in the hearts of the people for Christ the WORD. He baptised: only with water, for that was his function; for ast the water in running off leaves nothing, so does the VOICE when 'tis past. But the WORD baptised with the Holy Ghost, because he imprinted himself on souls, and communicated with them by that Holy, Spirit. It is not observed that Jesus Christ said any, thing during the obscure part of his life, though it is true that not any of his words shall be lost, Oh Love, if all thou hast said and operated in silence were to be written, I think the whole World could not contain the books that should be written. John xxi. 25.
All that I experienced was shewn me in the Holy Scripture; and I saw with admiration that there passed nothing within my soul which was not in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Scripture. I must pass over very many things in silence, because they cannot be
expressed; and if they were expressed could not be understood or comprehended.
I often felt much for Father la Combe, who was not yet fixed in his state of interior death, but often rose and fell into alternatives. I was made sensible that he was a vessel of election, whom God had chosen to carry his name among the Gentiles, and that he would shew him how much he must suffer for that name. Oh God, who can ever be able to comprehend the pure and holy union which thou formest betwixt thy children? A carnal world judges carnally of them, and imputes to a human attachment what is from the purest grace. If this union by any deviation be broken, the more pure and perfect it is, the more painfully will it be felt, the separation of the soul from God by sin being worse than that from the body by death. For myself I may say I had a continual dependence on God, in every state; my soul was ever willing to obey every motion of his spirit. I thought there could not be any thing in the world which he should require from me, to which I would not give myself up readily and with pleasure. I had no interest at all for myself. When God requires any thing from this wretched nothing, I find no resistance left in me to his will, how rigorous soever it may appear. Oh my Love, if there is a heart in the world of which thou art the sole and absolute master, mine seems to be one of that sort. Thy will, however rigorous, is its life and its pleasure; for it no more subsists but in thee alone. I have wandered; which is usual with me, occasioned by interruptions, as well as by two grievous indispositions, which I have had since I began to write, as also by resigning myself to the matter which carries my mind forward.
To resume the thread of my story, the Bishop of Grenoble's Almoner persuaded me to go for some time to Marseilles, to let the storm pass over; telling me that I should be well received there, it being his native soil, and many people of merit there. I wrote to Father la Combe for his consent hereto. He readily gave it. I might have gone to Verceil; for: the Bishop of Verceil had written me very obliging letters, earnestly pressing me to come thither: but a human respect, and fear of affording a handle to my enemies, gave me an extreme aversion thereto. When I make use of the term enemies, I must explain myself. It is not that I account any mortal to be in reality my enemy; viewing those, whom God makes use of, no otherwise than as instruments of his justice...
Beside the above, the Marchioness of Prunai, who, since my departure from her, had been more enlightened by her own experience, having met with a part of the things which I thought would befall her, had conceived for me a very strong friendship and intimate union of spirit, in such a manner that no two sisters could be more united than we were. She was extremely desirous that I would return to her, as I had formerly promised her. But I could not resolve, upon this, for fear lest it should be thought that I was gone after Father la Combe. But, oh my God, how was this relick of self-love overturned by the secret ways of thy adorable Providence! I bad yet that exterior support of having it in my power to say,
at I had never gone after him. There had been...