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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why Our Poverty and Wretchedness is Good for Us

by Jean-Pierre de Caussade

You want . . . to find a little help in yourself and your good works? That is precisely what God does not wish; that is what he cannot tolerate in souls that aspire to perfection.

What! rely upon self, count upon your good works--what a wretched survival of self-love, pride and perversity! It is to rid chosen souls of these that God makes them pass through a desolating state of poverty, wretchedness and spiritual nakedness. He wishes slowly to destroy all the trust and reliance they have in themselves, to deprive them of all their resources, so that he may be their sole support, their sole trust, their one hope, their one resource!

How accursed is that hope which unreflectingly you thus seek in yourself! How glad I am that God destroys, confounds and obliterates that cursed hope by means of this state of poverty and wretchedness! When all trust, all hope, all earthly and created aids have been taken from us, we shall have no more hope save in God alone.

This is the right hope, the right trust known to the saints, a hope and a trust based solely upon the mercy of God and the merits of Jesus Christ. But you will have this hope only after God has destroyed in you the last clinging roots of your trust in self. This may come to pass only if God keeps you for a while yet in entire spiritual poverty.

Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade (+1751) was a French Jseuit, a writer and
respected spiritual director.
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