Category Archives: Roman Catholicism

The one true church of the Apocalypse, or the harlot of Revelation? You decide.

God, His Unity and Perfection: More on the Being of God and His Eternal Beatitude

Continuing on in Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, in this case 1,3 (the previous one is here):

I AM WHO AM. HE WHO IS, hath sent me to you. It is so that God defined himself.  It is to say that God is he in which non-being has no place, who thus is always, and always the same; who thus is unchangeable: who thus is eternal: all terms which have no explanation of themselves.  I AM WHO AM. And it is God who gives himself this explanation by the mouth of Malachi, when he said this through the prophet: For I am the Lord, and I change not.

God is thus an intelligence who cannot be ignorant of anything, neither doubt anything, neither learn anything, neither lose or acquire any perfection: for all of this is part of non-being.  Now God is he who is, him who is by essence.  How thus can one think that he who is, not be? Or that the idea which encompasses all being is not real? Or that, while one sees that the imperfect is, one could say, one could think, in hearing that which one thinks, that the perfect not be?

He who is perfect is happy, because he knows his perfection, for to know his perfection is a too essential part of perfection to miss being perfect.  O God, you are happy! O God, I rejoice in your eternal happiness! All of the Scripture preaches that the man who hopes in you is happy.  For a stronger reason, are you happy, yourself, O God, in whom one hopes.  Also St. Paul calls him expressly happy when he said to Timothy (I Tim 1:11;6:15,16): I announce to you these things according to the glorious Gospel of happy God; and then, It is he who has shown you in his time he who is happy and the only powerful: King of Kings and lord of lords, who along possesses immortality and is clothed in an inaccessible light, to whom belongs glory and an eternal empire.  O happy God, I adore you in your happiness.  Be praised forever for having me to be acquainted and know that you are always and changelessly happy.  Only you alone are happy and those who, knowing your eternal happiness, make it theirs.  Amen. Amen.

God, His Unity and Perfection: The Perfection and Eternity of God

This is from Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, 1,2.  The previous elevation is here.

It is said: the perfect is not, it is only an idea of our spirit which goes rising from the imperfect which one sees with one’s eyes to a perfection which only has reality in thought.  This is the reasoning which the impious wants to do in his heart, senseless who does not dream that the perfect is the first itself and in our ideas and that the imperfect in all respects is nothing but a degradation.  Tell me, my soul, how do you hear nothing unless you are? How is privation, if not from the form it is taken from? How is imperfection, if not from the perfection it has fallen from?  My soul, do you not hear that you have reason, but imperfect, as she does not know things, she doubts, she goes astray and is mistaken? But how do you hear error, if it is not the privation of truth, and how is doubt and obscurity, if it is not from privation of intelligence and light?  Or how is ignorance, if it is not from privation of perfect knowledge? How is there dissoluteness and vice in the will if it is not from privation of rectitude, uprightness and virtue? Primitively there is an intelligence, a certain knowledge, a truth, a firmness, an inflexibility in good, a rule, an order before there is a decay of all things: in a word, there is perfection before there is a fall.  Ahead of all dissoluteness, there must be a thing which is itself a rule and which, unable to leave itself, can neither fail nor faint.  Here is a perfect being; here is God, perfect and happy nature.  The rest is incomprehensible and we can neither understand where it is perfect and happy nor where it is incomprehensible.

From where does the idea come that the impious does not know God and that nations and soon the entire world has not known him, since we carry inside of ourselves the idea of perfection? From where does this come, if not from a lack of attention and because man, given up to the senses and imagination, does not want, or cannot bring himself, to pure ideas as his spirit, weighed down with gross images, cannot carry simple truth?

Man, ignorant so that he knows change before changelessness, because he expresses change with a positive term and changelessness as the negation of change, does not want to dream that being changeless is being and to change is to not be.  Now being is, and it is known by its privation which is not being. Before those things which are not always the same, there is one which, always the same, does not suffer decline: and this one not only is, but also is always known, although not always picked out or distinguished by lack of attention.  But when recalled in ourselves, we become attentive to immortal ideas of which we carry in ourselves the truth, we will find that perfection is that which we know the first, then when we have seen, we only know the defect as a decline from perfection.

God, His Unity and Perfection: The Being of God

I am starting another series from Jaques-Bénigne Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, starting with the first one. This would be 1,1.

From all eternity, God is: God is perfect: God is happy: God is one. The impious asks: why is God? I answer him: why shouldn’t he be? Is it because he is perfect and perfection is an obstacle to being? Silly error! To the contrary perfection is the reason for being. Why should the imperfect be and the perfect not? It is to say: why is that which is more than nothing is, and that which is nothing is not? What is called perfect? A being to which nothing is lacking. What is called imperfect? A being to which something is lacking. Why is a being which lacks nothing non-existent, sooner than a being to which something is lacking? From where comes the idea that something is and that it cannot make nothing exist, if it is not because being is worth more than nothing; and, that nothing cannot prevail against being, and cannot prevent a being from being? But for the same reason, the imperfect cannot be worth more than the perfect, neither prevent the being from being.  Who can thus hinder that God is not and why the nothing of God which the impious imagines in his senseless heart, why, I say, this nothing of God carries itself on God’s being and is it worth more that God is not than he is? O God! One is lost in such a great blindness.  The impious loses himself in the nothing of God which he prefers to the being of God; and himself, this impious, does not dream to ask himself why he is.  My soul, reasonable soul, but whose reason is weak, why do you want to be and God is not?   Alas, are you worth more than God? Weak soul, ignorant soul, astray, full of errors, and uncertain of her intelligence; full in your will of weakness, of wandering, of corruption, of bad desires, is it necessary that you be and that certitude, comprehension, the full knowledge of the truth and the changeless love of justice and of rectitude not be?

Why I Support the Idea of Believers’ Baptism

My church’s news site recently noted a gathering down in Jamaica which was a consultation on believers’ baptism.  There were a couple of ministers from my church there, along with representatives of the World Council of Churches.

I’m always nervous when our ministers get involved with WCC people and events.  They are like young Siegfried, innocent and without fear, but unaware of the dangers that lurk.  (I used a Wagnerian analogy about my church in another context here.)  Most Pentecostal churches, as is the case with “Bill Clinton’s Eucharistic Theology“, simply continued with believers’ (adult) baptism, although in this case the results were better.

My own saga with this is complicated.  The “five” years in decades seem to be replete with anniversaries good and bad alike.  Fifty years ago this year I was baptised in the Episcopal Church after a direct encounter with God which, among other things, made me ask whether I had been baptised or not.  My mother excused her lack of having me baptised as an infant on my poor health.  But it was an excuse; I think she, raised Southern Baptist, was deeply conflicted about pedobaptism, and used that (and my father’s indifference) to skip it.

In any case, we went to our Rector, Robert Appleyard, who later was Bishop of Pittsburgh and performed the first “legal” ordinations of women in the Episcopal Church.  He even agreed with my mother’s request for a private baptism.  He was unimpressed with my direct encounter with God, and well he should have been; it’s jaundiced my view of any kind of “preacher religion” since.

In any case most “Main Line” churches (along with their Catholic and Orthodox counterparts) practice pedobaptism, while most Evangelical and Pentecostal ones practice adult or “believers’ baptism” after a conscious profession of faith.  It seems to me that this is the New Testament pattern which got changed with changes in the church, most of them not for the better.  It’s an issue that is, in many ways, the “stickiest wicket” between me and my Anglican and Catholic roots.  Yet these and other churches are very insistent that infants be baptised.

The strongest theological justification of this came from Augustine, who taught that everyone comes into this world with original sin and that baptism cleanses this.  The alternative (I’m not sure whether it’s Augustinian or not, but the RCC taught it for many years) is that unbaptised infants, guilty of no other sins, literally ended up in Limbo, as Dante vividly illustrated.

Reformed types, while getting away from Limbo and in some cases a sacramental concept of baptism, nevertheless continued the practice of pedobaptism.  These churches, along with just about everyone else in Europe, regarded the concept of believers’ baptism that the Anabaptists set forth with horror, persecutions following.

In recent times we’ve seen even the RCC backtrack on the Limbo business, which in turn backtracks on the original sin problem.  But that’s lead to the emphasis (obsession?) with another aspect of baptism: the marking of a person as a Christian, albeit an infant with no decision-making capacity.  It’s analogous in some ways to the Islāmic concept that, once you’re born of a Muslim parent, you’re a Muslim and that’s it.  Christianity has never benefited from picking up bad Islāmic habits.  The most egregious manifestation of this is the Episcopal Church’s “Baptismal Covenant”, which I describe as “the Contract on the Episcopalians”.  Sometimes I think that the radical left in TEC thinks that this commits the faithful from the cradle to join every left-wing cause and vote Democrat.

The things that divide people on baptism, such as sacrament vs. ordinance, or immersion vs. sprinkling, or any of the others, in many ways obscure what is, as far as I am concerned, the central issue with baptism.  That central issue centres around how people become Christians and the nature of the church.

To be a Christian is a decision which is made possible by the grace of God.  That’s more obvious to people who have to prove and defend being a Christian more than those who either float along with the culture or don’t venture much outside their Christian circles.  Baptism, by all considered the initiation rite into Christianity, needs to be connected with that decision, which can only be done by someone with enough faculties to do so.  (And I’m not one to set the lower age limit too high on that, it depends on the person.)  To do otherwise is to make cultural Christianity–which is becoming a rarer and rarer bird these days–normative.  A reasonable reading of the New Testament should make it clear this is not the case.

Once a person has made such a decision and has been baptised, the next question comes up: what kind of church are they joining?  The Greek term ecclesia means the “called out ones”, but many have argued that restricting the church to true believers is too exclusivistic.  They use the “wheat and tares” parable to back themselves up.  But we need to ask the serious question: is the church a wheat field with tares, or a tare field with wheat?  Too many churches have been the latter, but we really don’t have the luxury of that any more, if we ever did.

This is why I think that believers’ baptism is the best.

Bill Clinton’s Eucharistic Theology: It Depends on What ‘Is’ Is

I must have been in an especially catty mood when I posted this on Stand Firm in Faith:

Clinton stated that “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” Clinton was only stealing a concept from Southern Baptist Eucharistic theology.

I actually got a thumbs up for that.

Nevertheless, it’s something that’s bugged me for a long time.  It’s a statement that conservatives use to prove that Bill Clinton was a proverbial liar, and one under oath to boot.  Liberals try to explain it with stuff like this:

But it turns out they were right: Bill Clinton really is a guy who’s willing to think carefully about “what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” This is way beyond slick. Perhaps we should start calling him, “Existential Willie.”

But with deep family roots in Arkansas Baptist life (Clinton was raised down Arkansas 9 from where my mother grew up) and apologies to those relatives, I think both assessments are wide of the mark.  Bill Clinton was not lying when he said this, not deliberately at least.  He was just lifting a concept from Southern Baptist Eucharistic theology, one echoed every time the ushers (or Communion Committee, the ability of Southern Baptists to form committees is the stuff of legend) get out the big trays.  And although that’s typically not very often, one doesn’t typically get deposed very often either.

For it’s part the New Testament is pretty clear in its concept of what the Eucharist (or Lord’s Supper) really “is”:

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.  (Matthew 26:26-29 KJV)

And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. (Luke 22:19-20 KJV)

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  (1 Corinthians 11:23-27 KJV)

Until the Reformation Christianity uniformly confessed that, when Our Lord said “is” he meant “is”, up to and including the concept of transubstantiation, which Aquinas details in the Summa.

With the breakage of the Reformers we start seeing a variety of explanations of how this “is”, something that Bossuet has more fun than a human being ought to have in his History of the Variations of the Protestant Churches.  But the biggest variation, one that started with Huldreich Zwingli, basically stated that “is isn’t”; that it’s just bread from start to finish and that the Lord’s Supper is purely symbolic.  That “theology” made its way into many Evangelical churches, including the Southern Baptist Convention.

When Bill Clinton was under oath and under pressure, its little wonder that he would revert to the teachings of his childhood church, where they taught that the Bible was literally true from the six days of Genesis onward, and then get to the night Our Lord was betrayed and stated with equal confidence that the “is” wasn’t and that it’s just a symbol.

The Baptists have presented a vision of Christian life that many around them have objected to, not the least of which were the Pentecostals.  But same Pentecostals, who never cease to remind us that “…with his stripes we are healed”. (Isaiah 53:5 KJV) unthinkingly adopted the Baptist concept of the Lord’s Supper.

Now we are in yet another political cycle, with another Clinton and (sigh) another Bush.  Conservatives sit smugly in their Evangelical churches, doubtless not happy with the possibility of this match-up but confident that defeating Clinton will be a great victory.  But the next time the big tray comes around and their minister shies away from proclaiming the Real Presence, they’d better stop and think that they are partaking in the spirit of Bill Clinton’s Eucharistic theology.

My Thoughts on “Christianity’s Decline in the Northeast”

@roddreher makes an interesting, if somewhat open-ended analysis of the subject:

…my general sense was the same I had when I lived in NYC for five years: that the region overall is cool to Christianity in a way that I have not seen anywhere else I’ve lived (except for South Florida).

Needless to say, the last phrase caught my attention. As a South Floridian who is a product of a “bi-cultural” family in that regard, I’d like to dodge the food fight he’s having in his comment section and try to take a run at explaining the phenomenon he’s looking at.

Let’s start with the obvious: the main reason South Florida is “cool to Christianity” (and Dreher is being charitable here) is because many of its inhabitants started out life in the Northeast.  That’s less true now than it was when I grew up there, mainly because of major Latin American immigration, but it still marks the region’s character.

With that out of the way, we can speculate about things such as education, “belief” in certain things as opposed to others, and of course lifestyle issues.  But this is supposed to be a country of opportunity and upward mobility, and I think the simple explanation is that people in the Northeast don’t see Christianity as part of the “way up” as Southerners have and to a large extent still do.

Let’s start by looking at the structure of Christianity itself in the Northeast.  In colonial times same was a hodgepodge of Purtians and other nonconformists who moulded the various colonies based on their preference. Puritanism in particular is a hard religion; they burned witches in Salem.  But the 900-pound gorilla which really messed things up was Roman Catholicism, which rapidly became the bane of the rest of Christianity.  The lack of unity among these groups made using Christianity as an upward vehicle in a civic society problematic.  That was compounded by the fact that most of these churches lacked a vision for incorporating that success in a Christian life. The main offender in that regard again is Roman Catholicism; conservatives have been reminded of late of the real nature of Catholic social teaching, but it’s always been out there.

Some mention should be made of a group well entrenched in the Northeast that isn’t Christian at all: the Jews. These highly resourceful people had no use for church, and the result was a society where the Gentile-Jew divide was very sharp.  (That, too, was replicated in South Florida).  So we had yet another split in the way up.

When we turn to the South, we have an entirely different situation.  All of the Southern colonies were Anglican until after Independence, at which time the Church of England (becoming the Episcopal Church) got disestablished. That, however, put a Christian presence at the top of society; Southern churches, for their differences in polity and doctrine, moved as a unity, albeit a class-stratified one, where one chose one’s church based on where one wanted to be in society.

For all the blubbering we hear from secularists about Southern “fundamentalists” and “fanatics” Southern Christianity never indulged itself in some of the really suppressive tactics of their Northern counterparts.  For example, they burned witches in Salem, not Savannah. Things were “banned in Boston”, not “banned in Birmingham”.  Southern churches’ biggest sin was racism, but it’s worth noting that black churches, taking a cue from their white counterparts, stuck together for their progress during the civil rights movement.

Under these conditions church could, was and is used as a way of moving up in a way that hasn’t been the case in the Northeast in at least a century.

For me, it’s made for a strange ride.  When growing up in Palm Beach, I read (or heard) the Gospels and realised that I would have to give up things to walk with God.  Most people won’t make that sacrifice and thought I was crazy to think about it. I come to the South and such a concept was considered absurd, but for a different reason: where you went to church was part of the “way up”.

Which idea is closest to what Our Lord wants is beyond the scope of this post. For the aforementioned reasons any real Christian in the Northeast (and of course South Florida for that matter) will hit a glass ceiling in a hurry, and that’s why Christianity is in trouble there.

The Silence and Admiration of Mary and Joseph

This is the last in the Christmas series from Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, in this case XV-XII. You can see the earlier post here and thread back through them. It has been a difficult year for us, and the news hasn’t been the cheeriest either. For the season I have opted for something to inspire, and there is no more inspiring preaching than Bossuet’s. I trust that you have been blessed by the series, and may you have a Merry Christmas.

We have seen the shepherds return glorifying God and making him glorified to all those who heard; but now something more marvellous and edifying. But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart. (Luke 2:19 DRB) And to follow: And his father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken about him. (Luke 2:33 DRB) I do not know if it is worth more to unite in silence with Mary than to explain the merit by our words; for what is more admirable, after what was announced by the Angel, after all which passed there, than to hear everyone speak and meanwhile wait with closed mouth? She carried in her bosom the Son of the Most High; she saw him come out like a ray of sunlight from a cloud, to say so, pure and full of light! What had she not felt by his presence? And if, approaching him, John, in the bosom of his mother, felt a shaking so miraculous; what peace, what divine joy, would the Holy Virgin not have felt at the conception of the Word which the Holy Spirit formed in her? Could she not say the same thing about her dear Son? However, she allows everyone to praise him; she hears the shepherds; she says not a word to the Magi who came to worship her Son; she hears Simeon and Anna the Prophetess; she only poured our her feelings with holy Elisabeth, whose visit made her a Prophetess; and without opening her mouth to anyone else, she was moved and unknowing. Erant mirantes; Joseph enters his silence in part as his secret; him to whom the Angel told such great things and who had seen the miracle of the virgin birth. Neither one of them spoke of what they saw all the time at home, and never took advantage of the many miracles. As humble as she was wise, Mary let herself be thought of as an ordinary mother, and her Son as the fruit of an ordinary marriage. The great things which God does inside of his creatures naturally work in silence. To grasp it, I do not know what of the divine which suppresses all expression. Because what does one say, and what could Mary say, that would equal what she felt? Thus the secret of God is held under seal, unless he enlivens the tongue and makes it speak. Human advantage is nothing, if they are not known and the world does not take them. That which God does himself, the inestimable value which cannot be tasted except by God and the creature himself. Men, you are vain and vain is the ostentation which you press to make valuable in the eyes of men, vain as you are, all your feeble advantages! Children of men, how long will you have a heavy and carnal heart? Until when will you love vanity and please yourself with lies? All of the goods you parade are false in themselves: the only opinion which makes things valuable and there is only value to him who tastes alone in the silence with God.  Place yourself in a holy place to know that I am God: taste and see how the Lord is sweet. (Psalm 46:10; Psalm 34:8) Love the retreat and the silence: pull back from the tumultuous conversations of the world; be silent my mouth, do not block my heart from hearing God, and stop from interrupting or troubling attention so sweet. Vacate et videte: gustate et videte quoniam suavis est Dominus. Gustate et videte. (Psalm 46:10; Psalm 34:8)

The Shepherds at the Manger of Jesus Christ

Again with Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, XV-XI:

After the song of the Angels, the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed to us. And they came with haste: and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.  See this about the Saviour which was announced to us! Alas! What sign will let us know him! The sign of poverty which had nothing like it! No, we should not be full of our misery; we prefer our cabins to the palace of Kings; we live happy under our thatch; and too glorious to carry the character of the King of Kings. Let us go and above all spread this happy news; let us go above all to console the poor in telling them the marvels which we have seen. As God has prepared the way by his Gospel! Each was stunned to hear this beautiful account from these innocent and rustic mouths. If it were from celebrities, the Pharisees or Doctors of the Law, which told of these marvels, the world would easily believe that they had seen them make a name for themselves by their sublime visions. But who dreams of contradicting simple shepherds in their naïve and sincere account? The fullness of their joy breaks out naturally and their discourse is without artifice. Such testimonies are necessary to him who opted to choose fishermen to be his first disciples and the future teachers of his Church. All is, to say so, of the same adornment in the mysteries of Jesus Christ. Let us attempt to save the poor and to make them taste the grace of their state. Let us humble the rich of the world and confound their pride. If we lack something, and who doesn’t lack something? let us love, worship, kiss this character of Jesus Christ. Let us not wish to be rich; for what will we gain? for after all, when we will have piled up dignity on dignity, land on land, treasures on treasures, we must detach, we must lose the taste, we must be ready to lose all, if we want to be Christians.

The Beginning of the Gospel

More from Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, XV-X:

The beginning of the Gospel is in the words of the Angel to the shepherds: I announce to you, literally, I evangelise you, I give to you the good news which will be the subject of a great joy, and that is the birth of the Saviour of the world.  What happier news is there than to have a Saviour? After leaving the desert, which is found at the start of the book, in the first preaching he did in the synagogue, he said: The spirit of the Lord is upon me. Wherefore he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the contrite of heart, To preach deliverance to the captives and sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of reward. (Luke 4:18-19 DRB, also Isaiah 61:1-2) What equal joy can be given to men of good will and what greater subject of joy? But is not God’s glorification the greatest subject while at the same time to be able to want people to well understand God exalted by such a marvel? Here is what is in the Gospel: it is in learning the happy news of the deliverance of man, who rejoices to see the highest glory of God. Let us go up to the high places, to the most sublime parts of ourselves; let us go up above ourselves and look for God in himself, for us to rejoice of his great glory with the Angels.

The Song of the Angels

The latest instalment from Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, XV-IX:

Glory to God in the highest: and on earth peace to men of good will. Peace is published throughout the earth: peace of man with God for the remission of sins, peace of men among themselves, the peace of man with himself by the harmonisation of all his desires to want what God wants. This is the peace that the Angels sing and which they announce to the entire universe.

This peace is the subject of the glory of God. Let us not rejoice in this peace because it makes us feel good in our hearts, but because it glorifies God in the high throne of his glory: let us ascend up to the high places, to the highest place of the throne of God to glorify him in himself and not love what he has done in us to bond ourselves to him.

Let us sing in this spirit with all the Church: Glory to God in the highest.  Each time when we start singing this angelic song, let us enter into the music of the Angels by the symphony and the agreement of all our desires. Let us remember the birth of Our Saviour who gave birth to this song. Let us say from our heart all the words which the Church added to interpret the song of the Angels: we praise you, we adore you, and above all, we give you thanks for your great glory. We love your benefits because they glorify you and the good things which you do for us, because your goodness is honoured.

 On earth peace to men of good will. The word of the original which is translated by “good will”, means the good will of God for us, and tells us that peace is given to men cherished of God.

The original says, word by word: Glory to God in the high places, peace on the earth, good will from the side of God into men.  It is such which is always read in the Eastern Churches. Those of the West come back and sing peace to men of good will, that is to say in the first place to those to whom God wills well, and in the second place to those who themselves have good will, thus the first effect of the good will which God has for us is to inspire us to to have good will towards him.

Good will is that which conforms to the will of God, as that is good by essence and by itself, that which is conformed to it is good by extension. Let us control our will by that of God, and we will be men of good will, to see that this be not by senselessness, or indolence, or negligence or to avoid work, but by faith, that we throw all on God.  Soft and lazy souls would rather do this in speaking all at once; may God do what he wants, and they are only concerned about fleeing pain and worry. But to be truly conformed to the will of God, it is necessary to know to make a sacrifice of the dearest thing, and with a torn heart, say to him: all is yours, do what you want; like the holy man Job, who lost in a day all of his goods and children, the news coming to him blow by blow.  He throws himself to the ground and says: the Lord gave all that I have, and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord.  He who worships in this way is the true man of good will; and elevated above the senses and his own desires, he glorifies God in the high places. It is in this way that he has peace, and he tries to calm the trouble in his heart, not just to avoid being sad, but because this trouble blocks the perfection of the sacrifice which he wants to make to God. Otherwise he only seeks a false rest, and see that this is good will.

Good will, it is the sincere love of God and, as St. Paul says, it is love from a pure heart, a right conscience and a faith that does not fail. Faith is weak in those where it is not underlain by good works; and good works are those where one seeks to please God and not one’s own mood,  inclination, or wish.  Then, when you search God with a pure intention, the works are full, otherwise you receive this reproach from Jesus Christ: For I find not thy works full before my God. (Revelation 3:2 DRB)