The Spiritual Combat
Other counsels to help acquire mistrust of oneself and confidence in God
Since the ability to conquer our enemies is principally
born from mistrust of oneself and from confidence in God, I will again supply
you with counsels to help you attain them with divine help.
You must know therefore, and hold as a certainty, that nothing will make
us do God's will if our heart is not helped and raised up by the particular
help of God, and if God himself should not extend his hand to do all this.
I repeat that in whatever work we must do that is good and acceptable in
his eyes, and in whatever temptation we must overcome, and in whatever danger
we must flee, and in whatever cross we must carry according to his will,nothing
else will make us do his will: neither all our gifts -- be they natural
or acquired -- nor all the graces freely given, nor the knowledge of all
Scripture, nor having served God for a long time and being accustomed to
this. Thus we must keep this truth present every day and every hour and every
moment: so that in no path or project we might trust in ourselves.
Insofar as confidence in God matters, you should know that through him there
is nothing easier than conquering our enemies both few and many, the old
and the experienced as well as the weak and inexperienced. Because of this,
although a soul be burdened by sins, and have all the defects in the world,
even to the point of being as defective as one can possibly imagine; even
though it has tried what is necessary, and used every means and done whatever
exercise to leave sin and do good; even though it has never managed to acquire
even a minimum of good, to the point of having fallen more heavily into evil:
with all this the soul must not fail to trust in God, nor should it ever
abandon the spiritual weapons and exercises. Instead it must always fight
generously. Indeed you must know that in this spiritual battle, the one who
does not cease to fight and to trust in God does not lose. For God's help
is never lacking to his soldiers, even if at times he allows them to be wounded.
Still they fight, for this is everything! The medicine for the wounds is
ready and efficacious for the soldiers who seek God and his help with confidence.
Then, when they least expect it, their enemies will find themselves dead.