Confidence, love and humility.
“The greatest joy which it is possible to taste on earth is to possess God, God alone. Then one delights in an anticipated Paradise. And *little souls *do taste this…” - Sr. Consolata Betrone
The problem is, we are fallen creatures: we lack faith; we are proud; we have disordered inclinations; we have little savour for the things that are truly good for us, such as humiliations, prayer and sufferings; we do not understand that everything God gives or permits is for our greatest good, namely, that we unite ourselves to Him ever more intimately by charity.
Frequent prayer, then, is essential. Confident, humble and persevering prayer obtains an abundance of grace, which perfects our nature, kindles in us the flame of divine love, helps us to know ourselves, and reveals the baseness of earthly pleasures. In a word, prayer helps us to love what God loves, and to depsise what He despises. Consider the example of the saints in suffering, which is so repugant to our lower nature:
St. Gemma: “To suffer in union with Thee is a happiness.”
:Sr. Elizabeth of the Trinity: “My happiness increases in proportion to my sufferings. If you knew what sweetness is found at the bottom of the chalice prepared by our heavenly Father!”
Bl. Marie–Madeleine Postel: “When we truly love, we have nothing to suffer, because we find so much happiness in suffering for our Beloved.”
St. Therese of the Child Jesus: “… every suffering is a delight to me.” (She admits, however, that this was not always the case)
Like St. Therese and Sr. Consolata, we must be like little children or “little souls” with God; we must abandon ourselves to Him without reserve, thanking Him for every grace - even if comes at the cost of suffering - knowing that He only desires what is best for us, and that, although without Him we can do nothing, with Him we can do all things.
If we have frequent recourse to prayer, we will be saved. We cannot be certain that we will persevere, but the reason lies solely with us: our lack of generosity, our pride, our distrust. We must place all our confidence, then, in Almighty God, Who loves us with an eternal love, and desires our salvation so much that He sacrificed His infinitely perfect and lovable Son for our salvation. Surely we can place all our trust in Him! If we trust in ourselves, says St. Bernard, “we have a fool for our guide,” and we will inevitably fall into sin, for “pride is the beginning of sin.” (Eccl. 10:13).
Here is a beautiful little anecdote from Rev. Auguste Saudreau: "Frances of the Mother of God was for some days preyed upon by a great fear of being deceived by the devil. She imagined that she deserved damnation. Upon which Our Lord said to her: ‘God so loved the world as to give His only–begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish but may have life everlasting (John 3:16). If you believe in Me, you ought to believe that you will be saved.’ "
“If one holds fast to it [prayer] perseveringly, he can never be lost.” (St. John Chrysostom). “He who keeps constant hold of the staff of prayer will not stumble. And even if he does, his fall will not be fatal.” (St. John Climacus).
*Let thy loving-kindness, O Jehovah, be upon us, according as we have hoped in thee. *(Psalm 33:22)
The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena (speaking of those who live by and for God’s will): “Even in her mortal life she tastes the delights of immortality.”
Jesus to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida: “Love Me as I have loved you… Love Me in suffering and in sacrifice out of love. Love Me for I am God and solely to please Me. It is toward this love I aspire, the love I desire. Happy the soul possessing it…I promise that on this earth, that soul will begin to taste of the delights of Heaven."
A final word from Sr. Consolata Betrone: “The more I am faithful to this little way of love, the more is my soul flooded with joy and true peace that nothing is able to disturb, not even my continual falls. For, when I bring these to Jesus, He makes me remedy them through acts of humility, and these in turn increase the peace and joy in my heart.”