Enlightened by Faith
Then ask Mary and Joseph, the magi, and the shepherds. They will tell you that they found in this extreme poverty an indescribable tenderness and an infinite dignity worthy of the majesty of God. Faith is strengthened, increased, and enriched by those things that escape the senses. The less there is to see, the more there is to believe. To adore Jesus on Tabor, to accept the will of God in extraordinary circumstances does not indicate a life animated by great faith as much as loving the will of God in ordinary things and adoring Jesus on the cross. For faith cannot be said to be a real, living faith until it is tried and has triumphed over every effort for its destruction. War with the senses enables faith to obtain a more glorious victory. To consider God equally good in things that are petty and ordinary as in those which are great and uncommon is to have a faith that is not common, but great and extraordinary.
… Mary, when the apostles fled, remained steadfast at the foot of the cross. She owned Jesus as her son when he was disfigured with wounds and covered with mud and spittle. The wounds that disfigured him made him only more lovable and adorable in the eyes of this tender mother. The more awful were the blasphemies uttered against him, so much the deeper became her veneration and respect.
The life of faith is nothing less than the continued pursuit of God through all that disguises, disfigures, destroys, and, as it were, destroys him. It is in very truth a reproduction of the life of Mary who, from the stable to the cross, remained unalterably united to that God who all the world misunderstood, abandoned, and persecuted. In like manner faithful souls endure a constant succession of trials. God hides beneath veils of darkness and illusive appearances which make his will difficult to recognize; but in spite of every obstacle these souls follow him and love him even to death on the cross. They know that, leaving the darkness they must run after the light of this divine sun which, from its rising to its setting, however dark and thick may be the clouds that obscure it, enlightens, warms, and inflames the faithful hearts that bless, praise, and contemplate it during the whole circle of its mysterious course.
Pursue then without ceasing, you faithful souls, this beloved Spouse who with giant strides passes from one end of the heavens to the other. If you be content and untiring, nothing will have power to hide him from you. He moves above the smallest blades of grass as above the mighty cedar. The grains of sand are under his feet as well as the huge mountain. Wherever you may turn, there you will find his footprints, and in following them perseveringly you will find him wherever you may be.
Oh! What delightful peace we enjoy when we have learned by faith to find God thus in all his creatures! Then is darkness luminous and bitterness sweet. Faith, while showing us things as they are, changes their ugliness into beauty and their malice into virtue. Faith is the mother of sweetness, confidence, and joy. It cannot help feeling tenderness and compassion for its enemies by whose means it is so immeasurably enriched. The greater the harshness and severity of the creature, the greater by the work of God is the advantage to the soul. While the human instrument strives to do harm, the Divine Workman in whose hands the soul is, makes use of the very malice to remove from the soul all that might be prejudicial to it.
The will of God has nothing but sweetness, favors, and treasures for submissive souls; it is impossible to repose too much confidence in it, nor to abandon oneself to it too utterly. It always acts for and desires that which is most conducive to our perfection, provided we allow it to act. Faith does not doubt. The more unfaithful, uncertain, and rebellious are the senses, the louder faith cries: “All is well; it is the will of God.” There is nothing that the eye of faith does not penetrate, nothing that the power of faith does not overcome. It passes through the thick darkness and no matter what clouds may gather, it goes straight to the truth and, holding to it firmly, will never let it go.
De Caussade, J.-P. (2011). Inner Peace: Wisdom from Jean-Pierre de Caussade. (K. Hermes, Ed.) (pp. 19–23). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.