Daughters, though I hesitate to share such a reflection with you, I do so for the same reason as Paul of the Cross did; that you might not be frightened when suffering comes upon you in this life and when consolation fades. Self emptying love is what has saved you and as fierce as this may be God will subject you to suffering in order that you might also be subject to that deepest intimacy with Him; that He might treat you as His spouse. Whatever this suffering is and whenever it comes to you, seek to embrace it as if you were embracing your Beloved. As it pulls you out of yourself, leaving you feel dispossessed by all that is familiar, do not let go of your spiritual exercises but remain even more faithful to them.
All the little trials of body and mind are the first steps of that sublime and holy ladder which is mounted up by great and generous souls. Step by step they climb to the top, on which is found pure suffering devoid of all heavenly and earthly consolation.
If they be faithful and seek no satisfaction in creatures, they pass from pure suffering to the pure love of God. But the fortunate souls who succeed thus far are very few.
Ah! picture a soul who has been favored with heavenly consolations finding herself afterwards long despoiled of all happiness. Imagine her, arrived at the point of believing herself forsaken by God, believing that God has no longer any regard for her, that He is incensed at her. The state of that soul is such that she sees evil in all she does. Ah! I cannot express myself as I would. Let it suffice for you to know that, in this state, the soul almost suffers the torments of hell - a trial surpassing every other. But if the soul will faithfully brave it, oh, what treasures she gains! The tempest will finally cease, and the soul will receive the sweet embraces of Jesus, her true friend. God then treats her as His spouse; there is then contracted between God and this favored soul a holy alliance of love.
Oh, what treasure! As for you, you are not yet on the first step of that golden ladder. However, I have written to you in this vein that you may not be frightened when God will be pleased to require of you some degree of pure suffering without consolation; then, more than ever, be faithful to God, and do not abandon your ordinary exercises.
Sufferings are the richest presents that the Divine Majesty bestows on you.
God wills that, like precious stones, you be firmly set in the golden ring of charity. He wills that you be so many victims, so many holocausts, sacrificed to the glory of the Most High in the sacred fire of suffering. He wills that through this sacrifice you may continually diffuse the good odor of virtues.
St. Paul of the Cross