Holy humility is
inseparably joined to peace and joy of heart. I speak here
of noble, genuine, fruitful, solid humility, which makes us
easy to correct, submissive and prompt to obey.
I implore you to observe
careful how those holy anchorites of old in general meeting
found no surer mark of heavenly inspiration in a matter so
extraordinary as the life of St. Stylites than to see that
he was simple, gentle, and tractable under the laws of most
holy obedience. God blessed the submission of that great man
and gave him the grace to persevere for thirty whole years
upon a column more than fifty feet high, after having
previously passed seven years on other columns six, twelve,
and twenty feet high and having been ten years on a little
rocky point in a place called the Mandra. Thus this bird of
paradise, living in air and not touching earth, was a
spectacle of love for angels and of admiration for men. In
obedience, everything is safe; apart from obedience, all is
subject to suspicion.
When God sends His
inspirations into a man's heart, the first one He gives is
that of obedience. Was there ever a clearer and more
striking inspiration than that given to the glorious St.
Paul? Its chief point was that he should go into the city
where he would learn from Ananais's lips what he himself was
to do. This Ananias was a very celebrated man and, as St.
Dorotheus says, bishop of Damascus. A man who says that he
is inspired and then refuses to obey his superiors and
follow their advices is an impostor. All prophets and
preachers inspired by God have always loved the Church,
always adhered to Her doctrine, and always had Her approval.
They have never proclaimed anything as forcefully as this
St. Francis of Assisi, St.
Dominic, and the other fathers of religious orders turned to
the service of souls by an extraordinary inspiration, but
they submitted all the more humbly and heartily to the
sacred hierarchy of the Church. To sum up, the three best
and surest marks of lawful inspiration are perseverance in
contrast to inconstancy and levity, peace and gentleness of
heart in contrast to disquiet and solicitude, and humble
obedience in contrast to obstinacy and extravagance.
Souls caught up in holy
love do not merely look toward this divine goodness by their
obedience, but do more than that. By the union of all their
affections without any reserve or exception whatsoever, they
follow the course of that divine sun in all that it
commands, counsels, and inspires them to do. In this they
can say with the psalmist: "Lord, You have held my right
hand, and You have guided me in Your will, and with much
glory You have received me. I have become like a horse in
Your presence, and I am always with You." - For just as a
well-trained horse is managed easily, gently, and properly
situations by his rider, so also a soul that loves is so
pliable under God's will that He does in it all God wishes.
Taken from Finding God's
Will for You, by St. Francis De Sales, page 60.