Trials of sickness and infirmities

With good reason is this state called a purgation. For it purifies our souls from pride. Inebriated with Divine consolations, they used to deem themselves good; plunged in a universal disgust, powerless to meditate, reduced to the production of a few meagre affections without variety or unction, assailed often by most humiliating temptations, they feel their misery, convinced by force of evidence that they are worth very little, and that without God they can do nothing; they are, in consequence, disposed to make themselves very small in the presence of so much greatness and sanctity, to have a greater respect for His majesty, and to pray to Him with more humility, As they find themselves plunged in darkness, they more willingly have recourse to the wisdom of their superiors, and become simple and docile; they are also too much occupied and penetrated with the sense of their own miseries to observe those of others with a malignant curiosity; and thus indulgence towards the faults of others, mutual forbearance, esteem and charity increase along with humility.

This state also purifies souls from spiritual gluttony and all inordinate love of spiritual joys. The soul was greedy of consolations, she wished to find her pleasure in the presence of God; now, this inordinate love of spiritual pleasures dies for want of food; as time goes on she learns to do without emotions, to give herself to God without any selfish interest, to serve Him at her own expense and no matter what it costs the animal part is weakened by being deprived of sensible sweetness, the passions lose their force, and are reduced to order; little by little she dies to herself, and the divine life meets with fewer hindrances.  –Rev Dom Vitalis Lehodey ‘The Ways of Mental Prayer’


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