II.-HOW TO CONVERSE CONTINUALLY AND FAMILIARLY WITH GOD
If you desire to please the loving Heart of Jesus, converse with Him from this day forward with the greatest possible confidence and tenderness. Beloved soul, says God, I have written thee in my hands: thy walls are always before me-(Is. xlix. 16). What do you fear? I have written you in My hands so as never to forget to do you service.
In order the more to strengthen your confidence in God, often call to mind His loving treatment of you, and the gracious means He has used to draw you from the disorders of your life and your attachments to earth, in order to attract you to His holy love; and therefore fear lest you have too little confidence in treating with your God, now that you have a resolute will to love and please Him with all your power. The mercies He has granted you are most sure pledges of the love He bears you. God is displeased with a want of trust on the part of souls that heartily love Him, and whom He loves. If, then, you desire to please His loving Heart, converse with Him from this day forward with the greatest possible confidence and tenderness.
I have graven thee in my hands: thy walls are always before my eyes-(Is. xlix. 16). Beloved soul, says the Lord, why do you fear or mistrust? I have you written in My hands, so as never to forget to do you service. Are you afraid of your enemies? Know that the care of your defence is always before Me, so that I cannot lose sight of it. David rejoiced, saying to God: Thou hast crowned us as with a shield of thy good will -(Ps. v. 13). Who, 0 Lord, can ever harm us, if Thou with Thy goodness and love dost defend and encompass us round about? Above all, animate your confidence at the thought of the gift that God has given us the Gift of Jesus Christ: God so loved the world as to give his only-begotten Son-(Jo. iii. 16). How can we ever fear, exclaims the Apostle, that God will refuse us any good, after He has vouchsafed to give us His own Son? He delivered him up for us all; how hath he not also, with him, given us all things?-(Rom. viii. 32).
My delights are to be with the children of men-(Prov. viii. 31). The paradise of God, so to speak, is the heart of man. Does God love you? Love Him. His delights are to be with you; let you delight to be with Him; to pass all your lifetime with Him, in the delight of whose company you hope to spend a blissful eternity. Accustom yourself to speak with Him alone, familiarly, with confidence and love, as to the dearest Friend you have, and Who loves you best.
If it be a great mistake, as has been already said, to deal mistrustfully with God,-to be always coming before Him, as a slave, full of fear and confusion, comes before his prince, trembling with dread,-it would be a greater error to think that conversing with God is but weariness and bitterness. No, it is not so: Her conversation hath no bitterness, nor her company any tediousness-(Wis. viii. 16). Ask those souls who love God with a true love, and they will tell you that in the sorrows of their life they find no greater, no truer relief, than in loving converse with Him.
Now this does not require that you should continually apply your mind to it, so as to forget all your various employments and recreations. It only requires of you, without putting these aside, to act towards God as you yourself act towards those who love you and whom you love.
Your God is ever near you, nay, within you: In him we live, and move, and have our being-(Acts xvii. 28). There is no barrier at the door against any who desire to speak with Him; nay, God delights that you should treat with Him confidently. Treat with Him of your business, your plans, your griefs, your fears,-of all that concerns you. Above all, do so with confidence, with an open heart. For God is not wont to speak to the soul that speaks not to Him; forasmuch as, if it be not used to converse with Him, it would little understand His voice were He to speak to it. And this is what the Lord complains of: Our sister is little: what shall we do to our sister in the day when she is to be spoken to? -(Cant. viii. 8). Our sister is but a child in my love; what shall we do to speak to her if she understand me not? God will have Himself regarded as the Lord of surpassing power and terribleness, when we despise His grace; but, on the contrary, He will have Himself treated with the most affectionate friend when we love Him; and to this end He would have us often speak with Him familiarly and without restraint.
It is true that God ought always to be revered in the highest degree; but when He favours you by making you feel His presence, and know His desire that you should speak to Him as to one who more than all loves all, then express to Him your feelings with freedom and confidence. She preventeth them that covet her, so that she first showeth herself unto them-(Wis. vi. 14). When you desire God’s love, He takes the first step, without waiting till you come to Him; and presents Himself to you, bringing with Him the graces and the remedies you stand in need of. He only waits for you to speak to Him, to show you that He is near to you, ready to hear and to comfort you: And his ears are unto their prayers-(Ps. xxxiii. 16).