With unceasing blows of healing chisel and careful stripping away, the divine Artificer seeks to prepare stones to build an eternal dwelling – as our mother, the holy Catholic Church, full of tenderness, sings in the hymn of the office for the dedication of a church. And that is true.
Every soul destined for eternal glory can be considered most aptly as a stone for building an eternal edifice. The builder who seeks to put up a dwelling in the best way should first polish the stones that will be used in the construction. He does this with blows of hammer and chisel. In the same way, our heavenly Father works on chosen souls who, from all eternity, by his supreme wisdom and providence, have been destined for building up the eternal dwelling.
The soul, if it wants to reign with Christ in eternal glory, must be polished with hammer and chisel strokes, which the divine Artificer uses to prepare the stones, that is, the chosen souls. What are these hammer and chisel strokes? Darkness, my sister, fears, temptations, sadness of spirit and spiritual fears, which reek like a sickness, and bodily discomfort.
Give thanks to the infinite piety of the eternal Father who, in this way, leads your soul to salvation. Why not glory in these benevolent conditions from the best of all fathers? Open your heart to the celestial doctor of souls and, full of confidence, surrender yourselves into his most holy arms: as a chosen one, he leads you to follow Jesus closely on Mount Calvary. With joy and emotion in my soul I ponder how grace is working in you.
Do not forget that the Lord has arranged everything your souls experience. Do not fear causing God harm or injury. It’s enough that you know that in your whole life you have never offended the Lord who, on the contrary, has been honoured more and more.
If this benevolent Spouse of your soul hides from you, he does so not, as you think, because he wants to take revenge on your wickedness, but because it tests your fidelity and constancy even more, and, besides, heals you of some diseases not considered as such by carnal eyes, that is to say, those diseases and faults to which not even the just person is immune. Indeed, Scripture says in the book of Proverbs: “Seven times a righteous man falls”.
Believe me, if I did not see you so afflicted, I would not be as happy, because I would think that the Lord wanted to give you fewer gems. Get rid of, as temptations, the doubts that assail you. Also expel the doubts with regards to the purpose of your life: to do that is not to listen to the divine summons, and to resist the sweet invitations of the Bridegroom. All these things do not come from a good spirit but from a bad one. These are diabolical ploys that try to separate you from perfection or, at least, hinder the journey towards it. Do not lose heart!
Whenever Jesus shows himself, give him thanks. If he hides, give him thanks: all are touches of his love. I wish you to give up your spirit with Jesus on the cross, when he says: “It is accomplished”.
[From the letters of St Pius of Pietrelcina]