"Now, my dear children, it happens that some souls, drawing themselves inward, place their joy in themselves, picking and choosing what pleases them in the spiritual life. They do not abandon themselves to God, but all in self-will they follow their own self-chosen devotional methods. The souls that act that way enjoy God's gifts and graces inordinately, receiving little fruit, and sometimes none at all. Now God knows that if he should cast a brighter light upon such people's faults, and if he withdraw from them their devotional sweetness, they would not remain faithful to him. That is why he gives such spirits the sweet solace of religious feeling, lest they should quite give up his service. They are yet petty and weak of character; and the reason is because they are full of self-will. They are very dear to themselves. As to perfection, they mistake the show for the reality. They are essentially outward characters, having little interior or life. Hence they are all too readily led astray.
But there are other souls, who have given up to God in a state of most interior detachment, receiving everything from God with equal indifference whether it be bitter or sweet. And if spiritual joy departs, that loss moves them not one whit farther from God. These souls prefer the reality to the show of perfection; they lead spiritual lives fruitful of the essentials of religion. They are the true, interior spirits.
- Father John Tauler, O.P. From the September Issue 2010 Magificat.