Continued from previous post…

FOUR
But it is a still greater sign that we are making progress, if we have a strong feeling on our minds that God wants something particular from us.

We are sometimes aware that the Holy Spirit is drawing us in one direction rather than in another, that He desires some fault to be removed, or some pious work to be undertaken.

This is called by spiritual writers an attraction. Some have one persevering attraction all their lives long. With others it is constantly changing.

With many it is so indistinct that they only realize it now and then; and not a few seem to be without any such special drawing at all.

It implies of course an active self-knowledge, as well as a quiet inward eye of prayer; and it is a great gift, because of the immense facilities which it gives for the practice of perfection; for it almost resembles a special revelation.

To feel then, with all sober reverence, this drawing of the Holy Ghost, is a sign that we are making progress.

Yet it must be carefully remembered that no one should be disquieted because of the absence of such a feeling. It is neither universal nor indispensable.

FIVE
I will venture also to add that an increased general desire of being more perfect is not altogether without its value as a sign of progress: and that, in spite of what I have said of the importance of having a definite object in view.

I do not think we esteem this general desire of perfection sufficiently. Of course we must not stop at it nor be satisfied with it. It is only given us to go on with.

Still, when we consider how worldly most good Christians are, and their amazing blindness to the interests of Jesus, and their almost incredible impenetrability by supernatural principles, we must see that this desire of holiness is from God, and a great gift, and that much which is of surpassing consequence is implied in it.

God be praised for every soul in the world which is so fortunate as to possess it! It is almost inconsistent with lukewarmness, and this is no slight recommendation in itself:

and although there is much beyond it and much above it, yet it is indispensable both to what is beyond and what is above.
Nevertheless we must not be blind to its dangers.

All supernatural desires, which we simply enjoy without practically corresponding to them, leave us in a worse state than they found us.

In order to be safe we must proceed without delay to embody the desire in some act or other, prayer, penance, or zealous deed: yet not precipitately, or without counsel.

Frederick William Faber (1814—1863): Growth in Holiness, pp. 23-36.