Taken from Meditations by John Baptist de La Salle
GOSPEL: SAINT LUKE 11:14–28
Simplicity and openness of heart
19.1 First Point
Today’s Gospel relates that Jesus Christ delivered a man possessed by a dumb demon,2
that is, one who
prevented the victim from speaking. This is a figure of those who remain mute in their relationship with their
superiors, who do not open to them the depths of their hearts. This is very harmful, often the most harmful thing an
inferior can do.
When you are sick, you can scarcely be cured if you cannot explain what is wrong; so too if you do not
expose the wound in your soul to your spiritual physician, you run the risk of remaining ill for a long time. What was
at first only a slight spiritual difficulty becomes a strong temptation, because the sufferer did not have the courage
to discuss it openly with his Director. A fault thus concealed is followed by another still more serious, and in the end
the problem becomes incurable because it was not brought to light at the beginning, when nothing would have
been easier to remedy.
19.2 Second Point
It is pride or human respect that ordinarily prevents us from revealingour interior difficulties to our superior.
It is pride, because we are ashamed to expose the depths of our soul and because our selflove suffers keenly when
we have to admit certain weaknesses. So it seals our lips, persuading us that we would dishonor ourselves if we
spoke sincerely to a superior, who then would get a bad impression of our behavior. This is what the demon
does not fail to suggest to us on such occasions, taking pains to magnify things in our eyes, preventing us from
surmounting the momentary confusion we experience in acknowledging these faults.
The remedy for this pernicious notion is to love the humiliation we experience in such an openness of
heart, to carry out this duty as a powerful way to humble ourselves, and at the beginning simply to tell our superior
everything that is most humiliating in the account we are giving of our conscience.
19.3 Third Point
The second reason why we ordinarily find it difficult to open ourselves fully to our superior is human respect.
When we reflect that the fault in question concerns the very person to whom we must make it known, we do
not know exactly how to go about it. We fear to cause pain, and so we sometimes resolve to say nothing. What
a frivolous reason! What an ill-founded fear! For in such cases what happens is just the opposite of what we had
A superior to whom an inferior reveals everything going on interiorly, whether this has to do with the
superior or with others, ought to feel, and usually does feel, a very special affection and esteem for the person who
shows this kind of confidence. Such a superior is as unaffected as a stone by anything personal and does not become
concerned about any revelations, except to apply the most appropriate remedy.
In the future consider all the thoughts that might prevent you from revealing yourself in all simplicity to
those who are appointed to guide you as temptations from the demon, most dangerous and harmful to the good of