This is a chapter from the Imitation of Mary, by Alexander De Rouville:
Mary: My child, look closely at the reason why Jesus departed from you, and how you managed to lose His grace and turn Him into an enemy.
Did you not begin to grow lukewarm in His service and commit many faults that made Him unhappy with you? Through repeated neglect you gradually built up a wall of separation between Jesus and yourself.
Did you not grow fond of some dangerous passion and fail to extinguish it as soon as you saw its first spark appear in your heart?
When God asked you to sacrifice some overly human attachment and affection, did you not refuse?
When we refuse the sacrifices the Lord asks of us, we remove ourselves from a quite special providence that safeguards us against wandering far from Him.
If you recognize that one of these faults or other took you away from Jesus, look for the source of the evil. If you are to remove the effect, you must remove the cause.
Watch over yourself more carefully. Watch over your heart with all possible care and never go outside it. The heart cannot be influenced without danger to you; the very life of the soul depends on guarding your heart.
Be faithful in little things lest you become unfaithful in great things. Neglect of little faults leads gradually to serious defects.
Jesus does not want a heart that is divided. He has made your heart entirely for Himself and wants to possess it in its entirety.
My child, the little faults for which you, like so many paltry souls, pardon yourself so easily gradually take you away from Jesus and Him from you.
They do not cause a break with Him, but they prepare for such a break; the Lord looks on them as so many proofs of your coldness, and such coldness lessens the number of His graces.
Fidelity maintains the exchange of affection between the heart of Jesus and the heart of the upright man. Live with Jesus as you want Him to live with you. You want Him to pour out on you the riches of His love; then open your heart to Him without reserve.
Reserve toward Him shows a mean heart. The love you have for anything else makes Him jealous. The least word spoken to Him by one who loves Him is well received. With the same dispositions of faithful love you should in turn receive the inspirations of Jesus, whether He is suggesting through His grace some means of avoiding sin, or suggesting some means of deepening your virtue.
The Believer: Holy Virgin, you know perfectly what love and fidelity are! Help me, with the grace of God, to derive profit from your instruction.
But, weak as I am, shall I not have the misfortune of losing Jesus again and forever?
Mary: My child, it is right that you should fear; if you did not, I would try to inspire you with fear.
But this fear should not be accompanied by disturbance and disquiet of soul, but should instead be moderated by confidence. On your part, do everything that depends on you to persevere in love of Jesus, and expect from His goodness the grace of perseverance.
The Believer: My dear Mother, what a terrible uncertainty for the soul that fears nothing so much as not persevering, when God leaves it ignorant of whether or not it will persevere!
Mary: My child, that is the lot of all who are still in this life.
God has determined that it should be so, lest you be shipwrecked on the reef of presumption.
The uncertainty should keep you humble, inspire you with a holy distrust of yourself, and make you work out your salvation in fear and trembling.
Only in heaven can we be free of all fear and enjoy the happy certainty of being always with Jesus.