"St. Peter in Prison" (1631) by famous Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669).
"In all great temptations against purity, or against faith or hope, what is most painful to us is not exactly our fear of offending God, but our fear of losing ourselves through offending Him. We are much more occupied with the thought of our own interest than of His glory. This is why our confessor has so much difficulty in reassuring us, and in making us obey him. We think he is deceiving us, that he is leading us astray, that he is ruining us, because he requires us to pass over and set aside our vain fears. Let us annihilate our own judgment; let us prefer blind obedience to all else; let us even consent, if it is necessary, to be lost through obedience: then we shall find that all our perplexities, all the anguish of our soul, all our interior torments, will cease. We shall find peace, and a most exquisite and perfect peace, in the total forgetfullness of ourselves. There is nothing in heaven, or on earth, or in hell, that can trouble the peace of a soul that is really annihilated."(Source: Manual for Interior Souls by Fr. Grou. 3rd Ed. St. Anselm's Society, London. 1905.)
There ends the chapter. Is there anything in this world that is better than inner peace? I think not. I hope you have learned as much as I have, perhaps more. I am not so bright really and have no virtue.
I was reminded of a story I read about St. Padre Pio - he had suffered for many years with a terrible and large hernia. Others had noticed he was having great difficulty ascending the stairs to the altar to say Mass. He literally had to stagger up them sideways as flexing his thigh put too much pressure on the hernia. One of his many spiritual children, a surgeon, was speaking to him one day after mass and the Saint said "Oh, I keep forgetting....I have something you need to look at." In another room, the doctor found Pio to have a huge, strangulating inguinal hernia at an advanced state. When the doctor asked Pio how long this had been going on, his reply went something like this: "Years I think, the Lord didn't cause me to remember to tell anyone." St. Pio was so self-annihilated that he gave no thought whatsoever to his own body, screaming though it was in agony.
Lord, lead me on the path of desolation. May I be one whom You look upon and find dead to self. May I consider You, before considering me. I cannot do this alone God, for I am a wicked and selfish soul indeed. Give me to know that I am nothing Lord, and what is it that nothing requires? Amen+