All our difficulties are favors from God; we see them on the wrong side, and speak as the block of marble would while being chiseled by the sculptor. When God purifies the soul, it cries out like little children do when their faces are washed. The soul's attention must be withdrawn from external, created things, and turned inward towards God exclusively before its union with Him; and this transformation is a great, painful, and wonderful work, and so much the more difficult and painful as the soul's attention has been attracted and attached to transitory things.
All the sacraments of the Church, her authority, prayer, both mental and vocal, spiritual reading, exercises of mortification and devotion, have for their end and purpose to lead the soul to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. St. Alphonsus says in his letters that the first director of the soul is the Holy Ghost Himself.