Containing what God, and also the Spirit spoke to the Soul. Of the admirable ways by which God deprived her of all things and destroyed her imperfections.


Of a new love which God poured into her heart, by which he drew her Spirit to himself.--The Soul follows it, so that her powers are absorbed and lost in this love, and the Body, being subject to the Soul, becomes bewildered and changed from its natural condition.

     After this creature had been despoiled of the world, of the flesh, of her possessions, habits, affections, and, in short, of everything but God, it was his will to deprive her of herself also, and to separate the Soul from the Spirit by a suffering so acute that it is difficult to describe it or to make it understood by one who has not experienced it. God infused into that heart a new love, so ardent and so powerful that it absorbed into itself the Soul, with all her powers, so that she was raised above her natural condition and so constantly occupied within herself that she could no more take delight in anything nor look toward heaven or earth.

     This Soul was unable to correspond with the body, which being thrown out of its natural condition, stood bewildered, not knowing where it was, nor what to do or say. By this new method, unknown, and as yet not understood by any creature, strange and new operations were then effected. It was as if a chain were extended, by which God, who is Spirit, draws to himself the spirit of man, and holds it absorbed in him. The soul, which cannot exist without her spirit, follows, and is also thus absorbed. There she remains, unable to do otherwise, so long as God binds the spirit to himself. The body, being subject to the soul, is deprived of its natural ailment, which without her aid she cannot receive, and is thrown out of its natural state. The spirit, meanwhile, is in the fit condition for that end for which it was created by God; and, stripped of all things, it rests in him as long as it is his good pleasure, provided that the body can endure it and live.

     The soul and the body then return to their natural action, and having been refreshed by the repose of the spirit, God again elevates it to its former state, and in this manner the animal imperfections are by degrees destroyed, and the soul, thus cleansed, remains pure spirit, and the body, purged from its evil habits and inclinations, is also pure and fitted to unite itself, without hindrance to the Spirit in due season. This work God effects by love alone, which is so great that it is incessantly seeking the profit and advantage of this Soul, his beloved.

     But the special work of which I speak, God performs without the aid of the Soul, and in the following manner: he fills her with a secret love, which deprives her of her natural life, so that the work carried on in her is wholly supernatural. She remains meanwhile in that sea of secret love which is so great that all who are drawn within it sink overwhelmed, for it overpowers the memory, the understanding, and the will: and to these powers, thus submerged in the divine love, all things else which approached them would be their hell, for they have been deprived of the natural life for which she Soul was created.

     Such a soul, while yet in this life, shares, in some degree, the happiness of the blessed; but this is hidden even from herself, for it is so great and high that she is unable to comprehend it, exceeding as it does the capacity of her powers, which look to nothing beyond, but rest satisfied and submerged in this sea of love. When created things are spoken of, her facilities, like fools, are powerless and lifeless, not knowing where they are; so hidden is this work in God. The further it advances, the more contented and strong to bear all that God pleases to accomplish in it, does the spirit become; but it comprehends no more on the account, for the soul, as if dead, knows nothing of this work nor takes any part therein.

     But the body, which must needs live on this earth while God is bringing the soul by its means to her destined perfection, how can it exist, alienated in all things from its natural condition? It can no longer use the understanding, the memory, or the will, for earthly purposes, nor does it take pleasure in spiritual things. It will live, then, in this way, in great torments: but God, whose works this is, is not willing that any but himself shall take part in it, and we shall now explain the means he uses.


In what manner God keeps the Soul occupied in his love.--Of the weakness of the body and of the support it receives from creatures.--Of the extreme sufferings of Humanity, which it bemoans without complaining, being interiorly conformed to the will of God.--And how purgatory in this life is severe and sweet and full of mercy.

     Sometimes this occupation of love was lightened and the Spirit allowed to take a breath, and to communicate with the Soul and the Soul with the Body, so that the senses of both were in a condition to receive some aid from created things, and were thus revived. But when God withdrew the Spirit into himself, all the rest followed it, the body remaining, as it were, dead, and so estranged from its natural state that when it again returned to it, it was entirely exhausted and could receive no help from any creature. Humanity could neither eat nor drink nor give any sign of life, so that it was led as a little child who can do nothing but weep. It could not enjoy that which nature desires, for it was deprived of taste and drawn out of its natural state.

     When the Soul had remained awhile in this condition, she turned toward her Lord with bitter lamentation, and said to him:

     Soul. Oh, my Lord, hitherto I have been in entire peace, contentment, and delight, for all my powers were in the enjoyment of the love bestowed on me by thee, and seemed as if they were in Paradise. Now they are driven from their home and find themselves in an unknown and strange country. Formerly the intellect, the memory, and the will, were conscious of thy love in all their operations, which they performed according to thy ordination, with great satisfaction to themselves and to all with whom they had to do: this was through thy sweet concurrence, which gave a zest to every act. Now I am naked and despoiled of all things and deprived of the power to love and to operate as I was wont to do. What then shall I do, living and yet dead, without understanding, without memory, and without will, and what is worse, without love, bereft of which I did not believe it possible to live, since man was created for love and for enjoyment, especially of God, his first object and his last end?

     This operation, which I behold for the first time, deprives me of love and of joy, and I am lost in myself, not knowing what to do or say. Oh, how hard and intolerable it is to live thus, especially since I see that all my powers accord with one another, having found repose in God, their object and their end; and although they are ignorant of this work, yet in their ignorance they remain content!

     But abandoned and deserted Humanity, how shall it live, parched, naked, and powerless? It has eyes and sees not; nostrils and smells not; ears and hears not; mouth and tastes not; a heart and cannot love! Every mode of life is found in that hidden love; but how is he to live to whom that love brings death, whose senses are all awake, but who cannot use them as others do?

     And therefore, Humanity said, lamenting:

     Me, miserable, alone in this world, what shall I do? I shall live in wretchedness, and none will have compassion on me, because this work will not be recognized as that of God, inasmuch as I must needs live, almost continually, in a different way from others, whether they be seculars or religious, and do things that will be looked upon as folly. There remains neither order nor regularity in my life, and for this reason it will rather scandalize than edify.

     Alas! alas! that I should behold a work so cruel to Humanity! It is as if I were in a heated furnace, with the entrance closed, neither dead nor alive, and in dread of being reduced to ashes; yet I complain not, for interiorly I am in conformity with the will of God, who holds me in this condition according to a design neither known nor comprehended by the Soul herself; but the effect is shown in the execution of the work. It is Humanity which feels the torment, without complaining; yet if it could lament it would be refreshed.

     Oh, what a sweet and cruel purgatory is this hidden one on earth! It is sweet in comparison with the purgatory of the life to come, but to us it appears cruel when we see a body on this earth suffering so intolerably. Yet what seems cruelty to us is truly a great mercy of God, although a hidden and unsuspected one. To him who is enlightened, this work is evidently done by love only the blind would endeavor to escape it, but in vain. We are all sinners, and how much better is it to be cleansed here than in the other life! For whoever suffers purgation in this life pays but a small portion of what is due, by reason of the liberty of his free-will cooperating with infused grace. God never subjects man to this discipline until he has obtained from him his free consent. For a moment it is put before him, and accepting it of his own free-will, he puts himself into the hands of God to be dealt with according to his pleasure. But this is hidden from Humanity.

     The Spirit having given consent, God binds the Soul unto himself, and thereafter it remains in these bonds, which are never broken. All this is done without Humanity, which must be subject to the decree of God and the good pleasure of the Spirit. And when it finds itself in such subjection, it cries aloud like one who is suddenly wounded, and because it does not know the end, it is left to its lamentations while God continues his work, giving no heed unto its cries.


Humanity, thus menaced, desires to know the cause.--This is promised her.--God, while seeking men, draws them by different means and inspirations.--Of her continual sorrow. How, in her affliction, she calls upon God to relieve her by one ray of his love.--When she comes to understand the grace God has given her, she is pierced by a new dart of love.--Of her confession and contrition.

     Humanity, finding itself menaced by various sufferings, through which it must needs pass, being unable to defend itself, sought to know the cause for which it must endure a martyrdom without alleviation. It was answered interiorly, that a release would be granted in due season, and it became as one sentenced to death, who, having heard the sentence pronounced upon his evil deeds resigns himself to an ignominious end and thus sometimes escapes it.

     "In my infinite and ever-active love," spake God, "I continually go forth in search of souls, in order to guide them to life eternal; and, illuminating them with my light, I move the free-will of men in many and diverse ways. When man yields to my inspirations, I increase this light, and by its aid he sees himself imprisoned, as it were, in a foul and dismal den, surrounded by a brood of venomous reptiles which strive to destroy him but which he saw not before by reason of the darkness. By the light I grant him, he sees his peril and calls upon me to free him in mercy from the miseries which hem him in on every side. I am ever illuminating him more and more, and, as his light grows clearer, and he discovers more plainly the dangers which surround him, he cries aloud and with bitter tears: `O my God! take me hence and do with me what thou wilt. I can endure all things if thou wilt release me from this misery and peril!'"

     It appeared to this Soul that God turned a deaf ear to her lamentations; but he increased her light daily, and with its growth her anguish likewise deepened, for by it she saw not only her own danger, but that no way of escape was open to her. Long did she cry to God for help, for so he had decreed, and though he gave her no reply, he yet had regard to her perseverance, and kindled in her heart a hidden fire, while at the same time he reveled to her her imperfections. In this manner she was for a season restrained and overwhelmed in her own wretchedness. She ate no other bread, and lived in continual sorrow; moreover, as the light of grace increased, the flesh was consumed away and the blood cleansed from its superfluous humors. She was so weakened and afflicted that she could scarcely move, and in her desolation she cried aloud to God: Miserere mei Deus secundum magnam misericordiam tuam (Psalm 50).

     And God, when he saw her entirely abandoned to his mercy and despairing of herself, revived her with a ray of his love whereby he made her see anew the magnitude of her defects, and that hell alone was their fitting retribution. She recognized, moreover, the singular grace which God had bestowed upon her, and as she beheld it, she was pierced afresh with love and grief at her offences against such great goodness. She began to confess her sins with such deep and extraordinary contrition that she seemed ready to perform every possible penance of soul and body.

     Contrition, confession, and satisfaction, are the first works of the Soul after it has been enlightened by God. By this means she is freed from her sins and imperfections, clothed with virtue, and remains thus until she has formed the habit of virtue.


God sends into that heart another ray of love, which, diffusing itself, fills the soul and revives the body.--There is nothing but exceeding love and joy, until this love, which is wholly from God, has completed its work.

     God once more infused into the Soul another ray of love, and by its superabundance the body also was refreshed, and there was nothing but love and rejoicing of heart, for the Soul believed herself in paradise. In this state the Soul continued until every love except that of God was entirely consumed, and with his love alone she remained until she was wholly absorbed in him. He bestowed upon her many graces and sent her many sweet consolations, upon which she fed as do all those who share the divine love. He spoke to her also in those loving words which, like flame, penetrate the hearts of those who hear them. The body, moreover, was so inflamed, that it seemed as if the Soul must quit it in order to unite herself with her Love. This was to her a season of great peace and consolation, for all her nourishment was the food of eternal life.

     In this state she feared neither martyrdom nor hell nor any opposition or adversity that might befall her, for it seemed to her that with this love she could endure all things. O loving and rejoicing heart! O happy soul that has tasted this love! Thou canst no longer enjoy or behold aught beside, for thou hast attained thy rest for which thou wert created! O sweet and secret love: whoever tastes thee can no longer exist without thee! Thou, O man! who wert created for this love, how canst thou be satisfied and at peace without it? How canst thou live? In it is comprised all that can be desired, and it yields a satisfaction so entire that man can neither obtain it for himself nor even conceive it until he has experienced it. O love! in which are united all bliss and all delight, and which satisfies all desire!

     Whoever could express the emotions of a heart enamored of God, would break every other heart with longing, although it were harder than the diamond and perverser than the devil. O flame of love! thou dost consume all rust, and so completely removest every shadow of defect that the least imperfection disappears before thee. So perfectly dost thou thy work in the Soul, that she is cleansed even from those defects that are seen by thine eye alone, to which even that which seems to us perfection is full of faults.

     O Love! thou dost wholly cleanse and purify us; thou dost enlighten and strengthen our understanding, and dost even perform for us our necessary works, and this through thy pure love alone which meets with no return from us.

     And now this Soul, filled with astonishment at beholding God so enamored of her, questions him concerning his love.


The Soul asks concerning this love.--Our Lord in part answers her and discourses to her upon its greatness, nature, properties, causes and effects.

     Soul. O Lord! what is that soul which thou holdest in such esteem and which we value so little? I would that I knew the cause of thy great and pure love for the rational creature whom I behold so contrary in all things to thee!

     Our Lord listened favorably to her request and thus replied: "If you were to know how much I love the soul, you would never know aught further, for you would either die or continue to live by a miracle. And if you were able to compare your own misery with that great love and goodness which I never cease to exercise toward man, you would live in despair. So powerful is my love that the knowledge of it would annihilate not only the body but the soul of man, if that were possible. My love is infinite, and I cannot but love that which I have created; my love is pure, simple, and sincere, neither can I love except with such a love.

     "To him who could in the least understand this, every other love would seem, what in truth it is, an aberration. The cause of my love is only love itself; and because you cannot comprehend, it be at peace and seek not for what you cannot find. This, my love, is better comprehended by an interior sense than by any other way, and to acquire this the action of love must wholly detach man from himself, for he is his own worst impediment. This love destroys malice and fits man to understand the nature of love."

     O admirable work of love, which gives God to man that he may do all that is needful to attain that perfection for which he is designed! God gives him, too, all needful light and grace, increasing them gradually in such a manner and to such a degree that they never fail and never exceed; for if they fell short, man might excuse himself from doing his part because grace was wanting to him, and if they exceeded, the work he might have done through their means but failed to do, would be his punishment.

     Grace increases in proportion as man makes use of it. Hence it is evident that God gives man from day to day all that he needs, no more and no less, and to each according to his condition and capacity. All this he does for the love and benefit of man; but because we are so cold and negligent in our endeavors, and because the instinct of the spirit is to arrive quickly at perfection, it seems as if grace were insufficient. Yet it is not so, and the fault is wholly ours, in not cooperating with the grace already received, which therefore ceases to increase.

     O wretched man! how shall you be excused for failing to correspond with that great love and care which God has always bestowed and still bestows upon you? At the hour of death you will behold and know all this, and you will then be speechless through astonishment. Then the truth will be made plain and you will have no power to contradict it. Shame will overpower you for having failed to do your part in response to all this aid, this grace, this loving care of your Lord, who, in order to satisfy your other request, speaks to you thus:


God reveals to the Soul that the body is to be purgatory for her in this world.--How necessary it is that man should deny himself and become wholly lost in God.--Of the misery of man when he occupies himself with aught beside, since he has no time but the present to acquire a treasure of merit.

     The Lord. The cause of all the suffering through which you have to pass is better understood by experience than by reasoning. Yet know this: I make of the body a purgatory for the soul, and thus augment her glory by drawing her to me through this purgatory alone. And thus I am ever knocking at the door of the heart, and if man yields consent and opens to me, I lead him with continual and loving care to that degree of glory for which I created him. If he could see and understand the care with which I promote his salvation and his welfare, quitting and despising all ease, even were the universe at his command, he would abandon himself without reserve to me.

     There is no martyrdom that he would not endure, if it would preserve him from losing this loving care which is leading him to the highest glory. I would draw him to me by love and faith alone, to which fear and self-interest are opposed, because they spring from the love of self, which cannot coexist with that pure and simple love which alone must absorb man if he would not cast off my care of him. Without this aid he could not enter into the clear depths of my love, for it would be a hell to him. And man, having no other way and no other time but this life in which to purify his soul by love and faith, and with the assistance of my grace, is it not a misery for him to occupy himself with aught beside, and thus lose the precious time which was given him for this work alone? Once passed, it will never more return. Listen then, O Soul, my beloved! listen to my voice; open thine ears to thy Lord who so much loves thee, who is ever caring for thee, and who alone is thy salvation! Steeped in sin as thou art, sunk in such misery and weighed down with evil habits, thou wilt never know the greatness of thy woes until my light unveils them to thee and frees thee from them!

     Soul. Thou hast given me, Lord, many persuasive reasons why I should suffer as I have done and must still do; yet, I pray thee, if it please thee, satisfy my understanding concerning the cause of this suffering, for I need it greatly when I am overpowered by the vehemence of thy love.

     The Lord. Thou knowest that when thou didst yield up thy will to me thou wert sunk so low that had I not prevented thee thou wouldst have fallen into hell. Thou wert borne away into sin and misery like one bound hand and foot. I granted thee light and contrition, by the help of which thou didst make thy confession. Thou hast performed many penances, and for a long time offered prayers and alms in satisfaction for thy sins. I left thee to struggle and torment thyself until thou wert well established in virtue, that thou mightest not hence forward fall into sin. I allowed thee to practice various virtues in order that thou shouldst be confirmed and take pleasure in them and never more turn to other enjoyments.

     And now the Soul began to delight in spiritual things, and was assailed by many temptations, and was thus practised in the ways of God. The providence of God was also made plain to her in many trials and persecutions which she endured from men, from devils, and from herself. For, being accustomed to wrong-doing, it was necessary for her to combat all these enemies until she had destroyed them, inasmuch as it is they who were ever warring against her. And if it were not for our evil habits no one would ever be tempted except in consequence of the increase of grace, and this is a temptation which is without danger, because God sustains by his love those upon whom he permits it to fall.


The Soul, confirmed in virtue, begins to rest in her Lord.--God permits her to see that loving operations whereby, through his great goodness alone, he had liberated her.--The Soul, perceiving her own miseries, burns with a continual flame and is unable to speak or thing of aught besides.

     When God had despoiled this Soul of her evil habits and clothed her with virtue, and had well instructed her in the spiritual life, she began to rest in her Lord. Her battle and her servitude being ended, she was filled with a great joy, especially when God opened her eyes to see how greatly he had assisted her, and how he had defended her from her enemies, both visible and invisible, and from herself, who was the worst of all. The Soul, discerning the providence of God, and finding herself entirely freed from her interior trials, began to turn towards her Lord, who, designing to raise her to a higher state, caused her to behold with the eye of divine love the loving operation which he had accomplished in her. When she beheld his great and watchful care she was lost in astonishment, and considered what God was and what she herself was; that is, how low she was in misery and sorrow and how his goodness alone had rescued her by pure and simple love, and prepared her by amorous modes and ways to receive his divine love. This vision made her confess with bitter tears her woes and sins; and the love which God manifested to her continued to inflame her in such a manner that she could speak and think of nothing else. And in this state she remained until all other loves, both spiritual and natural, were entirely consumed.

     And because the love of God, inasmuch as it is lonely and remote from other loves, is so much the greater, and more vehemently occupies the soul (for it is ever increasing, and works secretly, not only on others but also on itself), therefore the Soul, finding herself in this state, enjoyed all things, interior as well as exterior, in peace, in love, and in delight; for she did not yet know the way by which God intended to lead her, although she was approaching it. And God spake thus to her:


Our Lord makes known to the Soul that she had merited nothing, having employed in purifying herself the time which was given her to increase in grace and glory.--Also he shows her that without his help she could have done nothing.

     The Lord. My daughter, hitherto you have followed the odor of my perfumes, which have guided and supported you thus far upon your way; but without me you could have done nothing. In this way, my grace assisting, you are purged from your sins, despoiled of your affections, habited in virtue, burning with love, and as it were, united with me in love, and so full of delight, both inwardly and outwardly, that you seem to yourself to be in paradise.

     But understand that hitherto you have merited nothing, for whatever you have done in the way of penance, fasting, alms, and prayers, you were obliged to do; it was needful for you to perform them all by my light in order to cancel your debts. And having not the means wherewith to satisfy, I have granted you these through love for you, that you might by them make satisfaction: and know, that all this time which you have spent in satisfying for your sins is as if it were lost, for it was given you that you might increase in love, grace, and glory; therefore, you have merited nothing, although it may seem to you that you have done great things, and such as are highly esteemed by those who do not understand them.

     It was also necessary that you should be clothed with the virtues which attract love, that they might protect you from evil and prepare you to receive greater light; and knowing that of yourself you were unfit for any good work and also incapable of it, I have given you (in order that you might work and persevere in work) a hidden love, by whose operations all your facilities and also your bodily senses should be voluntarily disposed to make satisfaction. I have given you, moreover, the power to love me, in order to detach you from every other love, and finally I have conducted you to the portals of my true and perfect love, beyond which you have not advanced, for to do so is beyond your strength. And with all this you are not yet content, for you have the instinct to advance, although you know not even what you desire.


The Spirit, seeing the Soul brought to the gates of divine love, resolves to subject both Soul and Body to severe suffering.--He tells the Soul that he will separate himself from her, and that in order to recover her first purity, she must pass through many trials.

     When the Spirit saw the Soul led to the portals of divine love, from which she was neither able to advance nor to recede, and saw, moreover, that she had been conducted thus far with much assistance from God, who had pleasantly occupied without wholly satisfying all her facilities, he thus spake:

     Spirit. Now is the time for me to repay the Soul for what she has done to me. For many years I have been subject to her, and, with cruelties too great to be described, excluded from my home; for she was so restrained and oppressed by earthly things that the powers I possessed were not sufficient to enable me to attend to my own spiritual concerns. I called to my aid the certainty of death, the fear of hell, the hope of heaven, preaching, and all other aids afforded by the Church; and also divine inspirations, infirmities, poverty, and other worldly tribulations, in order that, deprived of all things earthly, she might, in her extreme need, when all other resources had failed her, have recourse unto God. But, though in her great necessity she sometimes turned to him and promised with his assistance to do great things, yet when that moment was passed she returned to her accustomed practices and I to my prison; and this has happened many times. But now that I see my Soul, with her senses, and also those of the body, arrived at a point from which she can neither advance nor recede, I will subject and restrain them all in such a way that they can neither impede nor retard me. Complaints will not avail them; they will be as much at my discretion as I have been at theirs; but I shall not be as cruel to them as they have been to me, for they never afforded me the smallest help, even when I was most oppressed and surrounded by my enemies. I will keep the Soul in restraint and in subjection, and inflict upon her, without mercy, all the suffering she can bear. I have her in my hands, and I will leave her so naked, desolate, and forsaken, that she will know not where to turn except for the bare necessities which will keep her alive to suffer a yet longer martyrdom; and this will be in secret in order that no one may give her any remedy. Not one of her members shall escape suffering until my work is finished; whosoever shall behold her in such torments will wish her dead, and she would herself wish it if she could do so without sin.

     Soul. I have heard enough of your threats, and am sufficiently well acquainted with the prospect of what I am to suffer; but the reason of this suffering I have not been able to understand, although it has been promised to me.

     Spirit. I mean to separate myself from you, and for the present I will answer you in words; hereafter I will do so more effectually by deeds which will make you envy the dead.

     You have been conducted even to this threshold by many gentle means and divine graces, which you have assumed and appropriated to yourself, and have hidden them with a subtlety of which you are not yourself aware, for they have become your by such long use that no eye but that of God can discern them; neither would you believe it, did not God himself declare it. Gradually you will come to understand by experience, that even in the first light that was given you, you appropriated your share, and so of contrition, confession, satisfaction, prayer, and other virtuous acts; of interior and exterior detachment; of the sweet love of God, of the alienation of the bodily senses, so that they appeared as if dead because they were entirely controlled by the divine operation. And inasmuch as those works had long sustained your faculties, and the love of God was so strong and powerful within you, you seemed to yourself to be in heaven, and enjoyed it all within yourself as if it were yours by right, and had been bestowed on you by God as the reward of your merits. You did not return it wholly and entirely to him as you should have done in all simplicity and uprightness, and in this you have been dishonest and have defiled yourself, and therefore you must suffer all I have foretold you. Learn what a task it is to purge a soul here below and restore her with no further purgatory to her pristine purity. And when it is God's will to elevate her to a high degree of glory, it becomes more especially necessary, not alone to purify her but to make her pass through many cruel sufferings that she may gain merit by many and grievous pains.

     When the time came which pleased God, he drew the Spirit so secretly and closely to himself, that it held no communication with the Soul nor the Soul with the Body, and both were left so bare and dry that it was hard for them to live at all, and especially at the first, when they were passing from one extreme to the other, although God was secretly attracting them by little and little. At length that befell the Soul, which happens to a bombshell, when the fire being applied it explodes and loses both fire and powder; thus the Soul, having conceived the fire of pure, divine love, suddenly lost that which had before inflamed her, and, deprived of all sensibility, could never more return to it. She resembled a musical instrument which, while furnished with strings, sends forth sweet melody, but, being deprived of them, is silent. So she, who had hitherto with the senses of both Soul and body, discoursed such sweet music, now, bereft of these, remained stringless and mute. When she found herself closely pressed by the Spirit, with no hope of relief (for she remembered all his threats), she cried to God, and said:


The Soul discovers that she must make satisfaction voluntarily, and it seems to her that she is abandoned by God.--She calls upon others for help.--How Humanity, by whom she had been threatened, is put to the proof.--Of the sufferings of the Body when deprived of communications with the Spirit.

     Soul. Lord, I see it to be necessary that I should atone for my dishonest appropriation of thy spiritual graces, and I begin to understand that as I have consented to take part with the body in sin, and have found pleasure in it, I must also consent that it shall be expiated by my own sufferings as well as by those of the body, and that I must pay, even to the last farthing. I see that I have secretly robbed thee of what was thine, and have appropriated many satisfactions, and delighted in many spiritual graces, without referring them all to thee as was my duty; namely, many sweet consolations in speaking, hearing, tasting, and in various other things. I perceive that this robbery was very serious, since nothing more precious could be stolen. For these are the things which essentially differ from all that is man's own. Nothing is of real value to him, except that which it pleases thee to give him by thy grace. Therefore it is necessary for us to comprehend that every grace proceeds from thee, and to thee it must be returned, if we would not be robbers: this robbery originated with the devil by whom we are continually tempted and by whom many are led astray.

     But how shall I satisfy myself for this great and subtle sin, since I have neither strength nor feeling, either of soul or body? I know not whether I am alive or dead. It is hard to live in this world, and yet I must both live and suffer greatly, in order to expiate my offences. I seem to be abandoned by the divine and through the knowledge of that which, not to others but to thee alone, my God, is fully known, that I would always rob thee. Finding myself deserted on every side, give me at least one who can understand and comfort me, as is done to the condemned, that they may not wholly despair.

     Then God comforted Humanity somewhat, and afterwards exercised her in that with which she had before been threatened. The body by degrees became infirm, being deprived of the correspondence of the Spirit, which held the powers of the Soul suspended and engaged, while the body remained naked, famished, wretched, and unconscious that this was the work of God. Hence, it rapidly consumed away and felt every slight evil as a great calamity, and its infirmity increased to such a degree that if it kept the Soul intent on some hidden operation, the body would not have been able to support itself. Exteriorly, too, he gave her a director adapted to her need, who comprehended the work of God within her. This was a great consolation, for her natural forces could not have sustained her under trials so great that they could neither be described by human tongue, nor, if described, be understood. Even if witnessed by the bodily eye they would be incomprehensible, so much greater was the interior suffering than the exterior, and so impossible was it for any way or kind of relief to be found. But God now and then afforded Humanity a little relief, and she seemed restored, although the interior oppression was constantly increasing. So she wandered about the house, wasting away, and ignorant of the nature of her malady, so subtle, hidden, and penetrating was that divine work.

     Then she was assailed in a different manner and with strange and new afflictions, against which she struggled with all her powers. When God afflicted the body, he fortified the mind, and when the mind was suffering, he consoled the body, and thus supported each in turn. She continued in this state for about ten years, Humanity being always more and more unconscious of those hidden operations by which God held her, as it were, bound.

     Afterwards he took from her her confessor, and everything else towards which she looked for help. Then the Spirit drew her forcibly to himself, because he, in turn, was drawn by God with a hidden love, so penetrating and powerful, though without delight, that it melted into itself both Soul and Spirit, while the bodily senses, with everything else, were absorbed in God.

     This hidden love checked, purged, and exterminated all those sins of robbery which had been so secretly and cunningly committed, and thus in secret the penance was performed while the cause remained concealed. Humanity was so oppressed and crushed that she was constrained to cry to our Lord in piteous accents:

     "Oh, my God! how hast thou abandoned me to such cruel sufferings, both interior and exterior! Yet, while I suffer I am still unable to complain, for even when I am most grievously afflicted, I am in secret satisfied by a sharp and searching flame of love, which is gradually consuming all my natural and spiritual strength, so that it is most strange to see a creature living thus deprived of vital force. My confessor, too, is taken from me, so that I can no longer take counsel of him, and so weak have I become that I can turn to nothing with any spirit. Interiorly I find the secret strength which was given me decaying, nor am I in a condition to receive anything from heaven, or earth, but am left like one dead. Yet I must live so long as it pleases God, though I know not how I can live without the help which I am not even able to receive when it is offered me."


Of the brightness of eternal glory, and of the strength imparted to Humanity by a glimpse of it.--How God draws the Spirit to himself, so that it may be wholly occupied in him.--Of its sufferings.--What it is to live on earth while the Spirit is in heaven, and through what sufferings one must pass in order to escape purgatory.

     Towards the close of this process, God came to her aid in a different manner. He sometimes revealed to her a ray of that glory towards which she approached, as the affections of the Soul and the bodily sensations became weaker. This revived her so much, both interiorly and exteriorly, that it supported her for many days; for although she beheld it but a moment, the impression, without any renewal, remained within. And she saw that God held her Spirit so fixed upon himself that he did not allow it to weaver for an instant. The longer this continued the more difficult it was to withdraw from it, the difficulty being too great for words to express. And this was by reason of that hidden Spirit which found itself drawn into greater depths the higher it ascended towards God, and continually losing its own strength as it became more and more absorbed in God, who thus spake to the Soul:

     The Lord. Henceforth I will not have you interfere with my designs, for you would always rob me by appropriating to yourself what is not yours. I will finish the work, and you shall be unconscious of it. I will separate you from your Spirit, and he shall be lost in my abyss.

     Humanity on hearing this was filled with consternation, and said:

     "I am in misery. I do not live, and yet I cannot die, but find myself every day more and more oppressed, and, as it were, consuming away. When I beheld what it was to be centered entirely in God without a single moment's respite, and that I was myself the miserable creature who was to support this siege, and how very terrible it was, all my flesh was in torment. To remain thus steadily occupied in God, without a moment's wavering, is a thing for the blessed in heaven, who, lost to themselves, live only in him. That I should live in this way upon earth while my Spirit is in heaven, is a work surpassing all that I have known, and is the most terrible suffering that can be endured in this world."

     It was shown to Humanity that whoever would enter life eternal without passing through purgatory, must die to this world while yet in it; that is, that all the imperfections of the Soul must be so consumed that she may remain absorbed in God. "But hearing thee weep, O Humanity! it is plain that thou art not yet dead, and thou must still live until thou findest life without impediment. When thy vivacity is all passed away, and thy sensibility is weakened, thou wilt have less to endure. Thou wilt not anticipate thy sufferings afar off as now thou dost, with agitation, but wilt abandon thyself to God, not through the powers of the Soul, nor through any instinct of nature, but purely because God has taken upon himself all these things, and works so secretly and subtly that he in whom the work is wrought is not himself aware of it."

     This God does, that man may be sensible of the suffering inflicted on him, for otherwise he would feel it less, and if he comprehended what was going on, he would always be guilty of robbery, even if he were not led to it by his evil instincts, united to the bad habits, hidden in the depths of his soul. But God, knowing that man could not live in so great an extremity if he did not provide for him, does so secretly and in various modes and times, according to his necessity. At first the assistance is very evident, that he may with love persevere and form the habit of doing spiritual works; then, by degrees, God withdraws these supports whenever he finds the man strong enough to endure the battle. The greater strength he has at the beginning, the greater suffering he may look for toward the end, although God always assists him according to his necessities; yet he does this far more secretly than openly, and never ceases but at death.

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