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The Journey to Eternal Peace.

It will be best to describe Matilda’s spiritual life as far as possible from her own words. She gives us in parables the history of her 53 soul. Sometimes it seems well to give these in full, at other times to give the sense whilst omitting repetitions.

She tells us that for a long time she was without rest or peace, knowing not only the guilt, but the power of sin, and she looked hither and thither for that which would meet her need. And the mind, as it were, disputed with the soul, for the mind would have her to seek her peace in the things that could be seen. And thus it said—

But the soul made answer—

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Then doth the mind warn the soul, saying—

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“O soul, in the Magdalen’s bitter tears

Do the streams of comfort flow.”

“Hold thy peace,

For my need thou dost not know.

The comfort I crave is joy divine,

I needs must drink the unmingled wine.”

“Soul, if as a virgin pure thou art,

A river of love will fill thy heart.”

“And if in troth it so might be,

The fountain of love is not in me.”

“Rejoice in the blood the martyrs shed.”

“In the path of the martyrs I daily tread,

But I have not found my rest.”

“In the wisdom the Lord’s apostles taught,

Is there peace, O soul, for thee.”

“I have the Wisdom that is the best,

He abideth ever with me.”

“The angels in heaven are bright and fair,

For solace, O soul, betake thee there.”

“The joy of the angels is grief to me,

If the Lord of the angels I may not see.”

“In fastings and labours manifold,

Did John in the wilderness toil of old,

And so may peace be thine.”

“To labour and suffer my heart is fain,

But love is more than all toil and pain.”

“O soul, the Virgin is kind and sweet,

And fair the Child on her breast,

And thou, adoring, before her feet

Shalt find thy rest.”

“My Beloved is mine, and I am His,

I seek the joy where the Bridegroom is;

For a full-grown bride am I.”...

“In His terrible glory no foot hath trod,

A devouring fire dread to see;

In the blinding light of the face of God

No soul can be.

For thou knowest that all high heaven is bright

With a glory beyond the sun,

With the radiance of the saints in light,

And the fount of that light is One.

From the breath of the everlasting God,

From the mouth of the Man Divine,

From the counsel of God the Holy Ghost,

Doth that awful glory shine.

Soul, couldst thou abide for an hour alone

In the burning fire around His throne?”

“The fish drowns not in the mighty sea,

The bird sinks not in the air,

The gold in the furnace fire may be,

And is yet more radiant there.

For God to each of His creatures gave

The place to its nature known,

And shall it not be that my heart should crave

For that which is mine own?

For my nature seeketh her dwelling-place,

That only and none other;

The child must joy in the Father’s face,

The brethren in the Brother.

To the bridal chamber goeth the bride,

For love is her home and rest;

And shall not I in His light abide,

When I lean upon His breast?”

And she who is beloved with love untold,

Thus goes to Him who is divinely fair,

In His still chamber of unsullied gold,

And love all pure, all holy, greets her there—

The love of His eternal Godhead high,

The love of His divine Humanity.

Then speaketh He and saith, “Beloved one,

What would’st thou? It is thine.

From self shalt thou go forth for evermore,

For thou art Mine.

O soul, no angel for an hour might dream

Of all the riches that I give to thee,

The glory and the beauty that beseem

The heritage of life that is in Me.

Yet satisfied thou shalt for ever long,

Thus sweeter shall be thine eternal song.”77See Purgatoria, Canto xxxi. 129. “My soul was tasting of the food that while It satisfies us, makes us hunger for it.”

“O Lord my God, so small, so poor am I,

And great, almighty, O my God, art Thou.”

“Yet thou art joined to Christ eternally;

My love a changeless, everlasting NOW.”

And thus the joyful soul is still

At rest in God’s eternal will,

And she is His, and thus delighteth He

Her own to be.


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