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CHAPTER XI

Of the revelation she had concerning purity of conscience, and of the opposition of sin to God.

Illuminated by a clear ray from the true light which shone into this holy soul she spoke admirable things concerning purity of conscience, saying: “Purity of conscience can endure nothing but God only; for he alone is spotless, simple, pure: of all things else, that is, of what is evil, it cannot endure even the smallest spark; this can neither be understood nor appreciated, if it be not felt.” Hence she had ever in her mouth, as a habit, this word Purity: she had also a cleanliness and purity most admirable in her speech. She wished that every conception and emotion of the mind should issue to from it undefiled and pure, without the least complexity, and thus it was impossible for her to feign a sympathy she did not feel, or to condole with others out of friendship, except so far as she really corresponded with them in her heart. The continual humility, contempt, and hatred of self, in this soul were at this time most remarkable. When, by the divine permission, she suffered such mental distress that she could scarcely open her mouth, she would then say: “Oh, Love! let me remain thus, that I may be submissive; for otherwise it would be impossible that I should not do something wrong. Oh, how good and admirable is the knowledge of a soul, which, being all protected, united, and transformed in God, her felicity, sees clearly, on one side, her own inclination to all that is evil, and on the other, how she is restrained by God, that she may not commit actual sin! One thing is certain; namely, that never is the soul so perfect that it does not need the continual help of God, even though it be transformed in him. It is true, that the nature of the sweet God is such, that he never allows these souls to fall, although the soul, left to herself, could fall if she were not thus restrained. But he only preserves those who never with their free will consent unto sin; and allows those to fall who do voluntarily yield assent thereto; for truly, having given us free will, he will not force it. Consequently, those who fall into sin do so by their own fault, and not by that of God, who is ever ready to aid the soul even after her fall, if she will allow herself to be aided, and will correspond to the divine grace which never ceases to call her, saying: ‘Turn from evil and do good, and be converted to me with your whole heart.’”

And therefore she said: “If the soul, fallen into what sins soever, corresponds to the grace of God and abhors her past sins, with a resolution and a will to sin no more, he immediately frees her from her guilt, and holds her so that she may not fall, nor through her own malice be separated from him, that is, from the observance of his commandments which are his will; to sin voluntarily, is to be separated from God. And not only is he ready, on his own part to do all this, but I see clearly with the interior eye, that the sweet God loves with a pure love the creature that he has created, and has a hatred for nothing but sin, which is more opposed to him than can be thought or imagined. I say, God loves his creature with a perfection that cannot be understood, nor could it be even by an angelic intellect which would fail to comprehend even its slightest spark. And if God wished to make a soul understand, it would be necessary to give her an immortal body, since by nature it could never endure the knowledge. For it is impossible that God and sin, however slight, should remain together, for such an impediment would prevent the soul from attaining to his glory. And as a little thing that thou hast in thine eye will not allow thee to see the sun, and as it is possible to compare the difference between God and the sun to that between the intellectual vision and that of the bodily eye, it is plain that the great opposition between the one and the other can never be truly imagined.

“Wherefore, it is necessary that the soul which desires to be preserved from sin in this life, and to glorify God in the other, should be spotless, pure, and simple, and not voluntarily retain a single thing which is not purged by contrition, confession and satisfaction, because all our works are imperfect and defective. Whence, if I consider and observe clearly, with the interior eye, I see that I ought to live entirely detached from self; Love has wished me to understand this, and in a manner I do understand it, so that I could not possibly be deceived; and for my part I have so abandoned myself, that I can regard it only as a demon, or worse, if I may so say.”

“After God has given a soul the light in which she perceives the truth that she cannot even will, and much less work, apart from him, without always soiling and making turbid the clear waters of his grace, then she sacrifices all to him, and he takes possession of his creature, and both inwardly and outwardly occupies her with himself, so that she can do nothing but as her sweet Love wills. Then the soul, by reason of its union with God, contradicts Him in nothing, nor does aught but what is pure, upright, gentle, sweet, and delightful, because God allows nothing to molest it. And these are the works which please the Lord our God.”

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