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CHAPTER XIII

How she sees the source of goodness is in God, and how creatures participate in it.

“I saw,” said she, “a sight which greatly consoled me. I was shown the living source of goodness in God, as it was when yet alone and unparticipated in by any creature. Then I saw it begin to communicate itself to the creatures, and it did so to the fair company of angels, in order to give them the fruition of its own ineffable glory, demanding no other return from them than that they should recognize themselves as creatures, created by the supreme goodness, and having their being wholly from God, apart from whom all things are reduced to pure nonentity. The same must be said of the soul, which also was created immortal, that it might attain to beatitude; for if there were no immortality there could be no happiness. And because the angels were incapable of annihilation, therefore when their pride and disobedience robed them in the vesture of sin, God deprived them of that participation in his goodness, which, by his grace, he had ordained to give them: hence they remained so infernal and terrible that none, even of those who are specially enlightened by God, can possibly conceive their degradation. He did not, however, subtract all his mercy from them, for had he done so, they would be still more malicious, and would have a hell as infinitely immense in torture as it is in duration.

“God also is patient with man, his creature, while he remains in this world (although in sin), supporting him by his goodness, by which we are either tortured, or enabled to endure joyfully all grievous things, accordingly as he wishes to impart more or less to us. Of this goodness we sinners participate in this life, because God knows our flesh, which is the occasion of so much ignorance and weakness; and, therefore, while we are in this present life, he bears patiently with us, and allures us to him by hidden communications of his bounty: but, should we die in mortal sin (which God forbid), then he would deprive us of his mercy, and leave us to ourselves; yet not altogether so, because in every place he wills that his mercy shall accompany his justice. And were it possible to find a creature which in no degree participated in the divine goodness, it would be almost as bad as God is good.

“This I say, because God showed me somewhat of his truth, in order that I might know what man is without him; that is, when the soul is found in mortal sin, at that time, it is so monstrous and horrible to behold, that it is impossible to imagine anything equally so.

“No one need be surprised at this which I say and feel, namely, that I can no longer live in myself, that I am with a single motion of my own proper will, intellect, or memory. Wherefore, whether I speak, walk, remain quiet, sleep, eat, or do anything else, as if from my own proper self, I do not feel or know it. All these things are so far removed from me, that is, from the interior of my heart, that the distance is like that between heaven and earth; and if any of these things could by any mode enter into me, and give me such an enjoyment as ordinarily they produce, without doubt, I should be filled with misery, for I should feel it to be a retrogression from that which had formerly been shown me, and that it ought to have been destroyed. In this manner, all my natural inclinations, both of soul and body, are being consumed; and I know it to be necessary that all that is ours should waste away until nothing of it can be found; this is on account of its malignity, which nothing is able to overcome but the infinite goodness of God; and if it be not hidden and consumed, it will never be possible for us to be freed from this goad which is more than infernal, and which, so far as we are concerned, I behold to grow more horrible daily, so that one who was interiorly enlightened, yet had no confidence in God, would be driven to despair by the sight; so dreadful are we when compared to God, who, with great love and solicitude, continually seeks to aid us.”

It was still further shown to her in spirit how all the works of men (especially those which are spiritual), without the aid of supernatural grace, remain near God, without fruit, and are of little or no value. She saw also that God never fails to knock at the heart of man in order to enter therein and justify his works, and that none can ever complain that he was not called, for God is ever knocking, and not more at the hearts of the good than at those of the evil.

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