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CHAPTER XVII

In what manner God deals with one who corresponds with him.—And how the saint abhorred spiritual delights, and how God cast around her the chain of pure love.

This holy woman said that when God disposes a soul to correspond to him with her free will by placing herself wholly in his hands, he leads her to every perfection; thus has he dealt with one who, after she was thus called, never more followed her own will, but always stood waiting interiorly upon the will of God, which she so confidently felt to be impressed upon her mind that she sometimes said to him: “In all that I think, speak, or do, I trust in thee that thou wilt not permit me to offend thee.”

The following rule with regard to the intellect was given to this soul, namely: never to attempt to understand anything in heaven or on earth and, least of all, the spiritual operations in her self; and she obeyed so implicitly that she never more observed curiously anything in herself or in others.

If it were asked in what manner the intellectual powers were employed, I should answer that all the powers of the soul were always under the command and in the service of God, and when anything had to be done, at that instant, and in so far as necessity required, it was given her to know what she should do, and then the door was closed.

Of the memory she could give no account, for it seemed as if she were without memory and without intellect. This was not caused by any voluntary act of hers, but was the result of seeing herself so often and so suddenly moved to action, that she easily comprehended that it was God who was operating in her, and she remained occupied in him, and lost to all sense of time or place and without the will or the ability to do otherwise, except when God suddenly effected some change in her. Nor was she ever able to consider anything except what God at the moment proposed to her; in this manner she was attentive to whatever she was doing so long as necessity required, but when it was finished all memory of it passed with it.

The same thing was true of her affections, which were taken from her by her Love even at the beginning, and in such a way that she could no longer love anything created or uncreated, not even God himself, at least as he was revealed in those sentiments, in visions, delights, and spiritual correspondences which all others who beheld them estimated so highly, but which she on the contrary held in horror and sought to fly from. But the more she sought to avoid them the more were they given to her, and they increased in such a manner that her body was often entirely prostrated by them. Her soul, however, remained pure and serene, as if it were passed beyond such violence, and were filled with divine sweetness. And when this was over, she seemed to be improved both in mind and body. Yet she had no desire for such improvement, and sought for nothing but God, her Love, in comparison with whom she rejected all, even that which proceeded from him, as being of less value, or indeed as nothing.

This integrity of the will she held so cautiously and was always so hidden in God that no illusion, imagination or inspiration could interpose between them, nor even any truth which was not immediately from him.

Therefore when God took from her the burden and the care of herself, her spirit found itself all light and able to do great things, and the instinct of love which God gave it when it was thus separated from her proper self, was so swift and great and powerful that she could satisfy it nowhere but in God. Then God, seeing her so disposed and well prepared, cast down from heaven one end of the cord of his most upright, pure, and holy love, and with it held her so closely occupied in him that she readily understood that she sprang from him and corresponded with him. Yet, in all this her humanity had no share, and neither felt, saw nor understood it.

Thus she allowed this clear water to flow descending as from a living fountain; and by means of her love and of her great purity she saw every little defect which to her appeared offensive: and if it had been possible for her to tell the great importance of every least impediment to the divine love, even hearts of adamant would have been ground into powder by fear of them.

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