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CHAPTER XXI

How she was disposed toward God and toward her neighbor.—What pure and simple love is.

This holy Soul was so regulated by God, that in all that was necessary and reasonable she satisfied every one; and although she was entirely employed in serving her sweet Love, yet she was never willing to displease her neighbor either in word or deed, but on the contrary always assisted him as far as she was able. She said, however, to her Lord: “Thou hast commanded me to love my neighbor, and I am unable to love any one but thee, or to admit any partner with thee: how then shall I obey thee?” And interiorly he responded thus: “He who loves me loves also all whom I love. It suffices that for the welfare of the neighbor thou shouldst do all that is necessary for his soul and body. Such a love as this is sure to be without passion; because it is not in himself but in God that the neighbor should be loved.”

Speaking afterwards on this subject, she said: “Before God created man, love was pure and simple, free from all taint of self-interest, and needing no restraint. And in creating man, God was moved by no other cause except his pure love. In all that he did for him he had no other motive or object. And as his love allows nothing to prevent it from doing all possible good to its beloved, and attends to nothing which is not necessary to that end, so the love of man should return to God all that it receives from him; and then, having no respect to anything but love, it will fear nothing, because it never seeks its own advantage.”

She said again: “Not only is pure love incapable of suffering, but it cannot even comprehend what suffering or pain can be, nor understand the wicked actions which it sees others do. And, were it possible for it to feel all the pains which are felt by the devils and the damned souls, it could never say that they were pains; because, in order to feel or comprehend pain, it truly is necessary to be without this love.

“The true and pure love is of such force that it cannot be diverted from its object, nor can it see or feel anything else. Hence it is useless toil to try to make such creatures employ themselves in the things of this world, for with regard to them they are as insensible as if they were dead.

“It is impossible to describe this love in words or figures which will not, in comparison with the reality, seem entirely false. This only can be understood, namely, that the human intellect is unable to comprehend it. And to him who seeks to know what it is that I know and feel, I can only reply that it transcends all utterance.”

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