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CHAPTER XXV

The manner in which the saint was medically treated for bodily infirmity, when her suffering was from spiritual fire, and of other accidents that befell her.

The perfection of this saint, thus illuminated by God, the true light, could not be understood, for it did not manifest itself by outward acts but all her perfection was in the interior of her soul, in the view of herself and of her God, with whom she was united in an extraordinary manner, and also in secret interior conversations, some of which she repeated twice (although she could poorly utter them in words), not as they actually took place within, for they were unutterable, and she could only express them by similitudes.

The state of this soul was not passive, as it is wont to be with others, forso profound was her sense of the importance of what she saw, that it inflamed her heart to such a degree that she fell dangerously ill. It is easy to perceive from this, how far such a creature was removed from the common experience. Usually, men hardly feel any compunction for the sins they have committed, and of venial offences they scarcely make any account; but the body of the saint was almost rent in pieces when it was given her to see the greatness of even a venial sin, and if God had discovered to her one of these sins in herself, she certainly would have fallen dead.

Her sufferings were often so great that recourse was had to medical treatment, and letting of blood was ordered to relieve the burning fire of the spirit and restore the power of speech, but with little effect. Medicines were also administered when she seemed near her end, but they increased her suffering, although she took them in obedience. It then began to be understood that God was the author of these things, and she was left to struggle with her attacks without medicine, but it required great care and watchfulness to preserve her life. The devoted attendants who surrounded her were confounded, and she would sometimes say, in a voice scarcely audible: “Now my heart seems as if in ashes, I am consuming with love.” At other times, to relieve her humanity, she would go into a solitary apartment, and there cast herself upon the ground, crying: “O love, I can bear no more;” and, writhing in agony, the house would resound with her cries and lamentations.

Sometimes, when walking in the garden, she would address the plants and trees, saying: “Are you not creatures created by my God? are you not obedient to him?” And thus discoursing, she would obtain some relief to her sufferings, but if she perceived she was overheard, she suddenly stopped, and answered any one who spoke to her according to the necessities of the affairs of human life.

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