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CHAPTER XXVII

Of the sweetness of the divine precepts, and the advantage of temporal adversity.

All things took place in this holy soul in the order of true love; and she sometimes said to her Lord: “O Love! If others are bound to keep thy commandments, I am bound to keep them by a tenfold obligation, because they are sweet and full of love. Thou dost not command things that lead to evil; but to him who obeys thou givest great peace, love, and union with thyself. This cannot be understood by one who has not experienced it; for the divine precepts, although they are contrary to sensuality, are yet in accordance with the spirit which, by its nature, seeks separation from all the bodily senses, by union with God, to which union I find every other love of things inferior to God to be a hindrance.”

She saw that all things are necessary which God ordains, who is only waiting to consume interiorly and exteriorly all our corrupt affections, and that all wrongs, injuries, contempt, sickness, poverty, abandonment of relatives and friends, the temptations of the devil, mortifications, and all else contrary to humanity, are especially needful to us, that we may combat with them, till at length gaining through them the victory, our corrupt affections may be extinguished, until adversity appears to us no longer bitter, but sweet.

Whoever believes that anything good or bad can befall him, which can separate him from God, shows that he is not yet strong in divine charity; for man should fear nothing but to offend God, and all beside should be to him as if it were not. For herself, she said, that she seemed to see in her heart a ray of love proceeding from God, binding them together with a golden thread, and had no fear that it would ever be loosed; and this had been the case ever since her conversion. Her sweet Lord gave her such confidence that when she was moved to pray for anything, something within seemed to say: “Command, for love can do it.” Indeed she had every thing she asked, with all possible certainty.

She was wont to say: “The love of God is our proper love, for we are created for that alone; the love, on the contrary, for everything beside, ought in truth to be termed hatred, since it deprives us of our proper love, which is God. Love then God, who loves thee, and leave him who does not love thee, namely, everything beneath God; for all things are enemies to that true love. Oh! that I could make this truth be felt as I myself feel it: I am certain that there is no creature who would not love Him; so that if the sea were the food of love, there are no men or women, who would not drown themselves in it, and those who were at a distance from it would always be drawing nearer to it, that they might plunge into it; for every pleasure, when compared to it, is pain, and such riches does it confer on a man, that all beside should seem to him but misery.

“It makes him so light that he does not feel the earth beneath his feet; his affections are so fixed on things above that he loses all sense of suffering here below, and he is so free, that there is nothing to keep him from the presence of God. If you asked me: ‘What dost thou feel?’ I should answer thee: ‘What eye could not see, nor ear hear;’ but I am ashamed to speak of it in my poor language, for I am certain that all I can say of God, is not of God, but only fragments that fall from his table.’”

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