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CHAPTER XXVIII

The process of annihilation of man in God illustrated by the figure of the eating of bread.—Of her interior and exterior.

“Take a loaf,” said the saint, “and eat it, and after you have eaten it, its substance goes to the nutriment of the body, and what is superfluous passes away; for if nature retained it, having no need of it, the body would die. Now if that bread should say to the body: Why do you deprive me of my existence, for by my nature I am not satisfied to be thus reduced to nothingness? If I could, I would defend myself from thee, for it is natural for every creature to preserve itself,—the body would answer: Bread, thy being is designed for my support, which is more worthy than thee, and hence thou shouldst be more content with the end for which thou wast created, than with thy own being; for if it were not for thy end, thy being would have no value but to be thrown aside, as something worthless and dead. It is thy end which gives thee a dignity to which thou canst not attain but by means of thy annihilation. If thou wouldst live for thy end, thou wouldst care for thy being, but wouldst say: Quickly, quickly, take me from myself, and let me attain my end for which I am created.”

This soul became so detached, both exteriorly and interiorly, that she could no longer perform her accustomed exercises, for she had lost all vigor of mind and body. She had no desire to confess; but going to confession, as usual, she found that she had no part in any sin; and when she attempted to mention her offences generally, it seemed to her that she was deceiving; and through her entire detachment she was in possession of the greatest peace, of which she was never divested.

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