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STANZA X

Quench my troubles,

For no one else can soothe them;

And let my eyes behold You,

For You are their light,

And I will keep them for You alone.

HERE the soul continues to beseech the Beloved to put an end to its anxieties and distress — none other than He can do so — and that in such a way that its eyes may behold Him; for He alone is the light by which they see, and there is none other but He on whom it will look.

“Quench my troubles.”

2. The desire of love has this property, that everything said or done which does not become that which the will loves, wearies and annoys it, and makes it peevish when it sees itself disappointed in its desires. This and its weary longing after the vision of God is here called “troubles.” These troubles nothing can remove except the possession of the Beloved; hence the soul prays Him to quench them with His presence, to cool their feverishness, as the cooling water him who is wearied by the heat. The soul makes use of the expression “quench,” to denote its sufferings from the fire of love.

“For no one else can soothe them.”

3. The soul, in order to move and persuade the Beloved to grant its petition, says, “As none other but You can satisfy my needs, You quench my troubles.” Remember here that God is then close at hand, to comfort the soul and to satisfy its wants, when it has and seeks no satisfaction or comfort out of Him. The soul that finds no pleasure out of God cannot be long unvisited by the Beloved.

“And let my eyes behold You.”

4. Let me see You face to face with the eyes of the soul,

“For you are their light.”

5. God is the supernatural light of the soul, without which it abides in darkness. And now, in the excess of its affection, it calls Him the light of its eyes, as an earthly lover, to express his affection, calls the object of his love the light of his eyes. The soul says in effect in the foregoing terms, “Since my eyes have no other light, either of nature or of love, but You, let them behold You, Who in every way are their light.” David was regretting this light when he said in his trouble, “The light of my eyes, and the same is not with me;”8787Ps. 37:11 and Tobit, when he said, “What manner of joy shall be to me who sit in darkness, and see not the light of heaven?”8888Tob. 5:12 He was longing for the clear vision of God; for the light of heaven is the Son of God; as St. John says in the Revelation: “And the city needs not sun, nor moon to shine in it; for the glory of God has illuminated it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof.”8989Rev. 21:23

“And I will keep them for You alone.”

6. The soul seeks to constrain the Bridegroom to let it see the light of its eyes, not only because it would be in darkness without it, but also because it will not look upon anything but on Him. For as that soul is justly deprived of this divine light if it fixes the eyes of the will on any other light, proceeding from anything that is not God, for then its vision is confined to that object; so also the soul, by a certain fitness, deserves the divine light, if it shuts its eyes against all objects whatever, to open them only for the vision of God.

NOTE

BUT the loving Bridegroom of souls cannot bear to see them suffer long in the isolation of which I am speaking, for, as He says by the mouth of Zachariah, “He that shall touch you, touches the apple of My eye;”9090Zech. 2:8 especially when their sufferings, as those of this soul, proceed from their love for Him. Therefore does He speak through Isaiah, “It shall be before they call, I will hear; as they are yet speaking, I will hear.”9191Isa. 65:24 And the wise man says that the soul that seeks Him as treasure shall find Him.9292Prov. 2:4, 5 God grants a certain spiritual presence of Himself to the fervent prayers of the loving soul which seeks Him more earnestly than treasure, seeing that it has abandoned all things, and even itself, for His sake.

2. In that presence He shows certain profound glimpses of His divinity and beauty, whereby He still increases the soul’s anxious desire to behold Him. For as men throw water on the coals of the forge to cause intenser heat, so our Lord in His dealings with certain souls, in the intermission of their love, makes some revelations of His majesty, to quicken their fervor, and to prepare them more and more for those graces which He will give them afterwards. Thus the soul, in that obscure presence of God, beholding and feeling the supreme good and beauty hidden there, is dying in desire of the vision, saying in the stanza that follows:


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