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Of the Graces the Saint Received in Salamanca at the End of Lent, 1571.
1. I found myself the whole of yesterday in great desolation, and, except at Communion, did not feel that it was the day of the Resurrection. Last night, 432 being with the community, I heard one663663 Isabel of Jesus, born in Segovia, and whose family name was Jimena, told Ribera (vide lib. iv. c. v.) that she was the singer, being then a novice in Salamanca. of them singing how hard it is to be living away from God. As I was then suffering, the effect of that singing on me was such that a numbness began in my hands, and no efforts of mine could hinder it; but as I go out of myself in raptures of joy, so then my soul was thrown into a trance through the excessive pain, and remained entranced; and until this day I had not felt this. A few days previously I thought that the vehement impulses were not so great as they used to be, and now it seems to be that the reason is what I have described; I know not if it is so. Hitherto the pain had not gone so far as to make me beside myself; and as it is so unendurable, and as I retained the control of my senses, it made me utter loud cries beyond my power to restrain. Now that it has grown, it has reached this point of piercing me; and I understand more of that piercing which our Lady suffered; for until to-day, as I have just said, I never knew what that piercing was. My body was so bruised, that I suffer even now when I am writing this; for my hands are as if the joints were loosed, and in pain.664664 See Fortress of the Soul, vi. ch. xi. You, my father, will tell me when you see me whether this trance be the effect of suffering, or whether I felt it, or whether I am deceived.
2. I was in this great pain till this morning; and, being in prayer, I fell into a profound trance; and it seemed to me that our Lord had taken me up in spirit to His Father, and said to Him: "Whom Thou hast given to Me, I give to Thee;"665665 See Relation, iii. § 16. and He seemed to draw me near to Himself. This is not an imaginary vision, but one most certain, and so spiritually subtile that it cannot be explained. He spoke certain words to me which I do not remember. Some of them referred 433 to His grace, which He bestows on me. He kept me by Him for some time.
3. As you, my father, went away yesterday so soon, and I consider the many affairs which detain you, so that it is impossible for me to have recourse to you for comfort even when necessary,—for I see that your occupations are most urgent,—I was for some time in pain and sadness. As I was then in desolation,—as I said before,—that helped me; and as nothing on earth, I thought, had any attractions for me, I had a scruple, and feared I was beginning to lose that liberty. This took place last night; and to-day our Lord answered my doubt, and said to me "that I was not to be surprised; for as men seek for companions with whom they may speak of their sensual satisfactions, so the soul—when there is any one who understands it—seeks those to whom it may communicate its pleasures and its pains, and is sad and mourns when it can find none." He said to me: "Thou art prosperous now, and thy works please Me." As He remained with me for some time, I remembered that I had told you, my father, that these visions pass quickly away; He said to me "that there was a difference between these and the imaginary visions, and that there could not be an invariable law concerning the graces He bestowed on us; for it was expedient to give them now in one way, now in another."
4. After Communion, I saw our Lord most distinctly close beside me; and He began to comfort me with great sweetness, and said to me, among other things: "Thou beholdest Me present, My daughter,—it is I. Show me thy hands." And to me He seemed to take them and to put them to His side, and said: "Behold My wounds; thou art not without Me. Finish the short course of thy life." By some things He said to me, I understood that, after His Ascension, He never came down to the earth except in the most 434 Holy Sacrament to communicate Himself to any one. He said to me, that when He rose again He showed Himself to our Lady, because she was in great trouble; for sorrow had so pierced her soul that she did not even recover herself at once in order to have the fruition of that joy. By this I saw how different was my piercing.666666 See above, § 1. But what must that of the Virgin have been? He remained long with her then because it was necessary to console her.
5. On Palm Sunday, at Communion, I was in a deep trance,—so much so, that I was not able even to swallow the Host; and, still having It in my mouth, when I had come a little to myself, I verily believed that my mouth was all filled with Blood; and my face and my whole body seemed to be covered with It, as if our Lord had been shedding It at that moment. I thought It was warm, and the sweetness I then felt was exceedingly great; and our Lord said to me: "Daughter, My will is that My Blood should profit thee; and be not thou afraid that My compassion will fail thee. I shed It in much suffering, and, as thou seest, thou hast the fruition of It in great joy. I reward thee well for the pleasure thou gavest me to-day." He said this because I have been in the habit of going to Communion, if possible, on this day for more than thirty years, and of labouring to prepare my soul to be the host of our Lord; for I considered the cruelty of the Jews to be very great, after giving Him so grand a reception, in letting Him go so far for supper; and I used to picture Him as remaining with me, and truly in a poor lodging, as I see now. And thus I used to have such foolish thoughts—they must have been acceptable to our Lord, for this was one of the visions which I regard as most certain; and, accordingly it has been a great blessing to me in the matter of Communion.
6. Previous to this, I had been, I believe, for three 435 days in that great pain, which I feel sometimes more than at others, because I am away from God; and during those days it had been very great, and seemingly more than I could bear. Being thus exceedingly wearied by it, I saw it was late to take my collation, nor could I do so,—for if I do not take it a little earlier, it occasions great weakness because of my sickness; and then, doing violence to myself, I took up some bread to prepare for collation, and on the instant Christ appeared, and seemed to be breaking the bread and putting it into my mouth. He said to me: "Eat, My daughter, and bear it as well as thou canst. I condole with thee in thy suffering; but it is good for thee now." My pain was gone, and I was comforted; for He seemed to be really with me then, and the whole of the next day; and with this my desires were then satisfied. The word "condole" made me strong; for now I do not think I am suffering at all.
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