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ON THE SOUL

O my God, what unspeakable sufferings our souls have to endure because they have lost their liberty, and are not their own masters!  What tortures come on them through that!  I sometimes wonder how I can live through such agony of soul as I myself suffer.  God be praised who gives me His own life in my soul, so that I may escape from so deadly a death!  My soul has indeed received great strength from His Divine Majesty.  He has had compassion on my great misery, and has helped me.  Oh, what a distress it is for my soul to have to return to hold commerce with this world after having had its conversation in heaven!  To have to play a part in the sad farce of this earthly life!  And yet I am in a strait betwixt two.  I cannot run away from this world.  I must remain in it till my discharge comes.  But, meantime, how keen is my captivity; how wretched in my own soul am I.  And one of my worst distresses is this, that I am alone in my exile.  All around me people seem to have found their aim and end in life in this horrible prison-house, and to have said, Soul, take thine ease.  But the life of my soul is a life of incessant trouble.  The cross is always on my shoulder; at the same time I surely make some progress.  God is the Soul of my soul.  He engulfs into Himself my soul.  He enlightens and strengthens my soul.  He attends to my soul night and day.  He gives my soul more and more grace.  This has not come about of myself.  No effort of mine brought this about.  His Majesty does it all.  And He has held me by the hand, that I might not go back.  For this reason, it seems to me, the soul in which God works His grace, if it walks in humility and in fear, it may be led into whatsoever temptation, and thrown into whatsoever company, and it will only gain new strength there, and win new victories and spoils there.  Those are strong souls which are chosen of the Lord to work for the souls of others.  At the same time, their best strength is not their own.  All that such souls ever attain to and perform, all these things only make them more humble, and therefore more strong; more able to despise the things of this world, and to lay up their treasure in those things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.  May it please His Majesty that the great munificence with which He has dealt with my soul, miserable sinner that I am, may have some weight with some of those who read this, so that they may be strong and courageous to give up everything at once and most willingly for such a God!

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