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ON THE LOVE OF GOD

The true proficiency of the soul consists not so much in deep thinking or eloquent speaking or beautiful writing as in much and warm loving.  Now if you ask me in what way this much and warm love may be acquired, I answer,—By resolving to do the will of God, and by watching to do His will as often as occasion offers.  Those who truly love God love all good wherever they find it.  They seek all good to all men.  They encourage all good in all men.  They commend all good, they always unite themselves with all good, they always acknowledge and defend all good.  They have no quarrels.  They bear no envy.  O Lord, give me more and more of this blessed love.  Grant me grace not to quit this underworld life till I no longer desire anything, nor am capable of loving anything, save Thee alone.  Grant that I may use this word ‘love’ with regard to Thee alone, since there is no solidity for my love to rest on save in Thee.  The soul has her own ways of understanding, and of finding in herself, by certain signs and great conjectures, whether she really loves His Divine Majesty or no.  Her love is full of high impulses, and longings to see and to be with and to be like God.  All else tires and wearies out the soul.  The best of created things disappoint and torment the soul.  God alone satisfies the soul, till it is impossible to dissemble or mistake such a love.  When once I came to see the great beauty of our Lord, it turned all other comeliness to corruption to me.  My heart could rest on nothing and on no one but Himself.  When anything else would enter my heart I had only to turn my eyes for a moment in upon that Supreme Beauty that was engraven within me.  So that it is now impossible that any created thing can so possess my soul as not to be instantly expelled, and my mind and heart set free by a little effort to recover the remembrance of the goodness and the beauty of our Lord.  Good God!  What a difference there is between the love of the Creator and the love of the creature!  May His Divine Majesty vouchsafe to let us see and taste and understand something of this before He takes us out of this prison-house life, for it will be a magnificent comfort in the hour of death to know that we are on our way to be judged by Him whom we have loved above all things.  We are not going to a strange country, since it is His country whom we love and who loves us.  These things being so, I have this very day solaced my soul with our Lord, and have made my moan to Him in this manner.  O my Lord, why keepest Thou Thy servant in this miserable life so long, where all is such vexation, and disappointment, and manifold trouble?  And not only keepest me so long in this banishment, but so hidest Thyself from me.  Is this worthy of Thee and of Thy great goodness?  Were I what Thou art, and wert Thou what I am, Thou wouldest not have to endure it at my hands.  I beseech Thee, O my Lord, to consider that this is a kind of injury and wrong to proceed after this manner with one who loves Thee so much.  This and the like have come into my heart to say: though my bed in hell better becomes me than so to speak to my Lord.  At the same time, the love I bear my Lord sometimes so consumes me that I am beside myself, till I scarce know what I say or do; and then I find myself making such unbecoming complaints that I am amazed our Lord endures them at my hands.  Eternal praise to so good a Lord!

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