The Mother speaks: ”In this world God's friends must sometimes find themselves spiritually distressed, at other times spiritually comforted. Spiritual consolation means the infusion of the Holy Spirit, contemplating God's great works, admiring his forbearance, and putting all this cheerfully into practice. Spiritual distress is when the mind is involuntarily disturbed by unclean and vexing thoughts, when it suffers anguish over dishonor shown to God and over the loss of souls, when one's heart is forced to occupy itself with worldly concerns for a good reason. God's friends can also at times be comforted with a temporal kind of comfort, such as edifying conversation, decent entertainment, or other activities in which there is nothing demeaning or indecent, as you will understand from the following comparison.
If a fist were always held tightly closed, then either the muscles would be strained or the hand would grow weak. It is similar in spiritual matters. If the soul always remained in contemplation, then she would either forget herself and perish through pride, or else her crown of glory would be lessened. The reason why God's friends are at times comforted by the infusion of the Holy Spirit and are at other times, with God's permission, distressed is that their distress tears up the roots of sin and firmly plants the fruit of righteousness.
But God, who sees hearts and understands all things, moderates the temptations of his friends in such a way that the temptations lead to their progress, for he does everything and allows everything to happen with due weight and measure. Since you have been called in God's Spirit, do not worry about God's forbearance, for it is written that no one comes to God unless the Father draws him. A shepherd uses a bunch of flowers to draw his sheep and entice them into the barn, and carefully locks the barn. The sheep, then, cannot get out but run around in circles because the barn is secured by means of walls, a high roof, and locked gates. In this way they get so used to eating hay that they become tame enough to eat hay out of the hand of the shepherd. This very thing has been done with you. That which before seemed unbearable and difficult to you has now become so easy that now nothing delights you so much as God.”
Christ's words to the bride as to which tears are acceptable to God and which are not, and about what kind of alms should be requested or given to the poor for the sake of departed souls, and about Christ's advice and exhortation to the bride.
The Son speaks: ”You wonder why I do not listen to that man whom you see shedding many tears and donating a great deal to the poor in my honor.
I answer you in the first place: Where water flows from two springs, it frequently happens when they meet that the cloudy and muddy water of one source pollutes and defiles the purer water of the other spring. And who can drink such muddied water?
It is similar with the tears of many people. Some people's tears arise at times due to the debasement of the inclinations of nature, at other times due to worldly distress and the fear of hell. Such people's tears are muddy and stinking, for they do not come from the love of God. Those tears are sweet to me that arise from considering God's kindnesses as well as one's own sins and from love for God. Tears such as these raise the soul up from earthly things to heaven and bring about her new birth for eternal life. There are two kinds of birth, physical and spiritual. Physical birth means a person is born from impurity to impurity. It bewails physical damage; it gladly puts up with worldly toils. The child of such a birth is not the child of such tears by which eternal life is gained. That other birth begets rather a child of tears and bewails the loss of souls and takes utmost care that its child should not offend God. Such a mother is closer to the child than the one who begets it physically, for blessed life is gained through a birth like this.
Second, in regard to his giving alms to the poor, I answer you: If you bought a cloak for your son with your servant's money, would not the cloak rightly belong to the one who owned the money? Of course it would. It is similar in spiritual matters. A man who oppresses his subjects or neighbors in order to help the souls of his loved ones with their money rather provokes me to wrath than placates me, because unjustly expropriated possessions benefit their previous legitimate owner and not those persons for whom they are given.
However, because this man has been kind to you, kindness will be done to him, both spiritually and physically - spiritually by the offering of prayers to God for his sake. You cannot believe how much the prayers of the humble please God. I will show you it through a comparison. If someone were to offer a great amount of silver to a king, any bystanders there would say: 'What a great present!' However if the same person were to pray one 'Our Father' for the king, they would laugh at him. It is the opposite with God. If anyone offers one 'Our Father' for another's soul, it is more acceptable to God than a great amount of gold, as could be seen in the case of good Gregory, who raised up even a pagan emperor to a higher station through his prayers.
Again, tell him this: 'Because you have shown me kindness, I pray to God, the rewarder of all, to repay you in his graciousness.' Tell him this as well: 'My dear friend, I give you one counsel and I make one request of you. I counsel you to open the eyes of your heart through the consideration of the instability and vanity of the world. Think about how the love of God has grown cold in your heart and about how heavy the penalty will be and how horrible the future judgment. Attract God's love to your heart by making use of all your time, temporal goods and works, affections, and thoughts for the glory of God, and entrust your sons to God's plan and dispensation without letting your love of God grow any less for their sake. Second, I ask you to pray earnestly to God, who can do all things, that he may grant you patience and fill your heart with his blessed love.”
Christ's comforting words to the bride in her fear, telling her not to be afraid of what she has seen and heard, because it comes from the Holy Spirit, and about the devil as symbolized by a snake and a lion, the consolation of the Holy Spirit as symbolized by a tongue, and about how to resist the devil.