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Chapter 24

The Mother speaks: ”When a vat of beer is heated up and starts to swell and rise, it steams and foams up, sometimes more, sometimes less, and then suddenly settles down again. People standing around the vat understand that these exhalations quickly sink down and that they arise due to the strength of the beer and are a way of releasing the heat. So they wait patiently for it to end and for the beer or the wine to be ready. Two things happen when people standing around the vat put their noses too close to the bubbles: They suffer either a violent sneezing or a bad headache.

It is the same in the spiritual life. It sometimes happens that some people's hearts swell and rise due to the pride and impatience of their minds.

When virtuous men see such a swelling up, they understand that it proceeds either from spiritual instability or carnal motives. Therefore, they put up patiently with that person's insulting words and look toward the end, knowing that the calm follows the storm, and that patience is stronger than a besieger of cities, since it conquers the man within, which is the most difficult thing to do. There are, however, those who are overly impatient, and they repay insult for insult. Paying no attention to the glorious reward of patience, nor to the contemptibility of worldly favor, these people incur an illness of mind due to their impatient temptations - they bring their noses too close to the bubbling vat, that is, they take the insults, which are nothing but air, too much to heart.


So, whenever any of you see people being impatient, guard your tongues with God's help, and do not leave off doing the good work you have begun because of impatient words. Pretend instead, and as far as justice allows, that you have not heard what you have heard, until those people who are looking for an argument say explicitly what they mean in their hearts.”

The Mother's admonishment to the daughter about how a person should not pay attention to carnal desires but should nourish the body on a moderate diet of necessities, and about how a person should stand by his or her body but not in the body.

      1. Chapter 25

The Mother speaks: ”You should be like a bride standing before the bed-curtain, ready to do as the bridegroom wishes as soon as he calls. This bed-curtain is the body that veils the soul and has to be constantly washed, tried, and tested. The body is like a donkey that needs a diet moderate enough so as not to become gluttonous, sensible work so as not to become proud, and constant beating so as not to grow lazy.

So, stand by the bed-curtain, that is, stand by the body but not in the body in the sense of attending to the desires of the flesh but nourishing the body on a moderate diet of necessities. That person stands by the body and not in the body who keeps his or her body from unnecessary desire for food. Stand also behind the bed-curtain in the sense of scorning the lust of the flesh, doing honor to God, and spending your energies entirely for him.
In this way stood those who spread their bodies out like clothes for God, who were at all times ready to do as he wished, whenever it pleased him to call them. They did not have a long way to go to him whom they kept ever present. Heavy burdens did not weigh upon their necks, for they scorned every burden and were in the world in body alone. This is why they flew free and unimpeded to heaven. Nothing impeded them but a dry and well-disciplined garment, and when they had taken it off, they obtained their heart's desire.

This man had a dangerous fall but wisely raised himself up. He defended himself like a man, fought steadfastly, and persevered with persistence. This is why he shall now receive an eternal crown and find himself already in the presence of God.”



The Virgin's admonition to the daughter about which virtuous acts merit eternal life and which do not, and about the great merit there is in obedience.

      1. Chapter 26

“A tree has many blossoms, but not all of them come to fruition. Likewise there are many virtuous acts, yet they do not all merit a reward in heaven, if they are not done with wise discretion. For example, fasting, prayer, visits to shrines of the saints are virtuous acts, but if they are not done with the spirit of a person who hopes to enter heaven with humility, considering himself a useless servant in every way and showing wise discretion in everything, then they are of little value for eternity.

Consider the case of two men, one of whom is under obedience, while the other is free and unbound. If the one who is free fasts, he will get an ordinary reward. However, if the one who is under obedience eats meat on a day of fasting in accordance with the ordinance of his rule and for the sake of obedience, though he would rather fast if it had not been against obedience, then he will get a double reward: first, because of his obedience; second, because he put off his own desire and did not carry out his own wishes.
You should therefore be like a bride who prepares the bridal chamber before the bridegroom comes. Be also like a mother who prepares the baby's clothes before it is born. Again, be like a tree that bears flowers before the coming of the fruits. Finally, be like a clean glass ready to receive the drink before it is poured.”

The Virgin's complaint to the daughter about a man of counterfeit devotion, comparing him to a poorly armed squire in a physical battle.

      1. Chapter 27

The Mother speaks: ”That man there says he loves me, but he turns his back to me when he is serving me. When I speak to him, he says: 'What's that you say?' and he averts his eyes from me and looks at other things more to his delight. He is strangely armed. He is like a soldier in a physical battle who has the visor of his helmet at the back of his head and carries his shield on his shoulders when he should have it on his arm. His scabbard is empty, for he had cast off his sword. His cloak, which should protect his chest and body, is lying under him on the saddle, and his saddle is not strapped to the horse.

This is the way this man is armed spiritually in God's sight. Accordingly, he does not know how to distinguish between friend and foe nor how to inflict injury on the enemy. The spirit that fights in him is like one who reasons as follows: 'I want to be among the last line of soldiers in the fight, so that I can keep the thicket of the woods in sight, in case the first soldiers lose the battle. But if they win, I will run up front quickly so that I will be counted among the first soldiers.'

Thus, the man who gave up the fight acted according to the wisdom of the flesh and not for the love of God.”



The Virgin's words about three kinds of hardship, symbolized by three kinds of bread.




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