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Chapter 75

“Blessed are you, my God, my Creator and Redeemer. You are the ransom through which we were freed from captivity, through which we are led toward salvation and share in the Unity and Trinity. Therefore, even if I blush over my own ugliness, yet I rejoice because you, having died once to save us, nevermore shall die. You are truly he who existed before the ages, he who has power over life and death. You alone are God, almighty and awesome. May you be blessed forever!

But what shall I say of you, O blessed Mary, the salvation of the entire world? You are like someone who has a friend saddened over something he has lost and who puts that lost possession suddenly before his eyes, thus relieving his sorrow, increasing his joy and enkindling his whole spirit with gladness. You, Mother most sweet, showed the world its God, whom men had lost. You gave birth to him who was born before time and at whose birth heaven and earth rejoiced. Therefore, sweet Mother, I ask you to help me so that my enemy may not rejoice over me nor prevail against me with his machinations.”
The Mother answered: ”I shall help you. But why are you upset because one thing was shown to you spiritually and another was heard physically - I mean because that knight, who was physically alive, was shown to you as spiritually dead and in need of spiritual help? Hear now something that is certain. Every truth comes from God and every falsehood from the devil, who is the father of falsehood. Yet, although truth is from God, nevertheless, through the malice and falsehood of the devil, which God sometimes permits according to his secret decision, God's power is made more manifest, as I will show you by way of a comparison.

Once there was a maiden who tenderly loved her bridegroom, and he loved her similarly. God was glorified through their love, and the parents of both were happy. Their enemy saw it and thought to himself as follows: 'I know that bride and bridegroom come together in three ways - through letters, through mutual conversation, and through their bodily union. Accordingly, I will fill all the roads with stakes, brambles, and hooks in order to block the access of messengers and letter carriers. In order to obstruct their conversation, I will raise a din and clatter to distract them in conversing. In order to prevent them coming together naked in bed, I will appoint guards to watch every nook and cranny so that they will have no opportunity to come together.'

The bridegroom, more astute than his enemy, realized these things and said to his servants: 'My enemy is setting traps for me in such and such places. Be on the lookout in those places, and if you discover it, let him go on working until he has laid his snares, and then swoop down on him but without killing him. Instead, shout and mock at him so that your fellow servants see the enemy's wiles and become more careful in guarding and watching.' Something similar occurs in spiritual matters. The letters by which the bridegroom and bride, that is, God and the good soul, come together are simply the prayers and aspirations of good people. Just as physical letters are an indication of the feelings and intentions of the sender, so too the prayers of good people enter into the heart of God and join the soul to God in a single bond of love. The devil, however, sometimes prevents human hearts from asking for that which is conducive to the salvation of the soul or contrary to carnal pleasure. Moreover, he prevents those who pray for other sinners from being heard, since, being sinners, they do not seek any improvement for their own souls or ask for something of everlasting worth.

The mutual conversations through which bridegroom and bride become one heart and one soul stand for nothing other than penance and contrition. Sometimes the devil raises such a din between them that they cannot hear each other. This din stands for nothing other than the devil's base suggestion to the heart desirous of performing fruitful penance. He says this through his promptings: 'O, my dainty soul, is it not hard to undertake unfamiliar and unaccustomed practices? Do you think everyone can become perfect? It is enough for you to be one of the many. Why are you attempting to do greater things? Why are you doing what no one else does? You will not be able to persevere. Everyone will laugh you to scorn, if you lower yourself and become excessively submissive.'

Deluded by such suggestions, the soul thinks to herself: 'It is a heavy thing to give up customary habits. I will just make my confession about past sins. It is enough for me to follow the path of the majority. I am not capable of becoming perfect. Surely God is merciful. He would not have redeemed us if he wanted us to perish.' By means of this kind of din the devil prevents God from hearing the soul. It is not that God does not hear everything but that he is not pleased in hearing such talk, when the soul consents more to temptation than to her own reason.
The naked union of God and the soul stands for nothing other than the heavenly longing and the pure charity with which the soul ought to burn in every hour. This charity gets impeded in four ways. First, the devil urges the soul to do something against God that, though not counting as something serious, still delights her mind. Delight of this kind, since she makes light of it and does not bother about it, is hateful to God. Second, the devil inspires the soul to do certain good deeds in order to please others and sometimes, out of fear or for the sake of worldly honor, to omit certain good deeds that she could do. Third, the devil induces forgetfulness and listlessness in the soul with regard to the good deeds she ought to carry out, and her mind gets absorbed by this and grows weary of doing good. Fourth, the devil makes the soul grow anxious about worldly cares or needless sorrows and joys or extravagant fears.
Such things, then, obstruct the letters, that is, the prayers of the just, as well as the mutual conversation of bridegroom and bride. However, though the devil is astute, God is all the more wiser and stronger in shattering the snares of his enemy so that the letters that have been sent can reach the bridegroom.

The snares are shattered when God inspires good thoughts, and when the heart desires to have the intention of fleeing base acts and of doing deeds that are pleasing to God. The enemy's din gets dispelled when the soul is discreetly penitent and has the intention of not repeating confessed sins.

Know that the devil not only raises a din and clatter for people hostile to God but even for God's friends. You may understand this better by way of a comparison. A maiden was once speaking with a man when a curtain appeared between them. The man saw it indeed, but not the maiden. At the end of their conversation, the maiden lifted up her eyes and saw the curtain. Frightened, she said to herself: 'God help me so that I may not be deceived by the snares of the enemy!' When the bridegroom saw the maiden's sadness, he removed the curtain and showed her the truth of the whole matter. Similarly, perfect persons may receive divine inspirations, but then the devil raises a din whenever they get puffed up with sudden pride or become downcast with excessive fear or tolerate the sins of others with inordinate condescension or grow weak through excessive joy or sadness.

Something similar has happened to you. The devil induced some men to write to you that he who was alive was dead, and you were therefore overcome with great sorrow. But God revealed to you his spiritual death, and so, for your consolation, God proved true in a spiritual sense that which was false in a physical sense as stated by those who wrote to you. You see, it is true what they say about tribulations leading to spiritual benefits. If you had not been saddened due to the lie that you had heard, such great power and spiritual beauty would not have been shown to you. For that reason, and so that you might understand God's hidden dispensation, a kind of curtain was lowered between your soul and God as he spoke, for that man's soul appeared in the shape of one in need of help, and God made this observation at the end of each locution: 'You will know in due time whether he is dead or alive.' As soon as you were shown the spiritual beauty and adornment with which a soul must be equipped in order to enter heaven, the curtain was removed, and you were shown the truth, namely, that the man was physically alive but spiritually dead, and that whoever enters the homeland of heaven must be armed in such virtues.

However, the devil's intention was to tempt you with lies and upset you in order to distract you from the love of God through sorrow over the loss of someone so dear. But as soon as you said 'God help me if this is an illusion!' then the veil was removed and both the physical and spiritual truth were revealed to you. The devil is thus permitted to afflict even the righteous in order that their reward may be increased.”

The Virgin's words to the daughter showing her who God's friends are. Also about how few of them are found in modern times, no matter whether one adduces the state of the laity or of the clergy. And about why God who is rich loves poverty, and why he chose the poor and not the rich, and for what purpose riches were conceded to the church.




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