Wisdom, is Personified in the Old Testament Book of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), as an Elusive Woman;
remember that Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God, had yet to be Born.
Wisdom is Personified here,
in the above Painting, by a Female Figure (She, Her), and Crowned with a Victory Laurel, Acquires Knowledge through
Reading of Scripture. True Wisdom's Ultimate Source is God. Angels assist Mankind in the Acquisition of God's Wisdom,
"but not a Wisdom of this Age, nor of the Rulers of this Age who are Passing Away".
1 Corinthians, Chapter 2
Blessed Henry Suso
German Mystic, born about 1295, died 1366, declared Blessed in 1831 by Gregory XVI, who assigned his Feast in the Dominican Order to 2 March. Great Spiritual Writer, using the name Amandus. Noted Preacher in Switzerland and the Area of the Upper Rhine. Spiritual Advisor to Dominicans.
In "Das Büchlein der ewigen Weisheit", published early in 1328, Suso is Eminently Practical and speaks-out-of the Fullness-of his Heart to "simple men who still have imperfections to be put off". In the Judgment of Scholars, it is considered the "most beautiful Fruit of German Mysticism", and is placed next to the "Homilies" of Saint Bernard, and the "Imitation of Christ" by Thomas à Kempis. In the second-half of the 14th and in the 15th Century, there was no more widely-read Meditation Book in the German Language.
CHAPTER XIII - On the Immeasurable Dignity of Temporal Suffering
The Servant -- Tell me now, Tender Lord, what this Suffering is, which Thou Thinkest so very Profitable and Good?
Eternal Wisdom -- What I mean is Every-Kind of Suffering, whether Willingly Accepted or Unwillingly Incurred -- as when a Man makes a Virtue of Necessity, in not Wishing to be-Exempt from Suffering, without My Will, and Ordering it, in Humble Patience, to My Eternal Praise; and the more-Willingly he does this, the more Precious and Agreeable, it is to Me. Touching such Kinds-of Suffering, Hear further, and Write it down, in the Bottom-of thy Heart, and keep it as a Sign, to set-before the Spiritual Eyes, of thy Soul. My Dwelling, is in the Pure Soul, as in a Paradise-of Delights, for which Reason, I cannot Endure that 'She' should Lovingly and Longingly, attach 'Herself' to anything. But, from Her very Nature, She is Inclined-to Pernicious Lusts, and therefore I encompass Her Path, with Thorns. I Garnish all her Outlets with Adversity, whether She like it or not, so that She may not-escape from Me; Her Ways, I Strew-with Tribulation, so that She may not set the Foot-of Her Heart's Desire, anywhere, except-in the Loftiness-of My Divine Nature. And if all Hearts, were but One (1) Heart, they would not be-able-to Bear even that least Reward, which I certainly will give for the Suffering, Endured-by anyone for Love of Me. Such is My Eternal Order in all Nature, from which I do not Swerve; what is Precious and Good, must be Earned with Bitterness; he who Recoils at thus, let him Recoil; Many are indeed Called, but Few are Chosen.
The Servant -- It may well be, Lord, that Suffering is an Infinite Good, provided it be not without Measure, and not too Dreadful and Overwhelming. Lord, Thou alone Knowest all Hidden Things, and didst Create all Things in-Weight, in-Number and Measure; Thou Knowest also, that my Sufferings are Measureless, that they are Wholly Beyond my Strength. Lord, is there anyone in all this World, who has Constantly, more Painful Sufferings than I? They are to me Invincible -- how am I to Endure them? Lord, if Thou wouldst send me Ordinary Sufferings, I could Bear them, but I do not see how I can ever Endure such Extraordinary Sufferings as these Sufferings, which in so Hidden a Manner, Oppress my Heart and Soul, which only Thou canst Perfectly Understand.
Eternal Wisdom -- Every Sick Man, Imagines that his own Sickness is the Worst, and every Man in-Distress, his own Distress, the Greatest. Had I sent thee other Sufferings, it would have been the same. Conform thyself Freely, to My Will, under every Pain which I Ordain thee to Suffer, without Excepting this, or the other Suffering. Dost thou not know that I only desire what is best for thee, even with as kindly a feeling as thou thyself? Hence it is, that I am the Eternal Wisdom, and that I know Better than thou, what is for thy Good. Hence it is, that thou mayst have felt, that the Sufferings which I Send, are much-more Exquisite, and Penetrate Deeper, and Operate Better, for him who does them Justice, than all Self-chosen Sufferings. Why then dost thou so Complain to Me? Address Me rather as follows: O my most Faithful Father, do to me at all times, what Thou Wilt!
The Servant -- O Lord, it is so Easy to Talk, but the Reality is so Difficult to Endure, for it is so-very Painful.
Eternal Wisdom -- If Suffering gave no Pain, it could not be called Suffering. There is Nothing more-Painful than Suffering, and Nothing more-Joyful, than to-have Suffered. Suffering is a Short Pain, and a Long Joy. Suffering gives to the Sufferer, Pain Here and Joy Hereinafter. Suffering, kills Suffering. Suffering is Ordained, that the Sufferer may not Suffer Eternally. Hadst thou so much Spiritual Sweetness and Divine Consolation and Heavenly Delight as, at all times, to Overflow-with the Divine Dew, it would not be for thee, so very Meritorious of itself, since, for all this together, I should not have-to Thank thee so much; it could not Exculpate thee, so-much-as an Affectionate Suffering, or Patience-in Adversity, in which thou Sufferest for My Sake. Sooner, will Ten (10) be Perverted and Ruined, in the midst-of a Great Delight and Joyous Sweetness, than One (1), in the midst-of Constant Suffering and Adversity. If thou hadst as much Science, as all the Astronomers, if thou couldst Discourse as Ably-of God, as all the Tongues-of Men and Angels, and didst possess the Treasures-of Knowledge of all the Masters, not all this could Avail-to Advance thee, in a Good Life, so-much-as if thou didst Give thyself up, and didst Abandon thyself, in all thy Sufferings to God; for the Former is Common-to the Good and the Bad, but the Latter is Proper-to My Elect alone. If anyone were able, Rightly, to Weigh Time and Eternity, he ought rather to Desire to Lie-in a Fiery Furnace for a Hundred Years, than to be Deprived in Eternity, of the smallest Reward, for the smallest Suffering; for This has an End, but the Other is without End.
The Servant -- Ah, Sweet and Dear Lord, how like a Sweet Harp, are these Words to a Suffering Mortal! Lord, Lord, wouldst Thou but Cheer me thus, and come-to visit me in my Sufferings, I should be Glad to Suffer; it would then be Better for me to-Suffer, than not to-Suffer.
Eternal Wisdom -- Now, then, Hearken-to the Sweet Music of the Distended Strings of that Divine Harp -- a God-Suffering Man -- how Richly it Sounds, how Sweetly it Vibrates. Before the World, Suffering is a Reproach, but before Me, it is an Infinite Honor. Suffering is an Extinguisher-of My Wrath, and an Obtainer-of My Favor. Suffering makes a Man, in My Sight, Worthy-of Love, for the Sufferer is like Me. Suffering is a Hidden Treasure which no one can make Good; and though a Man might Kneel before Me a Hundred Years, to-beg a Friendly Suffering, he nevertheless would not Earn it. Suffering changes an Earthly Man, into a Heavenly Man. Suffering brings with it the Estrangement-of the World, but confers, instead, My Intimate Familiarity. It lessens-Delight and increases-Grace. He, to whom I am to-show Myself a Friend, must be Wholly Disclaimed and Abandoned-by the World. Suffering is the surest-Way, the nearest-Way, and the shortest-Way. He who Rightly Knows, how Profitable, Suffering is, ought to Receive it, as a Gift, Worthy-of God. Oh, how many a Man there is, who once was a Child of Eternal Death, and Plunged-in the Profoundest Sleep, whom Suffering has Wakened-up and Encouraged-to a Good Life. How many a Wild Beast, how many an Untamed Bird, there is in Human Form, whom Constant Suffering has shut-up, as-it-were, in a Cage, who, if anyone were-to Leave him Time and Place, Free, would do his best to Escape-from his Salvation. Suffering is a Safeguard, against Grievous Falls; it makes a Man know himself, Rely-on himself, and have Faith in his Neighbor. Suffering keeps the Soul Humble, and Teaches Patience. It is the Guardian of Purity, and confers the Crown of Eternal Salvation. There is probably no-Man Living, but who Derives Good from Suffering, whether he be in a State-of Sin, or on the Eve-of Conversion, or in the Fruition-of Grace, or on the Summit-of Perfection; for it Purges the Soul as Fire Purges Iron and Purifies Gold; it Adorns the Wrought Jewel. Suffering takes-away Sin, lessens the Fire-of Purgatory, Expels Temptation, Consumes Imperfections, and Renovates the Spirit. It imparts True Confidence, a Clear Conscience, and Constant Loftiness of Mind. Know that it is a Healthy Beverage, and a Wholesome Herb above all the Herbs-of Paradise. It Chastises the Body which, at any rate, must Rot-away, but it Nourishes the Noble Soul which shall Endure Forever. Behold, the Noble Soul blooms-by Suffering, even as the Beautiful Rose by the Fresh Dews of May! Suffering makes a Wise Mind, and an Experienced Man. A Man who has not Suffered, what does he know? Suffering is Affection's Rod, a Paternal Blow, given to My Elect. Suffering Draws and Forces Men to God, whether they like it or not. He who is always Cheerful in-Suffering, has for his Servants, Joy and Sorrow, Friend and Foe. How often hast thou not-Thrust an Iron Bit, between the Gnashing Teeth of thy Enemies, and Rendered them, with thy Joyous Praise, and thy Meekness in-Suffering, Powerless? Sooner would I Create Suffering out-of Nothing, than Leave my Friends, Unprovided with it; for in Suffering, every Virtue is Preserved, Man Adorned, his Neighbor Reformed, and God Praised. Patience in Suffering is a Living Sacrifice, it is a Sweet Smell of-Balsam, before My Divine Face, it is an Appealing Wonder before the entire Host-of Heaven. Never was a Skillful Knight in a Tournament so gazed at, as a Man who Suffers-well is gazed-at by all the Heavenly Court. All the Saints are on the side-of the Suffering Man; for, indeed, they have all Partaken-of it before him, and they Call-out to him with One (1) Voice, that it contains no Poison, but is a Wholesome Beverage. Patience in Suffering is Superior-to Raising the Dead, or the Performing-of other Miracles. It is a Narrow Way, which leads direct-to the Gates of Heaven. Suffering makes us Companions-of the Martyrs, it carries Honor with it, and Leads-to Victory against every Foe. Suffering, Clothes the Soul in Garments of Rose Color, and in the Brightness of Purple; in Suffering, She wears the Garland-of Red Roses, and carries the Scepter-of Green Palms. Suffering is for Her, as a Shining Ruby in a Young Maiden's Necklace. Adorned with it, She sings with a Sweet Voice and a Free Heart, a New Song, which not all the Angelic Choirs could ever sing, because they never knew Suffering. And, to be short, those who Suffer are called the Poor, before the World, but before Me, they are called the Blessed, for they are My Elect.
The Servant -- Oh, how Plainly does it appear, that Thou art the Eternal Wisdom, since Thou canst bring the Truth Home, with such Cogency, that no one Doubts it any-longer. No Wonder that he, to whom Thou dost make Suffering, appear so Lovely, can bear Sufferings. Lord, in consequence-of Thy Words, all Sufferings in Future must be Easier and Full of Joy for me. Lord, my True Father, Behold, I Kneel before Thee this day, and Praise Thee Fervently, for my Present Sufferings, and also for the Measureless Sufferings of the Past, which I deemed so very-Great, because they appeared so Hostile to me.
Eternal Wisdom -- But what is thy Opinion now?
The Servant -- Lord, my Opinion, in very Truth, is this: that when I look at Thee, Thou Delight-of my Eyes, with Looks of Love, the Great and Violent Sufferings with which, in so Paternal a Manner, Thou hast Disciplined me, and at the Sight of which Thy Pious Friends were filled-with such Terror, on my account, have been like a Sweet, Fall-of Dew in May.
CHAPTER XIV - On the Unspeakable Advantages to be Derived,
Mediatrix of All God's Blessings
Art thou not the Immediate Mediatrix of all Sinners? The more-Sinful a Soul is, the more-Reasonable it seems to her, that she should have Free Access to thee; the Deeper she is in Wickedness, the more-Reason she has to Press Forwards to thee. Therefore, my Soul, step Joyfully-forth! If thy Great Crimes, drive thee away, her Unfathomable Goodness invites thee to Draw near. O, therefore, thou only Consolation of all Sinful Hearts, thou only Refuge of Guilty Mortals, to whom so many a Wet Eye, so many a Wounded, Miserable Heart is Raised-up, be a Gracious Mediatrix and Channel-of Reconciliation between me, and the Eternal Wisdom. O think, think, thou mild Queen Elect, that thou derivest all thy Merits, from us Poor Sinners. What was it made thee God's Mother, made thee a Casket, in which the Eternal Wisdom reposed? O Lady, it was the Sins of us Poor Mortals! How couldst thou be called a Mother of Graces and Compassion, except through our Wretchedness, which has need-of Grace and Compassion. Our Poverty has made thee Rich, our Crimes have Ennobled thee above all Pure Creatures. O turn hither, then, the Eyes of thy Compassion, which thy Gentle Heart, never turned-from a Sinner, from a Forlorn Mortal! Take me under thy Protection, for my Consolation and Confidence are in thee. How many a Guilty Soul, after having bid Farewell-to God, and all the Heavenly Host, by Denying God and Despairing of Him, and being Lamentably Separated-from Him, has, by still clinging to thee, been Sweetly Detained, till at length, through thy Intercession, it has again Attained-to Grace. Who is the Sinner, how great so-ever his Crimes, to whom thy Overflowing Goodness has denied Assistance? Lo, when my Soul Seriously Reflects within herself, methinks it were only right, if it were possible, that while my Eyes Wept for Joy, my Heart should leap-out of my Mouth; so does thy name Dissolve-in my Mouth, like Honey-from the Comb. Even thou art called the Mother, the Queen of Compassion, yes, Tender Mother, yes, Gentle Mother of Compassion! O what a Name! O how Unfathomable is the Being whose Name is so Rich in Grace! Did ever the Melody of Song, Resound as Soothingly in an Agitated Heart, as thy Pure Name, in our Penitent Hearts? At this Exalted Name, all Heads in Reason, ought to Incline, all Knees to Bend. How often hast thou not put-to-Flight the Hostile Powers of Wicked Spirits, how often hast thou not-Allayed the Angry Justice of the Severe Judge! How often hast thou not-Obtained from Him Grace and Consolation! Yes, Poor Sinful Mortals as we are, what have we to say to it? How shall we ever, Acknowledge such Great Goodness? If all Angelic Tongues, all Pure Spirits and Souls, if Heaven and Earth and all that is contained in them, cannot Properly Praise her Merits, her Ravishing Beauty, her Graciousness and Immeasurable Dignity, alas! what shall we Sinful Hearts be able to do? Let us do our Best, and Express-to her our Acknowledgments, our Thanks; for indeed her Great Kindness does not look at the Smallness of the Gift, it looks at the Purity of Intention. Ah, Sweet Queen, with what Justice may not thy Gender, Rejoice-in thy Sweet Name; for Cursed was the First Eve, that she ever Eat-of the Bitter Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge; Blessed be the Second Eve, that she brought us again the Sweet Fruit of Heaven! Let no one Lament-over Paradise; One (1) Paradise we Lost, and have Won Two (2) others. For is she not a Paradise in whom Grew the Fruit of the Living Tree? in whom all Delight and Joy are contained together? And is not that also a Paradise, above every Paradise, in whom the Dead again Live, if they only Taste His Fruit, from Whose Hands, Feet, and Side, the Living Fountains which Irrigate all the Earth, Flow, the Fountains of Inexhaustible Mercy, Fathomless Wisdom, Overflowing Sweetness, Ardent Love, the Fountains-of Eternal Life? Truly, Lord, whoever Tastes of this Fruit, whoever has Drunk of this Fountain, knows that these Two (2) Gardens of Paradise, far-Surpass the Earthly Paradise. But thou, O Queen Elect, art the Gate-of all Grace, the Door of Compassion, that never yet, was shut. Heaven and Earth may Pass-away, ere thou wilt Permit anyone, who Earnestly Seeks thy Assistance, to Depart-from thee, without Obtaining it. Behold, for this very Reason, art thou the First Object, my Soul Sees, when I Awake, the Last, when I Lie down to Sleep. How should anything, which thy Pure Hands, Present-before God, and Commend unto Him, how small soever in itself, be Rejected? Take, O take, therefore, the Smallness of my Works and Present it, so that, in thy Hands it may Appear Something, before the Eyes-of God Almighty. Even thou art the Pure Vessel of Red Gold, Melted-down with Graces, Inlaid with Precious Emeralds, and Sapphires, and all Virtues, whose Single Aspect, in the Sight-of the Heavenly King, Surpasses that of all other Creatures. O, thou Lovely, Divine Spouse Elect, if King Ahasuerus was Captivated-by the Beauty-of Esther, if she was found Pleasing in his Eyes, above all Women, if she found Favor above them all, so that he did for her, whatever she Desired, O thou, all Red Roses and Lilies, Surpassing Beauty, how Justly may the King of Heaven, be Captivated-by thy Spotless Purity, thy Meek Humility, by the Sweet Smelling Nosegay of all thy Virtues and Graces! Or, who has ever caught the Wild and Noble Unicorn, if not thou? How Infinitely Pleasing, above all Mortals, in His Eyes, is thy Delicate and Love-inspiring Beauty, before which all other Beauty, Fades-like a Glow-Worm before the Brightness-of the Sun. What Overflowing Grace hast thou not found before Him for thyself, and us Mortals, who are without Grace! How should, how can, then, the Heavenly King deny thee anything? Truly mayest thou say, My Beloved is mine, and I am His. Ah! thou art God's, and God is thine, and ye Two (2) have an Eternal and Unfathomable Reciprocation-of Love, which no Duality can Divide. Think of us Poor Needy Ones, who continue to wander so-Wretchedly, in Sorrowful Affliction. Yes, Exalted Lady, of Heaven and Earth, arise now and be to us a Mediatrix, and an Obtainer-of Grace with thy Tender Child, the Eternal Wisdom. Ah, Eternal Wisdom, wilt Thou deny me anything? Even as I present Thee before Thy Heavenly Father, so do I present Thy Pure, Tender Mother before Thee. Look at her Mild Eyes which so-often looked Kindly on Thee; behold Those Fair Cheeks which she so-often Affectionately Pressed-to Thy Infant Face. O look at her Sweet Mouth which used to Kiss Thee so Fondly and Tenderly, again-and-again. Look at her Pure Hands which so-often Ministered-to Thee. O Thou Goodness, above all Goodness, how canst thou deny anything to her who Suckled Thee so Affectionately, and Bore Thee in her Arms; who Laid Thee to Rest, Wakened Thee, and Tenderly Reared Thee! O Lord, let me remind Thee of all the Love Thou ever didst experience from her in Thy Childhood's Days, when Thou didst sit in her Motherly Lap, and with Thy Playful Eyes didst Laugh so Pleasantly and Tenderly in her face with that Fathomless Love Thou hadst for her above all other Creatures! Think, too, of the Heart-Rending Woe, which her Maternal Heart endured with Thee under the Gibbet of Thy Miserable Cross, where she saw Thee in the Agony-of Death, and when her Heart and Soul so often Died-away in Sorrow and Distress with Thee. Lord, I entreat Thee, for her sake, to Grant me every means-of Shaking-off my Sins, of Acquiring Thy Grace, and never Losing it again.
The Servant -- Who will give my Eyes as many Tears, as there are Letters, so that with Bright Tears, I may Write-down the Miserable Tears of the Unfathomable, Heart-rending Grief, of my Blessed Lady? Pure Lady and Noble Queen of Heaven and Earth, touch my Stony Heart with One (1) of thy Scalding Tears, One (1) of those which thou didst shed in Bitter Distress, for thy Tender Child, under the Wretched Cross, so that my Heart-of Stone may be Softened, and may Hearken to thee; for Heart-rending Grief is of such a Nature, that no one can have a True Knowledge of it, except him, whom it Touches. Touch then my Heart, O Lady Elect, with thy Sorrowful Words, and tell me in Short Significant Terms, simply as an Admonition, how it was with thee in thy Mind, and how thou didst support thyself, at the Foot of the Cross, when thou didst Behold thy Tender Child, the Beautiful and Tender Wisdom, so Lamentably Expire.
Mary's Answer -- Thou shouldst Hearken-to it, with Sorrow and Heartfelt Woe; for although I am now Exempt-from Suffering, yet, at that Time, I was not. Before I had reached the Foot-of the Cross, I had Endured many a Great, Unspeakable Anguish-of Heart, especially at the spot where I First caught sight-of the Beating, Kicking, and Ill-usage of my Child, on Beholding-which, my Strength forsook me, and thus Helpless, was I carried after my Dear Son, to the Foot-of the Cross. But, in respect of what thou askest, how I felt in my Mind, and how I Supported myself, listen to as much as it is possible for thee to-Know; for the Whole, no Heart that ever was made, can Fathom. Understand, then, that all the Sorrow, that ever could Afflict a Heart, would only be as a Drop, in the Ocean, compared-to the Unfathomable Sorrow, which my Maternal Heart, at that time, Endured; and, Understand, at the same time, that the Dearer, the Sweeter, the more-Precious the Beloved One is, the more-Insupportable is his Loss and Death. Now, where on the Whole Earth, was there ever a more Tender-One Born, a Lovelier-One Seen, than my own Best Beloved One, Jesus Christ, by-Whom and in-Whom I had Entire Possession, of all that the World could Bestow? I was already Dead-to myself, and Lived-only in Him, and when at-last, my own Fair Love was Slain, then only did I utterly-Die; and, as my only Love was but One (1), and, moreover, Dear to me, above all other Loves, so my only Sorrow was but One (1), and a Sorrow, above-all-Sorrows, that ever were expressed. His Fair and Gentle Humanity was, to me, a Delightful Spectacle; His Dignified Divinity was, to my Eyes, a Sweet Contemplation; to think of Him was my Heart's Delight; to speak of Him was my Pastime; to hear His Sweet Words was Music to my Soul. He was my Heart's Mirror, my Soul's Comfort; Heaven and Earth, and all that is in them, I Possessed in His Sweet Presence. Lo, when I saw my Love, Suspended-in Mortal Agony before me, alas, the sight! Alas, what a Moment was that! How Died, my Heart within me! How was my Courage Extinguished! How did my Strength, Fail me! I Looked-up, but I could not Help my Child. I looked-down, and saw only those who so Cruelly Ill-used Him. O how Narrow then to me, was all this World! I had Lost all Heart; my Voice had Died from me; I had, moreover, Lost all Strength and yet, when I came to myself, I raised thy Feeble Voice, and Spoke-to my Child, Complaining, such words as these: Alas, my Child! Alas, thou Child of mine! Alas, my Heart's Delightful Mirror, in which I have so often taken Delight to behold myself, how do I now see Thee Miserably Suspended before me! Alas, Thou Treasure, above all this World! My Mother, my Father, and all that my Heart can express (such art Thou to me), take me with Thee! Or, to whom wilt Thou leave Thy Wretched mother? Oh, who will Permit me to Die for Thee, to Suffer for Thee, this Bitter Death? Oh, Misery and Distress of a Love-torn Mother, how am I Robbed-of all Joy, of all Love, of all Consolation! Oh, thou Greedy Death, why sparest thou me? Take, take away the Poor Mother, with her Poor Child; to her, to-Live is Bitterer, than to-Die! Him, even Him, Whom my Soul Loveth, I see Dying! And as I thus Lifted-up my Voice in Lamentation, behold, my Child Consoled me very Affectionately, and, among other things, said: That in no other-Way, might Mankind be Redeemed, and that on the Third Day, He intended to Rise-again and Appear-to me and His Disciples; and He said further: Woman, cease thy Weeping; Weep no more, My Fair Mother, I will not Forsake thee for ever! And while my Child thus Tenderly Consoled me, and Commended me to the Disciple whom He Loved, and who also Stood-by, Full-of Sorrow (those Words of His were conveyed to my Heart in a Tone so Lamentable, and so Broken by Sighs, that they Pierced through my Heart and Soul like a Sharp Sword), even the Hard Hearts of the Jews were moved to Compassion for me. I Cast-up my Arms and my Hands, and, in the Anguish of my Heart, would gladly have Embraced my Beloved, yet this I might not do. And then I Sank-down, Overwhelmed by my Heart-rending Grief, at the Foot of the Cross and became Speechless; and when I returned-to myself, and could do Nothing else, I Kissed the Blood that Trickled-down from His Wounds, so that my Pale Cheeks and Mouth were all Tinged with Blood.
The Servant -- Ah, Thou Unfathomable Goodness, what Infinite Torture, what Infinite Misery is this! Whither shall I turn, or to whom shall I cast my Eyes? If I Look-up at the Beautiful Wisdom, I only see Woe and Distress, at which my Heart is like-to Sink within me. They Cry-out and Shout-against Him 'Outwardly', the Agony-of Death, Struggles-with Him 'Inwardly', all His Veins are on the Rack, all His Blood gushes-away, it is nothing but Ejaculations-of Woe, and Cheerless Dying without-Recovery. Then, if I but Turn my Eyes, to His Pure Mother, I see her Tender Heart Pierced, alas! with Wounds as though a Thousand Blades had Transfixed it. I see her Pure Soul, Lacerated-by Woe. Never were such Gestures-of Misery and Longing seen, as hers; Deprived was her Sick Body of all Strength, her Fair Countenance, Besmeared-with Mortified Blood. Oh, Great Misery, above all Misery! The Torture of His Heart, consists in the Affliction-of His Sorrowing Mother; the Torture of His Sorrowing Mother consists in the Innocent Death of her Beloved Son, more-Painful to her, than her own Death. He Beholds her and Consoles her Tenderly; she stretches-out her hands to Him, and would gladly-Die, instead-of Him. Alas! which of the Two (2), feels here the most-Bitterly? Whose is the Greater Distress? To both it is so Unfathomable, that there never was any Equal to it. Alas! the Motherly Heart. Alas! the Tender Womanly Mind. How was thy Maternal Heart ever able to Support this Infinite Sorrow? Blessed be that Heart, compared-to whose Sorrow, everything that ever was uttered-of a Heart's Sorrow, is only as a Dream, to the Reality. Blessed be Thou, O Rising Blush of Morning, above all Creatures! And Blessed be the Flower-enameled, Rose-scented Meadow of Thy Fair Countenance, Adorned-with the Ruby Red Blood of Eternal Wisdom! Alas! Thou Affable Countenance of Beautiful Wisdom, how dost Thou Fade, in Death! Alas! Thou Beautiful Body, how dost Thou Hang Suspended! Woe is me, Thou Pure Blood, how Hotly dost Thou run-down on Thy Pure Mother, who Bore Thee! Lament, ye Mothers, Lament with me over this Affliction! All ye Pure Hearts, let this Rose-colored, Pure Blood, which so be Sprinkles your Pure Mother, go to your Hearts! Behold, all Hearts, ye who ever had Sorrow, Behold and See, if ever there was Sorrow, like unto this Sorrow! Truly, it is a Wonder that our Hearts, melt-not here for Pity and Compassion; so Great, indeed, was this Distress, that Hard Stones were Rent Asunder, the Earth Trembled, the Sun was Extinguished, because they would Fain show Compassion-for their Creator!
The Servant -- Eternal Wisdom! the more one Reflects on Thy Measureless Passion, the more-Unfathomable it appears. Thy Extremity was so very Great, under the Cross, but still more-so, on the Cross, according to Thy 'Exterior' Powers, which at that Hour, felt all the Pangs-of Bitter Death. But, Gentle Lord, how was it with Thy 'Interior' Man, with Thy Noble Soul? Had it no-Consolation, no-Sweetness, like other Martyrs Souls, so as to Mitigate its Cruel Sufferings? Or, when did Thy Sufferings come to an End?
Eternal Wisdom -- Now, Hearken-to a Misery-of-Miseries, such as thou never yet, didst hear of. Although My Soul, according to her Highest Powers, was at that Time, wrapt-in the Vision and Enjoyment of the Pure Divinity, Noble as, in Truth, she is, Behold, the Lower Powers of My 'Exterior' and 'Interior' Nature, were yet Wholly Abandoned-to themselves, even to the very Last Drop of Infinite Bitterness of Suffering, without any Consolation, so that no Torment was ever Equal to it. And as I was thus left, entirely Helpless and Forsaken, with-Running Wounds, with-Weeping Eyes, with-Extended Arms, with-the Veins of My Body on the Rack, in the Agony-of Death, then it was, that I Lifted-up My Voice in Lamentation, and cried out Miserably to My Father: My God, My God, why hast Thou Forsaken Me? And still in all this, My Will was United, in Eternal Conformity with His Will. And when all My Blood was Poured-out, and all My Strength Exhausted, behold, I was Seized-by a Bitter Thirst, because of My Mortal Agony. But I Thirsted still more, for the Salvation of Man. Then did they reach Me Vinegar and Gall, to Quench the Burning Thirst of My Parched Mouth. And when I had Accomplished the Work of Human Redemption, I cried out: It is Finished! I was Entirely Obedient to My Father, even unto Death. My Spirit, I Commended-into His Hands, saying: Into Thy Hands, I Commend My Spirit. And then My Noble Soul, Separated-from My Body, both of which yet remained Unseparated-from the Divinity! After this, a Sharp Spear was Thrust-into My Right Side; forthwith a Stream of Precious Blood gushed-out, and with it a Fountain-of Living Water. Behold, My Child, in an Extremity so Pitiable as this, did I Redeem thee, and all the Elect, and did Save thee, by the Living Sacrifice of My Innocent Blood, from Everlasting Death.
The Servant -- Alas! Tender and Loving Lord and Brother, with what Sorrowful, what Bitter Toil didst Thou not Reap me in! Alas! Noble Lord, how Ardently didst Thou Love me, how Generously didst Thou Redeem me! Woe is me, Thou Fair Wisdom, how shall I ever be in a condition to-Acknowledge Thy Love, and Thy Sufferings? If I had Samson's Strength, Absalom's Beauty, Solomon's Wisdom, and the Riches and Greatness of all Kings, my only Wish would be to Devote them to Thy Praise and Service. But, Lord, I am Nothing, and therefore can do Nothing. O Lord, how am I to Thank Thee?
Eternal Wisdom -- If thou hadst the Tongues of all the Angels, the Good Works of all Mankind, and the Powers of all Created Beings, thou yet couldst not Thank Me, nor Requite Me, for the Least Pang, which I Suffered for the Love of thee.
The Servant -- Tender Lord, Inform and Teach me, then, how I may become Pleasing-to Thee by-means-of Thy Grace, since no one is able to make Thee a Return, for the Tokens of Thy Love.
Eternal Wisdom -- Thou shouldst often set My Sorrowful Cross before thy Eyes, and let My Bitter Torments, Penetrate-to thy Heart, and Shape thy own Sufferings after them. If I allow thee to Pine and Wither, in Disconsolate Affliction and Dryness, without any Sweetness, thou shouldst not seek-after Strange Consolation. Let thy Cry-of Misery, Rise-to thy Heavenly Father, with a Renunciation-of thyself and all thy Desires, according-to His Fatherly Will. The Bitter thy Suffering is from 'Without', and the more-Resigned thou art from 'Within', the more like art thou to Me, and the more dear to My Heavenly Father, for herein the most Pious are put-to the Strongest Proof. What though, thy Desires may have a Thirsty Craving, to-seek Satisfaction and Delight, in something that might be Pleasant to them, yet shouldst thou Forego it for My Sake, and thus will thy Thirsty Mouth be steeped-with Me in Bitterness. Thou shouldst Thirst-after the Salvation-of Men. Thy Good Works, thou shouldst direct-to a Perfect Life, and Persevere-to the End. Thy Will must be Subject, thy Obedience Prompt-to thy Superiors; thy Soul, and all that belongs to it, thou must Surrender-into thy Heavenly Father's Hands, and thy Spirit, must ever be Dying, out-of Time, into Eternity, in Prefiguration-of thy Last Journey. Behold, thus Will thy Cross, be shaped-after My Miserable Cross, and Worthily Accomplished in it. Thou shouldst Wholly Lock thyself up with My Love-Wounded Heart, in My Open-Side, and Dwell there, and seek there thy Resting-Place. Then will I Wash thee, with the Waters-of Life, and Deck thee out, with My Precious Blood, in Purple. I will Associate Myself to thee, and Unite thee with Myself, Eternally.
The Servant -- Lord, never was there any Magnet, so Powerful in-attracting Hard Iron to itself, as Thy Love-fraught Passion, thus Presented-to my Soul, is Powerful to Unite to itself all Hearts. Alas! Thou Loving Lord, Draw me now by means-of Love and Sorrow away from this World, to Thee on Thy Cross, Fulfill in me the Closest Resemblance-to Thy Cross, so that my Soul may Enjoy Thee, in Thy Highest Glory.
The Servant -- Ah, Pure Mother and Tender Lady! When did thy Great and Bitter Affliction of Heart, which thou hadst for thy Son, come to an End?
Mary's Answer -- Listen to my words with Sorrowful Compassion. When my Tender Child had Expired, and when He Hung Suspended before me, and all the Strength of my Heart, was Utterly Broken, though I could do nothing else, I yet Cast many a Glance, up-at my Dead Child. And when they came to take Him down, it was as if I had been Roused from the Dead. With what Motherly Love did I not press them to my Blood-stained Cheeks, and when He was Lowered-down to me, how Affectionately, beyond Measure, did I not Embrace Him, Dead as He was, in my Arms; how did I not Strain to my Heart, my only Love Elect, and Kiss again-and-again, the Fresh Bleeding Wounds of His Face! And yet, with what Revishing Beauty, His entire Body was Transformed, all Hearts could not Sufficiently Contemplate. Then did I take my Tender Child on-to my Lap, and look at Him. I looked at Him, and He was Dead! I looked at Him again-and-again, but He had neither Voice nor Consciousness. Then did I fetch many a Deep and Heart-rending Sigh, my Eyes shed many Tears, my Whole Figure was Deplorable to see, Scarcely had my Doleful Words reached my Lips, when they were Choked by Grief, and only Half-expressed. Alas, alas, Cried I, whenever was anyone so-Cruelly Used on Earth, as Thou, my Innocent and Beloved Child! Alas, my Child, my only-Consolation, my only-Joy, how art Thou Changed for me, into a Source-of much Bitterness! Where is now the Joy, I experienced at Thy Birth? Where the Delight I had in Thy Childhood? Where the Honor and Dignity I had in Thy Presence? Whither is all gone, that could Ravish my Heart? Oh Sorrow! Oh Anguish! Oh Bitterness! Oh Desolation of Heart! Truly is everything Transformed into an Unfathomable Desolation of Heart, into a Mortal Agony! Alas, Thou Child of mine, how am I so Shorn-of all Love, how has my Heart become Utterly Disconsolate! Such, and many such Words of Lamentation did I utter, because of my Deceased Child.
The Servant -- Oh, Pure and Beautiful Mother, permit me once more to console my Heart in this Moment, with thy Dear Child, my Lord, the Eternal Wisdom, before the Hour of Separation comes, before He is Snatched-away from us to the Grave. Immaculate Mother! however Unfathomable thy Heart's Affliction was, however Strongly it may Touch all other Hearts, thou didst yet, methinks, find some Pleasure in the Affectionate Embracing of thy Deceased Child. Oh, Pure and Gentle Lady, I desire that thou wouldst offer me thy Dear Child, as He appeared in Death, on the Lap of my Soul, so that I may Experience, according-to my Ability, in Spirit and Meditation, what thou didst in thy Body. Lord, my Eyes are turned to Thee in the most Rapturous Joy and in Deepest, Heart-felt Love, such as no other Love was ever regarded-with, by the Beloved. Lord, my Soul expands-to Thy Embrace, even as the Tender Rose, expands-to the Pure Sun's Brightness. Lord, my Soul stretches-out her arms to Thee, with Infinite Desire. Oh, my Loving Lord, with Ardent Desire I Embrace Thee today, and Press Thee to the Bottom-of my Heart and Soul, and put Thee in Mind of the Loving Hour of Thy Death, that Thou mayest never allow it to be Lost in me; and I request that neither Life, nor Death, nor Joy, nor Sorrow, may ever Separate Thee from me. Lord, my Eyes Contemplate, Thy Dead Countenance, my Soul Kisses again-and-again, all Thy Fresh Bleeding Wounds, all my Senses are fed with this Sweet Fruit, beneath the Living Tree of the Cross; and it is Reasonable, for this Person, Consoles-himself with his Innocent Life, the other with his Great Exercises and Strict Conduct; the one with this, the other with that; but, as for me, all my Consolation, all my Trust, are Lodged Wholly in Thy Passion, in Thy Satisfaction and Merited Reward, and therefore, I shall at all times carry Thy Passion, Joyfully in the Bottom of my Heart, and show the Image of it 'Outwardly', in Words and Deeds, to the Utmost of my Ability.
Oh, Enchanting Brightness of Eternal Light, how art Thou now for me Utterly Extinguished! Extinguish in me the Burning Lust of all Vice.
Oh, Pure Transparent Mirror of Divine Majesty, how art Thou now Defiled!
Cleanse away the Great Stains of my Evil Deeds!
Oh, Beautiful Image of Paternal Goodness, how art Thou Befouled and Utterly Defaced! Restore the Defaced and Faded Image of my Soul!
Oh, Thou Innocent Lamb, how Wretchedly art Thou used!
Amend and Atone for my Guilty, Sinful Life!
Oh, Thou King of all kings, and Lord of all lords, how does my Soul see Thee lying here in so Lamentable and Ghastly a Plight!
Grant, that since my Soul now Embraces Thee with Sorrow and Lamentation in Thy Dereliction, she may be Embraced by Thee with Joy in Thy Everlasting Glory.
The Servant -- Now, Tender Lady, put an End to thy Sorrow, and thy Sad Recital, and tell me how thou didst Separate-from thy Beloved.
Mary's Answer -- It was a Misery to See and Hear. Alas, all was yet Supportable, while I had my Child with me; but when they tore my Dead Child from my Blighted Heart, from my Embracing Arms, from my face, pressed-to His, and Buried Him, what a Wailing I set-up in that Hour would hardly be believed; and then, when it came to the Separation, oh, what an Agony, what Woe, were seen in me! For when they Separated me from my Beloved, the Separating, Wrestled-with my Heart like Bitter Death. Supported by their hands, who led me away, I walked with Tottering Steps, for I was Robbed-of all Consolation, my Heart Longed Woefully, to return to my Love, my Confidence was Wholly set-in Him, I Rendered Him alone, of all Mankind, Entire Fidelity and True Attachment, even to the Grave.
The Servant -- Oh, Affectionate and Tender Lady, for this do all Hearts greet thee, all Tongues praise thee, since all the Good that the Fatherly Heart has Vouchsafed to give us, Flowed-through thy Hands. Thou are the Beginning, thou art the Means, thou shalt also be the End. Alas, Pure and Tender Mother, let me remind thee Today, of thy Miserable Separation; think of thy Bitter separating-from thy Tender Child, and Help me, that I may not be Separated, either from thee or from His Joyous Countenance.
Yes, Pure Mother, even as my Soul now stands by thee, with Compassionate Sympathy, and Embraces thee with Ardent Desire, and, in Contemplation with Heartfelt Desire, with Thanksgiving and Praise, leads thee from the Sepulcher through the Gate of Jerusalem, back-again to thy House, so do I Crave that, at my Last Departure, my Soul may be again led by thee, O Pure and Tender Mother, to its Fatherland, and there be Confirmed-in Everlasting Bliss.
The Servant -- Eternal Wisdom! if any one were to give me the Whole Earth for my own, it would not be so Agreeable to me as the Truth and the Advantage which I have found in Thy Sweet Doctrines. Therefore, do I desire from the very Bottom-of my Heart, that Thou, the Eternal Wisdom, wouldst Teach me still more. Lord, what is that which belongs, above all things, to a Servant of Eternal Wisdom, who is Desirous to Live for Thee alone? Lord, I should like to hear about the Union of Pure Reason with the Holy Trinity, when, in the True Reflection of the Eternal Birth of the Word, and in the Regeneration of her own Spirit, Reason is Ravished from herself, and Stands, Face-to-face with God.
Eternal Wisdom -- Let not him ask about what is Highest in Doctrine, who still stands on what is Lowest in a Good Life. I will Teach thee what will Profit thee more.
The Servant -- Lord, what wilt Thou Teach me?
Eternal Wisdom -- I will Teach thee to Die, and will Teach thee to Live. I will Teach thee to Receive Me Lovingly, and will Teach thee to Praise Me Lovingly. Behold, this is what Properly, belongs to thee.
The Servant -- Eternal Wisdom, if I had the Power to Fulfill my Wishes, I know not whether, in this Temporal State, I ought to wish anything else, as to Doctrine, than how to Die to myself, and all the World, how to Live Wholly for Thee, to Cherish Thy Love with all my Heart, to Receive Thee Lovingly, and to Praise Thee Lovingly. O God, how Blessed is that Man who is able to do this, and who Consumes in it, his Whole Life. But, Lord, dost Thou mean a Spiritual Dying or a Bodily Dying?
Eternal Wisdom -- I mean Both, One (1) and the Other.
The Servant -- What need have I, Lord, of being Taught-to Die Bodily? Surely it Teaches itself, when it comes.
Eternal Wisdom -- He who puts his Teaching off, till then, will find it too-Late.
The Servant -- O Lord, it is still somewhat Bitter for me, to hear about Death.
Eternal Wisdom -- Behold, even this is the Source-of those Unprovided and Terrible Deaths, whereof the Towns and Convents, now are Full. Behold, Death has often Bridled thee Secretly, and had Fain Ridden thee from hence, in the same way as he does the Countless Multitude, One (1) of whom I will now show thee. Open, therefore, thy Interior Sense, and See and Listen; see what Grim Death is like, in the Person of thy Neighbor, do but mark, the Lamentable Voice thou wilt Hear.
The Servant heard with his Understanding, the Voice of an Unprepared Dying Man, Cry Aloud and Speak as follows:
The Sorrows of Death have Surrounded me. Woe is me, Thou God of Heaven, that ever I was Born into the World. The Beginning of my Life was with Crying and Weeping, and now my Departure from it, is also with Bitter Crying and Weeping. Alas, the Sorrows of Death have Surrounded me, the Pains of Hell have Encompassed me! O Death, O Furious Death, what an Unwelcome Guest thou art to my Young and Joyous Heart! How Little, was I Prepared for thy Coming! Thou hast Attacked me from behind, thou hast Run me Down. Thou Leadest me Away, in thy Chains, like one that Leads a Condemned Man, Bound and Fettered, to the place where he is to be Slain. I Clasp my Hands above my Head, I Wring them with Anguish, in each other, for Gladly would I Escape from him. I look around me into all the Ends of the Earth, to see if any one will give me Advice or Help, and it cannot be. Death I hear, thus Fatally Speaking within me: Neither Learning, nor Money, nor Friends can Avail thee; thou art mine, by Right. Alas, and must it be so? O God, and must I then Depart from hence? Is a Last Separation, really at-hand? Woe is me, that ever I was Born! O Death, what art thou going to do with me?
The Servant -- Dear Man, why dost thou take it so Hard? This is the Common Lot of Rich and Poor, Young and Old. Many more have Died in their Youth, than in their Old Age. Or wouldst thou, perhaps, alone Escape Death? This would Prove a Great Want-of Understanding, in thee.
Unprepared Dying Man -- O Lord, what Bitter Consolation is this! I am not Without Understanding. Those are Without Understanding, who have not Lived for Him, and who are not Frightened-at Death. Such Persons are Blind; they Die like Cattle; they know not what they have before them. I do not Complain, that I must Die; I Complain that I must Die - 'Unprepared'. I do not merely-Lament the End of my Life, I Lament and Weep-over the Delightful Days, which are so Utterly Lost and Vanished, without any Profit. For Truly, I am like an Untimely and Rejected Abortion, like a Blossom, torn-off in May. My Days, have Sped Swifter than an Arrow from the Bow. I am Forgotten, as though I had never been, like a Track, which a Bird makes through the Air, which closes-behind it, and is Unknown-to all Men. Therefore are my Words, so Full of Bitterness, therefore is my Speech, so Full of Woe! Oh, who will enable me to be, as I once was, to have again those Pleasant Times before me, and to Know then, what I Know now! When those Times were mine, I did not Rightly Estimate them; I, Foolish Man, let them Pass, Swiftly Away; now are they Vanished from me; I cannot Recall them, I cannot Overtake them. No Hour so-Short, but I ought to have Valued it more-Preciously and Thankfully, than a Poor Man about to Receive a Kingdom as a Gift. Lo, this is why my Eyes shed Salt Tears, because they cannot Restore what I have Lost. Woe is me, O God; that I should have Feasted so-many Day Away, and that it Profits me now, so-Little. Why did not I Learn to Die all the Time? O ye Blooming Roses, that have still your Days before-you, Look at me, and Learn Wisdom; turn your Youth to God, and with Him alone, Occupy your Time, so that what has Happened to me, may not-Happen to you. Ah, me! how have I Consumed my Youth! No one would I Believe; my Wayward Spirit would Listen to no one. Alas, now am I Fallen-into the Snare of Bitter Death! My Days have Vanished, my Youth has Sped. Better were it for me, had my Mother's Womb become my Grave, than that I should so have Squandered-away my Time.
The Servant -- Be Converted-to God; Repent of thy Sins; if thy End be Well, then, will all be Well.
Unprepared Dying Man -- Alas, what do I Hear? How shall I do Penance? Seest thou not how Terrified I am, how Exceeding Great is my Distress? Even as a Little Bird, caught in the Claws of a Cruel Falcon, and become Senseless in the Agony of Dying, I am Unconscious of everything, except that I would Gladly Escape, and Cannot. Death and the Bitterness of Separation, Oppress me. Alas, the Repentance and Free Conversion of him who is Capable of Right Doing, what a Sure Thing you are! He who Puts you off, will Hardly Fail of being himself, Put-off. O Long Protraction of my Amendment, how much too Protracted hast thou not Proved! My Good Intentions, without Works, my Good Promises, without Performance, have Ruined me. I have said to God, "Tomorrow" and "Tomorrow", till I am Fallen-into the Night of Death. O Thou Almighty God, is it not a Misery, above all Miseries, ought it not Deeply to Afflict me, that I should thus have Lost the Whole of my Life, my Thirty, my Forty Years? I know not that I ever spent a day, Wholly, According-to God's Will, or that I ever Rendered to God, as in Reason I ought to-have Done, a Truly Acceptable Service. Oh, how the Thought, Cuts me to the Heart! O God, how Wretchedly shall I not-Stand before Thee, and the Whole Heavenly Host! Lo, now I am Departing hence; and now, even at this Hour, a Single (1) Pater Noster, uttered with Devotion, would Rejoice me more than if anyone, were to put into my hands, a Thousand Pounds of Gold.
Ah, my God, what have I not Eternally Neglected, what Evil have I not Inflicted on myself, in not having-Seen this, while it was in my Power! What Hours-upon-Hours, have Escaped me! How have I Allowed myself to be led-Wrong, by Small Things, in the Great Affair-of my Salvation! It would now be more-Agreeable to me, and would Procure me more-Eternal Reward, if, from Divine Love, I had Foregone the Pleasure I took at the Sight-of a Friend, when such Pleasure was Contrary-to God's Will, than if that Friend were to Demand a Reward for me from God, Thirty Years Long on his Knees. Hear, Hear, all Men, a Lamentable Thing: I go Begging, round-and-round, because my Time is Short, and Beg a Small Alms, out-of the Merits of Good People, as an Expiation for myself, and it is Refused me; for they are all Afraid, lest they should want Oil in their Lamps. Alas, Thou God of Heaven, let this move Thy Compassion, that with my Healthy Body, I could have Earned such Great Reward and Wealth, on so many a day, when I went about Idle, and that now this Small Alms, Begged only as an Expiation, not as a Reward, for which, moreover, I should Stand Indebted, no one will give me. Oh, let this, ye Old and Young, go-to your Hearts, and Hoard-up in the Good Season, while ye can, so that ye may not become Beggars, and be Denied, in an Hour like this.
The Servant -- Alas, my Dear Friend, thy Distress Rends my very Heart. By the Living God, I Conjure thee, give me some Advice so that I may not come into Trouble.
Unprepared Dying Man -- The Best Advice I can give thee, the Greatest Wisdom and Prudence on Earth, is this: That thou Prepare thyself by a Full Confession-of and an Abstinence-from all those things with which thou Knowest thyself to be Infected, and that thou Hold thyself, at all times Ready, as though thou shouldst have to Depart hence in a Day, or at Latest in a Week. Imagine now, in thy Heart, that thy Soul is in Purgatory, and Doomed-to remain there Ten Years for her Evil Deeds, and that this Year alone, is Granted thee to Help her in. Look at her very-often, see how Woefully she Calls-out to thee and Speaks-to thee: O thou my Best Beloved Friend, Reach me thy Hand, have Pity on me, and Help me to Pray, that I may Speedily come-out of this Raging, Fire-of Purgatory, for I am so Miserable, that there is nobody, except thee alone, to Help me with Charitable Works. I am Forgotten by all the World, because everyone, is Busy-about himself.
The Servant -- This were a Choice Doctrine, for whoever might actually Feel it like thee, in their Hearts. But though thy words are so-Piercing, yet do people sit here and give little-Heed to them; they have Ears and Hear not; they have Eyes and See not; no one will really Die, before his Soul departs out of him.
Unprepared Dying Man -- Wherefore, when at last they are Caught-on the Hook-of Death, and Cry-aloud in Woeful Distress and Cruel Pain, they are not Heard. Lo, even as among a Hundred Persons who wear the Appearance of Holiness (of others I will say Nothing), not One (1), Pays Attention-to my Words, that he may be Converted, and Reform his Life, so is it come-to that pass, that among a Hundred, not One but Falls-into the Snare-of Death, Unprepared; as also Certainly Happens to those who Die Suddenly, or in an Unconscious State; for the Comforts-of the Body, Perishable Love, and the Greedy Pursuits of Sustenance, Blind the Multitude. But if thou wouldst be Delivered-from this Miserable and Unprovided Death, then follow my Advice. Behold, Diligent Meditation-on Death, and Faithful Assistance given to thy Poor Soul, who Appeals so Piteously to thee, will Advance thee so far, that thou wilt not only be without-Fear, but more, thou wilt Expect Death with all the Ardor-of thy Heart. Think of me every Day, and Write-down my Words in the Bottom-of thy Heart. In my Bitter Distress, see what thy Future Lot will be; look what a Night this is. Oh, Happy the Man, that ever he was Born, who Arrives Well-prepared at this Hour, for his Passage will be a Good one, however Bitter his Death; Behold, the Bright Angels will Guard him, the Saints Escort him, the Celestial Court Receive him; his Final Marching-forth will be a Glorious Entry-into his Everlasting Fatherland. But me, alas! where will my Soul Lodge this very Night, in that Strange, Mysterious Country? Oh, my Soul, how art thou Utterly Forsaken! O God, how very Miserable she will be, among all Miserable Souls! Who is there that will Help her with Entire Fidelity? And now let me Put an End to my Sad Complaints; for my Hour is come. I see now that it cannot be Otherwise. My hands begin to Grow Cold, my Face to Turn Livid, my Eyes to Lose their Sight. Alas, the Shocks of Furious Death, Wrestle-with my Poor Heart. I begin to Fetch my Breath very Hard. The Light of this World begins to Vanish-from me. I begin to see into the Next World. O God, my God, what a Sight! The Horrible Forms of Black Moors assemble together; the Wild Beasts of Hell surround me. They Gloat over my Poor Soul, to see if it will be theirs. O Thou Just Judge of the Severe Judgment Seat, how very Heavy in Thy Scales, are those things, which in ours, are so Light! The Cold Sweat of Death, Bursts-from very Anxiety, through my Flesh. Oh, the Wrathful Aspect of the Severe Judge, how very-Sharp, Thy Judgments are! Now let me Turn in Spirit, to that World where I am Led-by the Hand, into Purgatory, and where, in the Land of Torments, I see Anguish and Distress. O God, I see the Wild, Hot Flames dart-up on-high, and meet-over the Heads of Suffering Souls. They wander up-and-down amid the Dark Flames, and Great is their Affliction. What Heart would like to Contemplate our Pangs, the Bitterness of our Woe? Many a Sad Cry is Heard. Help! Help! ah, where is all the Help of our False Friends? Where are the Fair Promises of our False Friends? How have they Deserted us, how have they Utterly Forgotten us? Oh, have Pity on us, some little Pity; at least you, our Best Beloved Friends! What Services have we not Rendered you, and how are we now Repaid. Oh that we should not have Warded-off these Sufferings, when we could have done so, with Things so Trifling! Is not the Least Torment here, Greater, much Greater, indeed, than any Torment ever was on Earth? One Hour in Purgatory lasts a Hundred Years. Lo! now we Boil, now we Burn, now we Shriek Aloud for Help; but, more-than-all, it is our Misfortune to be Deprived so-Long, of the Joy of His Countenance; this it is that Cuts-through the Heart, the Sense, the Soul! -- And thus I Expire.
The Servant -- O Eternal Wisdom, how hast Thou Forsaken me! O God, how has Death, all at once, become Present before me! Alas, thou Soul of mine, art thou still in my Body? Lord of Heaven, do I still Live? Ah, Lord, now will I Praise Thee, and Vow Reformation to Thee, till Death. Oh, how very-Terrified I am! I did not think Death was so near me. Truly, Lord, this Sight shall not Fail to Profit me; every Day, I will be on the Watch for Death, and will look about me that he take me, not by Surprise. I will Learn how to Die; I will Turn my Thoughts to Yonder World. Lord, I see that there is no Remaining here; Lord, in Sooth, I will not Save up my Sorrow and Repentance till Death. Oh, how Terrified I am at this Spectacle, I Marvel that my Soul is still in my Body! Begone, Begone, from me, Soft Reclining, Long Sleeping, Good Eating and Drinking, Perishable Honors, Delicateness and Luxury! If but a little Suffering here, is so Painful to me, how shall I ever endure Immeasurable Agony? O God, if indeed I were now to Die thus, how would it be with me? What a Load have I not still, upon me! Lord, this very Day I will set a Poor Man to Pray for my Poor Soul, and since all her Friends have Forsaken her, I will Befriend her.
Eternal Wisdom -- See; this shouldst thou Diligently look-to whilst thou art in thy Youth, and whilst thou hast still Time to make things Better. But when, in Truth, thou hast Reached this Hour, and thou canst not Make things Better, then shouldst thou look at Nothing on Earth, except My Death and My Infinite Mercy; so that Thy Trust may Repose Wholly in Me.
The Servant -- O Lord, I Prostrate myself at Thy Feet, and I Beseech Thee with Bitter Tears, to Chastise me here as Thou Wilt, only keep it not in-Store for me in the Next World. Woe is me, Lord, the Fire-of Purgatory and its Unspeakable Torments, how could I ever be so Foolish as to Think Lightly of them, and how do I now Stand-in such Great Fear of them!
Eternal Wisdom -- Be of Good Heart, this thy Fear, is the Beginning of Wisdom, and a Path to Salvation. Or hast thou forgotten how all the Scriptures declare what Great Salvation is contained in the Fear and Diligent Contemplation-of Death? Thou shouldst always Praise God, for not to One (1) in a Thousand (103) has it been Granted-to Know Him, as to thee. Listen to a Lamentable Thing: They hear it spoken-of; they know-of it Beforehand, and yet they Allow it to Pass-by, and Heed it not till they be Swallowed-up by it, and then they Howl and Weep when it is too-Late. Open thy Eyes, Count-upon thy Fingers, see how many of them have Died around thee, in thy own Times; talk with them a little in thy Heart; join thy Old Man to them as though it were Dead; question them together; see with what Fathomless Sighs, with what Bitter Tears they will say: Oh, Blessed is he, that ever he was Born, who follows Sweet Counsel and, in the Misfortunes of others, learns Wisdom! Prepare thyself well for thy Departure hence; for Truly thou Sittest as a Bird on the Bough, and art as a Man who stands-on the Water's Edge, and looks at the Swift Sailing Ship in which he will presently Take his Seat, and Sail-away for a Strange Land, whence he will never more Return. Therefore, so Regulate thy Life, that when the Ship comes for thee, thou mayest be Ready, and mayest Joyfully take thy Departure hence.
The Servant -- Lord, many are the Rules, many the Ways-of a Godly Life, the One is so, the Other so. Many and Various are the Ways. Lord, the Scriptures are Inexhaustible, their Precepts Innumerable. Teach me, O Eternal Wisdom, in a Few Words, out of the Abyss, of all the things they contain, to what I ought Chiefly to Hold-fast, in the Way of a Truly Pious Life.
Eternal Wisdom -- The Truest, most-Useful, and most-Practical Doctrine for thee in all the Scriptures that, in a Few Words, will more than Amply Convince thee of all the Truth, Requisite-for the Attainment-of the Summit-of Perfection, in a Godly Life, is this Doctrine: Keep thyself Secluded from all Mankind, keep thyself Free-from the Influence-of all External Things, Disenthrall thyself from all that Depends-on Chance or Accident, and Direct thy Mind, at all Times on High, in Secret and Divine Contemplation, wherein, with a Steady Gaze, from which thou never Swervest, thou hast Me before thy Eyes. And as to other Exercises, such as Poverty, Fasting, Watching, and every other Castigation, bend them all to this as to their End, and use just so-much and so-many of them, as may Advance thee to it. Behold, thus wilt thou Attain to the Loftiest Pitch of Perfection, that not One (1) Person in a Thousand (103) Comprehends, because, with their End in-View, they all Continue-in other Exercises, and so go-Astray the Long Years.
The Servant -- Lord, who can Exist-in the Unswerving Gaze of Thy Divine Vision, at all Times?
Eternal Wisdom -- No one who Lives here Below, in this Temporal Scene. This has been said to thee, only that thou mightest Know, at-what thou shouldst Aim, after-what thou shouldst Strive, to-what thou shouldst Turn thy Heart and Mind. And if ever thou Losest Sight of it, let it be to thee as if thy Eternal Salvation, were taken-away from thee; and do thou Speedily-turn to it, Again, so that thou mayest again, obtain Possession-of it; and then must thou look Carefully-to thyself, for, if it Escape-from thee, thou art like a Sailor, from whose Grasp the Oars in a Strong Swell, have Slipped, and who does not Know whither he shall Direct his Course. But if thou mayest not, as yet, have a Constant Abiding Place in Divine Contemplation, let the Perpetually Repeated Collecting of thy Wandering Thoughts, and the Assiduous Withdrawing of thyself to Engage-in it, Procure thee Constancy so far as it is possible. Listen, Listen, My Child, to the Faithful Instructions of thy Faithful Father. O give heed to them! Shut them up in the Bottom-of thy Heart; think Who it is that Teaches thee all this, and how very much in-earnest He is. Dost thou wish to become ever more-and-more Faithful? Then set My Precepts before thy Eyes. Wherever thou Sittest, Standest, or Walkest, think that I am Present to thee, and that I either Admonish or Converse with thee. O, My Child, keep within thyself, keep thyself Pure, Disengaged, and Retired. See, in this way wilt thou become Conscious-of My Words; that Good, too, will be made Known to thee which, as yet, is Greatly Hidden from thee.
The Servant -- O, Eternal Wisdom, Praised be Thou forever! Ah, my Lord and Most Faithful Friend, if I would not do it otherwise, Thou wouldst yet Force me to do it, with Thy Sweet Words and Thy Gentle Teaching. Lord, I Ought and Will, do my very Best towards it.
The Servant -- Eternal Wisdom, if my Soul could only Penetrate the Heavenly Shrine of Thy Divine Mysteries, I would Question Thee further about Love. And this would be my Question: Lord, Thou hast so entirely Poured-out the Abyss of Thy Divine Love in Thy Passion, that I wonder if Thou canst show any more Signs of Thy Love?
Eternal Wisdom -- Yes. Even as the Stars of Heaven are Countless, so the Love-tokens of My Unfathomable Love are Uncounted.
The Servant -- Ah, Sweet Love of mine! ah, Tender Lord Elect! how my Soul Languishes for Thy Love! Turn Thy Mild Countenance towards me, Outcast Creature that I am; see how everything Vanishes and Passes-away in me, except only the One (1) Treasure of Thy Ardent Love, and therefore tell me something further, of this Rich and Hidden Treasure. Lord, Thou knowest well, that it is Love's Right, never to be Satisfied-with what concerns the Beloved; that the more it has, the more it Desires, how Unworthy soever it may acknowledge itself to be, for such is the effect of the Omnipotent Power of Love. O, Beautiful Wisdom, now tell me the Greatest and Dearest Mark of Thy Love, that in Thy Adopted Human Nature, Thou didst ever Manifest, without taking into account the Unfathomable Love-Token of Thy Bitter Death.
Eternal Wisdom -- Answer Me now a Question. What is that of all Lovely Things, which is most-Agreeable to a Loving Heart?
The Servant -- Lord, to my Understanding, nothing is so agreeable to a Loving Heart, as the Beloved Himself and His Sweet Presence.
Eternal Wisdom -- Even so. See, and on this Account, that nothing which belongs to True Love, might be wanting to those who Love Me, did My Unfathomable Love, as-soon-as I had Resolved to Depart by Death out of this World to My Father, Compel Me to give Myself and My Loving Presence at the Table-of the Last Supper to My Dear Disciples, and in all Future Times, to My Elect, because I knew Beforehand, the Misery which many a Languishing Heart would Suffer for My Sake.
The Servant -- Oh, Dearest Lord, and art Thou Thyself, Thy very Self, really here?
Eternal Wisdom -- Thou hast Me in the Sacrament, before thee and with thee, as Truly and Really God and Man, according to Soul and Body, with Flesh and Blood, as Truly as My Pure Mother carried Me in her Arms, and as Truly as I am in Heaven, in My Perfect Glory.
The Servant -- Ah, Gentle Wisdom, there is yet something in My Heart, may I be Allowed to Utter it to Thee? Lord, it does not Proceed from Unbelief, I Believe that what Thou Willest, Thou canst do; but, Tender Lord, it is a Marvel to me (if I may venture to say so) how the Beautiful, the Delightful and Glorified Body of my Lord, in all its Greatness, in all its Divinity, can thus Essentially Conceal itself under the little Shape-of the Bread which, Relatively Considered, is so out of all Relation. Gentle Lord, be not Angry with me on this Account, for, as Thou art my Wisdom Elect, I should be glad by Thy Favor, to hear something on this head, out of Thy Sweet Mouth.
Eternal Wisdom -- In what manner My Glorified Body and My Soul, according to the Whole Truth, are in the Sacrament, this can no Tongue Express, nor any Mind Conceive, for it is a Work of My Omnipotence. Therefore oughtest thou to Believe it in all Simplicity, and not Pry much into it. And yet I must say a little to thee about it. I will Thrust this Wonder aside for thee, with another Wonder. Tell Me how it can be in Nature, that a Great House should shape itself in a Small Mirror, or in every Fragment of a Mirror, when the Mirror is Broken? Or, how can this be, that the Vast Heavens should Compress themselves into so Small a Space, as thy Small Eye, the Two being so very Unequal to each other in Greatness?
The Servant -- Truly, Lord, I cannot tell, it is a Strange Thing, for my Eye is to the Heavens, but as a Small Point.
Eternal Wisdom -- Behold, though neither thy Eye nor anything else in Nature is Equal to the Heavens, yet Nature can do this thing, why should not I, the Lord of Nature, be able to do many more things, above Nature? But now, tell me further, is it not just as Great a Miracle to Create Heaven and Earth, and all Creatures out of Nothing, as to Change Bread, Invisibly into My Body?
The Servant -- Lord, it is just as possible for Thee, so far as I can Understand, to Change something into something, as to Create something out of Nothing.
Eternal Wisdom -- Dost thou Wonder then at that, and not at this? Tell Me further, thou Believest that I fed Five (5) Thousand Persons with Five (5) Loaves, where was the Hidden Matter, which obeyed My Words?
The Servant -- Lord, I know not.
Eternal Wisdom -- Or dost thou Believe thou hast a Soul?
The Servant -- This I do not Believe, because I 'Know' it, for otherwise I should not be Alive.
Eternal Wisdom -- And yet thou canst not See thy Soul with thy Bodily Eyes.
The Servant -- Lord, I know that there are many more beings Invisible to Human Eyes, than such as we can see.
Eternal Wisdom -- Now Listen: many a Person there is, of Senses so-Gross, as hardly to Believe that anything which he cannot Perceive with his Senses, really exists, concerning which the Learned know that it is False. In like manner, does the Human Understanding stand Related-to Divine Knowledge. Had I asked thee how the Portals of the Abyss are Constructed, or how the Waters in the Firmament are held together, thou wouldst perhaps have Answered thus: It is a Question too-Deep for me, I cannot go into it: I never Descended into the Abyss, nor ever Mounted-up to the Firmament. Well, I have only asked thee about Earthly Things, which thou Seest and Hearest, and Understandest not. Why shouldst thou Wish, then, to Understand what Surpasses all the Earth, all the Heavens, and all the Senses? Or why wilt thou Needs inquire into it? Behold, all such Wondering and Prying Thoughts, proceed alone from Grossness of Sense, which takes Divine and Supernatural things, after the Likeness-of things Earthly and Natural, and such is not the Case. If a Woman were to give-Birth to a Child in a Dark Tower, and it were to be Brought-up there, and its Mother were to tell it of the Sun and the Stars, the Child would Marvel Greatly, and would think it all against Reason, and Incredible, which its Mother, nevertheless, knows so well to be True.
The Servant -- Indeed, Lord, I have Nothing-more to say, for Thou hast so Enlightened my Faith, that I ought to think of Marveling in my Heart again, or why should I seek to Inquire into the Highest, who cannot Comprehend the Lowest? Thou art the Truth which cannot Lie; Thou art the Highest Wisdom, that can do all things; Thou art the Omnipotent Who can Dispose-of all things. Oh, Noble and Loving Lord, I have often Desired-in my Heart that, like Holy Simeon in the Temple, I might have Received Thee Bodily in my Arms, might have Pressed Thee to my Heart and Soul, so that the Spiritual Kiss of Thy Presence might have been as Truly Mine, as it was his. But now, Lord, I see that I Receive Thee as Truly as he, and so much the more Nobly, as Thy Tender Body is now Glorified, and Impassable, which then was Passable. Wherefore, Dearest Lord, if my Heart had the Love-of all Hearts, my Conscience the Purity-of all the Angels, and my Soul the Beauty-of all Souls, so that by Thy Grace I should be Worthy of Thee, I would Fain Receive Thee today so-Affectionately, and so-Bury and Sink Thee in the Bottom-of my Heart and Soul, that neither Joy nor Sorrow, neither Life nor Death, could separate Thee from me. Ah, Sweet Lord, hadst Thou, my Chosen Love, only sent me Thy Messenger, I should not have known, for all this World, how I ought to offer him a Sufficient Welcome. How then ought I to Behave myself towards Him, Whom my Soul Loveth? Truly art Thou the only One (1) Thing in which everything is included, that, in Time and Eternity, my Heart can Desire. Or is there any thing else that my Soul can Desire, of that which is Contrary-to Thee, or which is without Thee, for that would be Repugnant-to me. Truly art Thou the Comeliest of all to the Eyes, the Sweetest of all to the Mouth, the Tenderest of all to the Touch, the most-Beloved of all to the Heart! Lord, my Soul neither Sees nor Hears, nor Feels aught of all, that is here below, but she finds it Severally a Thousand Times Lovelier in Thee, my Chosen Love. Ah, Eternal Lord, how am I to Restrain myself in Thy regard, from Wonder and Delight? Thy Presence Inflames me, but Thy Greatness Terrifies me. My Reason will Needs, do Honor to its Lord, but my Heart Desires to Love its only Good, and Lovingly to Embrace it. Thou art my Lord and my God, but Thou art also my Brother, and, if I may venture to say so, my Beloved Spouse. Oh, what Love, what Rapture, and what Great Joy, what Dignity do I not Possess in Thee alone! Ah, Sweet Lord, methinks that had I only been Vouchsafed the Grace to Receive out of Thy Open Wounds, from Thy Heart, One Single Drop of Blood into my Mouth, if I could have had my Desire, it would have given me the Fullness-of Joy. Ah, Heartfelt, Inconceivable Wonder, now I have not only Received One (1) or Two (2) Drops, but I have received all Thy Hot, Rose-colored Blood through my Mouth, into my Heart and Soul. Is not this a Great Thing? Ought I not to Appreciate this, which to the Exalted Angels is Precious? Lord, would that all my Limbs, and all that I am, were Transformed-into an Unfathomable Love, for the Sake of this Sign of Thy Love. Lord, what is there else in all this World, that could Rejoice my Heart, or that it could Desire, when Thou givest Thyself thus Cordially to me, to Enjoy and Love! Truly is it called a SACRAMENT OF LOVE. When was there anything Lovelier Seen or Heard of, than to Embrace Love itself; than to be Changed-by Grace into Love itself? Lord, I see no difference, except that Simeon received Thee Visibly, and I receive Thee Invisibly. But as little as my Bodily Eyes can see Thy True Humanity, just as little could his Bodily Eyes contemplate Thy Divinity, except through Faith, as I do now. Lord, what New Power is Lodged-in this Bodily Sight? He whose Spiritual Eyes are Opened, has not much to see with his Bodily Eyes, for the Eyes-of the Spirit see far more Really and Truly. Lord, I know by Faith, so far as one can know it, that I have Thee here; what do I wish for more? Lord, it is a Thousand Times better for me that I am unable to See Thee; how could I ever have the Heart thus Visibly to Partake-of Thee! As it is, that which is Lovely and Delightful remains, while that which is Inhuman, Falls away. Lord, when I Truly Reflect how Inscrutably Well, how Lovingly and Wisely, Thou hast Regulated all things, my Heart with a Loud Voice, exclaims: Oh, the Great Treasure of the Abyss of Divine Wisdom, what must Thou not be in Thyself, if Thou art so much in Thy Fair Emanations! Now, O Glorious Lord, look at the Great and Sincere Desire of my Heart. Lord, never was King or Emperor so-Worthily Received, never Dear Strange Guest so-Cordially Embraced, never Bride so-Beautifully and Tenderly taken Home, nor so-Honorably Maintained, as my Soul desires to receive Thee, my most Honored Emperor, my Soul's most Lovely Bridegroom, this day, and to introduce Thee to the Innermost and the Very Best that my Heart and Soul are able to Afford, and to Offer it Thee, as Worthily as ever it was Offered Thee by any Creature. Wherefore, Lord, Teach me how I should Behave myself towards Thee, how, with due Honor and Love, I should Receive Thee.
Eternal Wisdom -- Thou shouldst Receive Me Worthily, thou shouldst Partake of Me with Humility, thou shouldst Keep Me Earnestly, thou shouldst Embrace Me with Conjugal Love, and have Me in My Godly Dignity before thy Eyes. Spiritual Hunger and Actual Devotion must Impel thee to Me more than Custom. The Soul that Wishes to Feel Me Interiorly, in the Recesses of a Secluded Life, and Sweetly to Enjoy Me, must, First of all, be Cleansed from Sin, must be Adorned with Virtue, Encircled with Self-denial, Decked-out with the Red Roses of Ardent Love, Strewn over with the Fair Violets of Humble Submission, and the White Lilies of Perfect Purity. She should Pray to Me with Peace of Heart, for in Peace is My Dwelling-place. She should Clasp Me in her Arms, to the Exclusion-of all Strange Affections; for these I Avoid, and Flee, as the Free Bird, Avoids and Flees the Cage. She should sing Me the Song of Sion, which is a song of Fervent, Loving, and Measureless Praise; then will I Embrace her, and she shall incline herself on My Breast. There, if she finds a Calm Repose, a Pure Vision, Unusual Fruition, a Foretaste of Eternal Bliss, let her Preserve it, let her Keep it for herself, and, with a Sighing Heart, let her Speak as follows: Truly art thou the Hidden God, the Secret Good, which no one can Know, that has not Felt it.
The Servant -- Alas, the Great Blindness in which I have hitherto Lived! I have Plucked the Red Roses and have not Smelt them; I have Wandered among the Blooming Flowers, and have not Seen them; I have been as a Dry Branch amid the Fresh Dews of May. Never, O Never can I Sufficiently Repent, Thy having been for Many a Day so-Near me, and my having been so-Far from Thee. O, Thou Sweet Guest of Pure Souls, what a Sorry Welcome have I hitherto given Thee, what an Ill Return, have I so-Frequently made Thee! How little Desirous have I not shown myself of the Sweet Bread of Angels! I had the Precious Balsam in my Mouth, and Felt it not. Ah, Thou Delight of all Angelic Eyes, never as yet did I Feel, True Delight in Thee! If it were Announced to me, that a Bodily Friend would visit me in the Morning, should I not Rejoice at it, all the Night before? And yet, Never, did I Prepare myself for the Reception-of Thee, as in Reason I ought, Thou Worthy Guest, Whom Heaven and Earth, Equally Honor. Alas! how have I been Wont to Turn Quickly-away from Thee, how to Drive Thee, out of Thy Own! O Eternal God, Thou, even Thou Thyself, art here so Truly Present, and the Angelic Host is here, and yet I have Approached so Shyly and Sluggishly. Of Thee I will say Nothing; but, Truly, Lord, I know of no-Spot within many Miles, whither, if I had Known for Certain of the Presence of Blessed Angels, those High and Noble Guests, who at all-Times, Behold Thee, I should not have Repaired of my own Accord, and even if I had not Seen them, still my Heart, on their Account, would have Leapt in my Body for Joy. O Sweet Lord and God, that Thou Thyself, the Lord of all Angels, shouldst have been Present here, and shouldst have had with Thee, so many Angelic Choirs, and that I should not have given more Heed to the Place; this, this must ever be a Sore Affliction for me! I ought, at all Events, to have Approached the Place where I knew Thee to be thus Present, even though Nothing else might have come of it. O God, how often have I stood Distracted, and without Devotion, on the very spot where Thou wast Before me and With me, in the Blessed Sacrament; my Body indeed stood there, but my Heart was elsewhere. How often have I Thought so little of Thee, in Thy Presence, that my Heart has not even Offered Thee an Affectionate Salutation, with a Devout Inclination. Gentle Lord, my Eyes ought to have Looked-at Thee with Joyous Delight, my Heart ought to have Loved Thee with the Fullness of Desire, my Mouth ought to have Praised Thee with Heartfelt, Fervent Jubilee; all my Strength ought to have Melted, in Thy Glad Service. What did not Thy Servant David do, who leapt so joyously with all his might before the Ark, in which there was nothing but Corporal Bread of Heaven, nothing but Corporal Things! Lord, now do I stand here before Thee, and before all Thy Angels, and with Bitter Tears, Fall-at Thy Feet. Remember, O, Remember, Tender Lord, that here, before me, Thou art my Flesh and my Brother, and Forego Thy Displeasure. O, Forgive me all the Dishonor that ever I Offered Thee, for I am Sorry for it, and must ever be Sorry for it; for the Light of Thy Wisdom begins only now, to Enlighten me; and the Place where Thou art, not only according-to Thy Divinity, but according-to Thy Humanity, shall be Honored by me, Evermore. Ah, Thou Sweetest Good, Thou Worthy Lord and Lovely Guest of my Soul, another Question would I gladly ask: Tell me, Gentle Lord, what is it Thou givest Thy Beloved with Thy Real Presence in the Sacrament, provided she Receives Thee, with Love and Desire?
Eternal Wisdom -- Is that a Fitting Question for a Lover? What have I better than Myself? He Who Possesses the Object of his Love, what else has he to ask for? He who gives himself, what has he Refused? I give Myself to thee, and take thee from thyself, and Unite thee to Me. Thou Loseth thyself, and art Wholly Transformed into Me. What does the Sun, in his Brightest Reflection, Bestow on the Unclouded Sky? Yes, what does the Bright Star of the Morning Dawn, Bestow on the Dark Night? Or what do the Fair and Ravishing Adornments of Summer, bestow after the Cold, Wintry, Melancholy Season?
The Servant -- O Lord, they Bestow Precious Gifts.
Eternal Wisdom -- They seem Precious to thee, because they are Visible to thee. Behold, the Smallest Gift that Flows from Me in the Blessed Sacrament, Reflects more Splendor in Eternity, than any Sunny Brightness; it Sheds more Light than any Morning Star; it Adorns thee more Ravishingly in Eternal Beauty, than ever did any Adornment of Summer, the Earth. Or is not My Bright Divinity, more-Radiant than any Sun, My Noble Soul more-Resplendent than any Star, My Glorified Body more-Ravishing than any Ravishment of Summer? And yet all these things hast thou Truly Received here.
The Servant -- O Lord, why then are they not more Sensibly felt? Lord, I often approach-in such Dryness that all Light, all Grace and Sweetness, are as Strange to me, methinks, as to a Man born Blind, who never saw the Sun. Lord, if I may Venture to say so, I could indeed wish that, in Thy Real Presence, Thou hadst given Testimony of Thyself.
Eternal Wisdom -- The Less the Testimony, the Purer thy Faith, and the Greater thy Reward. The Lord of Nature, Operates with such Secrecy, a Blessed Increase in many a Fair Tree, that no Eye nor other Sense, can Perceive it till it is Accomplished. Now, I am not an 'Exteriorly' Working Good, but an 'Interiorly' Shining Light; an 'Interiorly' Working Good, which is so much the Nobler, as it is the more Spiritual.
The Servant -- Alas! how Few Men there are who Perceive this, who Weigh Thoroughly what they Receive. They Draw-near like the Rest, Generally-in an Ill and Inconsiderate Manner, and, therefore, as they go-up Empty, they come away without-Grace. They do not Ruminate their Food, so as to Ponder what they have Received.
Eternal Wisdom -- To the Well-prepared, I am the Bread-of Eternal Life, to the Little-prepared, the Bread of Dryness, but to the Unprepared, I am a Deadly Blow, an Eternal Curse.
The Servant -- O Lord, what a Terrible Thing is this! Lord, whom dost Thou call the Well-prepared, the Little-prepared, and the Unprepared?
Eternal Wisdom -- The Well-prepared are the Purified, the Little-prepared such-as, cleave-to Temporal Things, but the Unprepared, are the Sinful who continue by Will and by Deed in Mortal Sin.
The Servant -- But, Tender Lord, if at the Time a Person is Heartily Sorry for his Sins, and Strives, to the Best of his Ability, to Rid himself wholly of them, conformably-to Christian Precept, how is it then with him?
Eternal Wisdom -- In such a Case a Man is, for the Time, no-longer in Sin.
The Servant -- Lord, in my Opinion, it were One of the Greatest Things this World could Accomplish, if any Person, while Living in this Temporal State, was able to Prepare himself Worthily enough, for Thy Reception.
Eternal Wisdom -- That Person was never yet born; nay, if a Man had the Native Purity of all the Angels, the Sanctity of all the Saints, and the Good Works of all Mankind, he would yet be Unworthy.
The Servant -- Ah, Beloved Lord, with what Trembling Hearts ought not Persons so Unworthy, so Deprived of Grace, as we are, to-approach Thee.
Eternal Wisdom -- If a Man only does his Best, nothing more is required of him, for God Completes, what is left Incomplete. A Sick Man should cast-aside all Reserve, and should Approach the Physician, whose attendance is his Cure.
The Servant -- Lord, Beloved Lord, which is better, OFTEN, or SELDOM, to Receive Thee in the Blessed Sacrament?
Eternal Wisdom -- For him whose Grace and Devotion, Perceptibly Increase by it, to Receive Me Often, is Profitable.
The Servant -- But, Lord, if a Man, in his own Opinion, remains the same, and cannot Prove that he either Increases or Decreases by it in Holiness, or if he is often visited-by Spiritual Dryness, how should he then behave himself?
Eternal Wisdom -- A Man, provided only he does his part, should not withdraw himself because of Spiritual Dryness. For the Salvation of that Soul, which by God's Will, Suffers-from Spiritual Dryness, is often accomplished as Nobly in the Light of Pure Faith alone, as in Great Sweetness. I am a Boon which, turned to account, Increases, but which, Saved up, Wastes away. It is better to Approach once a Week, with a Deep Sense of Real Humility, than once a Year with an Overweening Self-approbation.
The Servant -- Lord, at what Time does the Influence of Grace from the Blessed Sacrament, take place?
Eternal Wisdom -- In the very Moment-of Actual Reception.
The Servant -- Lord, but what if a Man have a Fervent Desire for Thy Bodily Presence in the Sacrament, and he must yet be Deprived of it?
Eternal Wisdom -- Many a Man, after being Filled-with Me, goes away Hungry, and many a Man obtains Me, though the Table be Empty; the Former merely receives Me Bodily, the latter enjoys Me Spiritually.
The Servant -- Lord, has that Man any Advantage, who receives Thee Bodily and Spiritually, over him who only Receives Thee Spiritually?
Eternal Wisdom -- Tell me whether that Man has more, who has Me and My Grace, or he who has only My Grace alone?
The Servant -- Lord, how long dost Thou remain in Thy Real Presence, with a Man who has received Thee?
Eternal Wisdom -- As-long-as the Image and Likeness of the Sacrament remain.
O Thou Living Fruit, Thou Sweet Blossom, Thou Delicious Paradise, Apple of the Blooming Fatherly Heart, Thou Sweet Vine of Cyprus in the Vineyard of Engaddi, Who will give me to Receive Thee so Worthily this day that Thou shalt Desire to come to me, to Dwell with me, and never to Separate from me! O Unfathomable Good, that fillest Heaven and Earth, incline Thyself Graciously this day, and Despise not Thy Poor Creature. Lord, if I am not Worthy of Thee, yet do I Stand, in Need of Thee. Ah, Gentle Lord, art Thou not He Who, with One Word, Created Heaven and Earth? Lord, with One Word canst Thou Restore Health to my Sick Soul. O Lord, do unto me according to Thy Grace, according to Thy Infinite Mercy, and not according to my Deserts. Yes, Thou art the Innocent Paschal Lamb, Which at this day is still Offered up for the Sins of all Mankind. Ah, Thou sweet-tasting Bread of Heaven, which contains all Sweet Tastes according to the Desire of everyone's Heart, make the Hungry Mouth of my Soul to Rejoice in Thee this day; give me to Eat and to Drink; Strengthen, Adorn, and Unite me Interiorly to Thee. Ah, Eternal Wisdom, come down so Powerfully this day into my Soul, that all my Enemies may be Driven out of her, all my Crimes be Melted away, and all my Sins be Forgiven. Enlighten my Understanding with the Light of True Faith. Inflame my Will with Thy Sweet Love. Cheer up my Mind with Thy Glad Presence, and give Virtue and Perfection to all my Powers. Watch over me at my Death, that I may enjoy Thy Beatific Vision in Eternal Bliss.
The Servant -- "Praise the Lord, O my Soul, in my Life I will Praise the Lord; I will sing to my God as long as I shall be".
Who will Grant, O God, to my Full Heart, to Fulfill before my Death, its Desire for Thy Praise? Who will Grant me Worthily to Praise, in my day, the Beloved Lord, Whom my Soul Loveth? Ah, Tender Lord, would that there Issued from my Heart, as many Sweet Tones, as ever have Issued from Sweet Harpings, as-many-as there are Leaves and Blades of Grass, would that they were all Addressed on High, to Thee in Thy Heavenly Court, so that a Song of such a Delightful and Unheard of Praise, might Burst from my Heart, as would be Pleasing to the Eyes of my Lord, and Full of Joy, to all the Heavenly Host! Ah, Beloved Lord, although I am not Worthy to Praise Thee, still my Soul Desires that the Heavens should Praise Thee, when, in their Ravishing Beauty and Sublime Splendor, they are Lit-up with the Multitude of Glittering Stars; and the Fair Delightful Meadow, when, in all the Bliss of Summer, it Glistens Afresh in Blithesome Beauty, in Manifold Flowery Adornment; and all the Sweet Thoughts and Fervent Desires that ever a Pure and Affectionate Heart conceived for Thee, when it was encompassed-by the Refreshing Summer Delights of Thy Illuminating Spirit. Lord, when I but think of Thy High Praise, my Heart is ready to Melt in my Breast; my Thoughts, Wander-from-me; Speech, Fails-me, and all Knowledge, Escapes-me. Something Shines-in my Heart, beyond the Power of Words, when I will Needs, Praise Thee, O Infinite Good; for, if I take the Fairest Creatures, the most Exalted Spirits, the Purest Beings, Thou yet Surpassest them all, Unspeakably. If I enter the Deep Abyss of Thy Goodness, there, all Praise disappears-in its own Littleness. Lord, when I behold Living Forms of Beauty, Creatures Gentle and Engaging, they say to my Heart: Oh, see how Right Gracious He is, from-Whom we Emanate, from-Whom all that is Beautiful, has Issued! If I Traverse, Heaven and Earth, the Universe and the Abyss, Wood and Grove, Mountain and valley, lo! they One and All, fill my Ears with a Rich Canticle of Thy Unfathomable Praise. Then, when I Mark, with what Infinite Beauty and Harmony, Thou Orderest all things, both Evil and Good, I am Dumb and Speechless. But, Lord, when I remember that Thou Thyself, art this Praiseworthy Good, which my Soul has chosen-out, Solely for Herself, as Her One, Only and Undivided Love, my Heart, for Praise, is like to Burst within me, and to Cease its Throbbings. Oh, Tender Lord, have regard, therefore, for the Great and Ardent Desire of my Heart and Soul, and Teach me how to Praise Thee Worthily, and how to Serve Thee Acceptably, before I Depart hence, for this is what my Soul Thirsts after, in my Body.
Eternal Wisdom -- Wouldst thou then Gladly Praise Me?
The Servant -- Alas! Lord, why dost Thou Provoke me? Thou Knowest all Hearts, Thou Knowest that my Heart is Ready to turn-round in my Body, from the True Desire of Thy Praise, which from my Childhood's Day, till now, I have had.
Eternal Wisdom -- Praise becometh the Upright.
The Servant -- Alas! my Lord, all my Uprightness lies in Thy Boundless Compassion. Beloved Lord, the Frogs, Praise Thee in the Pool, and if they cannot Speak, yet do they Croak. Full well, do I know who I am. Lord, I know that rather than Praise Thee, I ought to Lament and Beg Pardon for my Sins. And yet, O Unfathomable Good, Scorn not the Desire I have to Praise Thee, Miserable-Worm that I am. Lord, though the Cherubim and Seraphim, and the Countless Number of all Exalted Spirits, Praise Thee according-to their Utmost Powers, yet what can they do more as regards Thy Infinite Dignity, far Removed above all Praise, than the very-Least of Thy Creatures? Lord, Thou standest in Need-of no-Creature's Praise; but Thy Infinite Goodness is made all the more Manifest, the more Thou givest Thyself to the Praise of those, who are without Desert.
Eternal Wisdom -- Whoever thinks he can Praise Me, to the Fullness of My Worth, Acts like him who Chases the Wind, and trys to Grasp a Shadow. And yet it is Permitted to thee, and all Creatures, to Praise Me according-to your Ability; for there never was a Creature so-Little, nor so-Great, nor so-Good, nor so Wicked, neither will there be One, but it either Praises Me or Testifies to My Praise; and the more it is United with Me, the more Praiseworthy it finds Me; and the more thy Praise is like the Praise-of Eternal Glory, the more Praiseworthy it is to Me; and the more this Praise of thine is Abstracted in Imagination from all Creatures, and United in True Devotion to Me, the more it is like the Praise of Eternal Glory. A Fervent Contemplating, sounds better in My Ears, than merely a Praising with Words, and a Heartfelt Sighing, Sounds better than a Lofty Appeal. A Total Subjection of One's self, under God and all Mankind, in the Wish to be as-Nothing in their Sight, is a Sound for Me, above all Sweet Sounds. I Myself, never Appeared-on Earth so Worthy of Praise before My Father, as when I Hung in Mortal Agony on the Cross. Some Persons Praise Me with Fair Words, but their Hearts are Far-from Me, and of such Praise I make no Account. So likewise, some Persons Praise Me when things go according-to their Desires, but when things begin to go Wrong with them, their Praise Ceases, and such Praise is Disagreeable to Me. But that Praise is Good and Precious in My Divine Eyes when, with thy Heart, thy Words and Works, thou dost Praise me as Fervently in-Sorrow, as in-Joy, in-Utter Adversity, as in-Full Prosperity; for then, thou thinkest of-Me, and not of-thyself.
The Servant -- Lord, I Desire not Sufferings from Thee, neither will I give Cause for such things; but I will give myself up Wholly and Entirely, according to the Desire of my Heart, to Thy Eternal Praise, whereas, before, I never could Truly Forsake and Utterly Forget myself. Lord, if Thou wert to Permit me to become the most Despised Person the Whole Earth could Produce, Lord, even this I would Suffer for the Sake of Thy Praise. Lord, I Yield myself up this day to Thy Grace and Mercy; nay, if I were to be Accused of the Foulest Murder that ever any Man Committed, so that whoever say me should Spit in my Face, Lord, I would Willingly bear it in Praise-of Thee, provided I only Stood Guiltless in Thy Sight. But even if I were Guilty, I would still Endure it in Praise of Thy Blessed Justice, which is a Thousand Times more Precious to me, than my own Honor. For every Term of Reproach, Cast at me, I would give Thee a Particular Praise, and with the Good Thief would say to Thee: Lord, I Receive the due Reward of my Deeds, but what hast Thou done Amiss? Lord, Remember me, when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom! And should it be Thy Will to take me Now from Hence, if it were for Thy Praise, I would not look about me for a Respite, but I would Desire to be taken hence; and I would Desire that, if it should have been my Lot, to have become as Old, even as Methuselah, every Year of the Long Period, and every Week of the Years, and every Day of the Weeks, and every Hour of the Days, and every Minute of the Hours, might Praise Thee for me, in such Rapturous Praise, as never did any Saint in the Veritable Bright Reflection of the Saints, and this as many Times as the Grains of Dust are Countless in the Sunshine, and that they might Fulfill, this my Good Desire, as though I myself had all the Time, Lived-to Fulfill it. Therefore, Lord, Take-me Early or Late to Thyself, for such is my Heart's Desire. Lord, I will say still more, that, if I had Now to Depart Hence, and it were to Thy Praise that I should Burn Fifty Years in Purgatory, I am ready to incline myself at Thy Feet, and Gladly accept it all, to Thy Eternal Praise; Blessed be the Fire-of Purgatory in which Thy Praise is Fulfilled in me! Lord, Thou, and not myself, art what I here Love, and here Seek. Lord, Thou Comprehendest all things, Thou Knowest all Hearts, Thou Knowest that these are my Unshaken Sentiments; nay, if I knew that I should have to Lie for ever at the Bottom of Hell, however it might Afflict my Heart to be Robbed of Thy Ravishing Vision, I yet would not Cease from Thy Praise; and could I Retrieve the Lost Time of all Men, Reform their Misdeeds, and by means of Praise and Honor, make Full Amends for all the Dishonor that ever was shown Thee, I would Willingly do it; and if it were indeed possible, then, from the Lowest Abyss of Hell, must needs Burst Forth from me a Beautiful Song of Praise, which would Penetrate Hell, the Earth, Air, and all the Heavens, till it arrived before Thy Divine Countenance. But, if this were not possible, I would yet Wish to Praise Thee here, all the more, that I might even here, Rejoice in Thee, all the more. Lord, do with Thy Poor Creature what is for Thy Praise; for let what will happen to me, so long as there is any Breath in my Mouth, I will utter Thy Praise; and when I Lose my Utterance, I Desire that the Raising of my Finger may be a Confirmation and Conclusion of all the Praise I ever spoke; nay, when my Body Falls-to Dust, I Desire that, from every Grain of Dust, an Infinite Praise may Pierce through the Hard Stones, through all the Heavens up to Thy Divine Presence, till the Last Day, when Body and Soul shall again Unite in Thy Praise.
Eternal Wisdom -- In this Desire and Good Intention thou shouldst remain till Death -- such Praise is Pleasing to Me.
The Servant -- Ah, Sweet Lord, since Thou Deignest and Desirest to Receive Praise from me, Poor Sinful Person that I am, it is my Desire that Thou wouldst show me Three (3) things, namely, how, wherewith, and at what time, I ought to Praise Thee. Tell me, Dearest Lord, is the External Praise which is given by Words and Singing, any way Profitable?
Eternal Wisdom -- It is certainly Profitable, and especially as it Stirs-up the Interior Man, which it very often Stirs-up, above all in the Case of Newly Converted Persons.
The Servant -- Lord, I also am Filled-with the Desire (seeing that one should be Glad, to-Begin in Time, what One will have to-Practice in Eternity) to Attain the Diligent Praising of Thee, in my Interior, and that I should not be Interrupted in Thy Praise, at any Time, even for the Space of a Second. Lord, out of this very Desire I have often Spoken as follows: O, thou Firmament, why dost thou Hasten and Revolve so fast? I Beseech thee, Stand still in this Moment, until I shall have Thoroughly Praised my Lord, according-to my Heart's Desire. Lord, when Perchance I have been a Little while Neglectful of Thy Present Praise, and have shortly come to myself, I have Interiorly cried out as follows: O Lord, it is a Thousand Years that I have Thought no more of my Beloved! O Lord, Teach me, then, as much as Thou canst, while my Soul is yet in my Body, how I may Attain to Praise Thee, Continually and without Relaxation.
Eternal Wisdom -- He who in all things, is Mindful of Me, who Keeps himself from Sin, and is Diligent in Virtue, Praises Me at all times; but still, if thou wouldst Seek after the Highest Sort of Praise, Listen-to something more: The Soul is like to a Light Peacock's Feather; if Nothing is attached-to it, it is very Easily Borne aloft by its own Mobility towards the Sky, but if it is Laden-with anything, it Falls-to the Ground. In like manner, a Mind that is Purified-from all Heaviness of Sin, is also Raised by Virtue-of its Native Nobility, with the Help of Gentle Contemplation, to Heavenly Things; and therefore, when it happens that a Mind is Disengaged from all Bodily Desires, and is set 'Interiorly' at Rest, so that its every Thought, Cleaves at all Times, Inseparably to the Immutable Good, such a Mind Fulfills My Praise at all Times; for in the State of Purity, so-far-as Words can Express it, Man's Carnal Sense is so Wholly Drowned and so Wholly Transformed from Earthiness, into a Spiritual and an Angelic Semblance, that, whatever he Receives 'Exteriorly', whatever he Does or Operates, whether he Eats, Drinks, Sleeps, or Wakes, is Nothing else but the very Purest Praise.
The Servant -- Ah, Lord, what a Truly Sweet Doctrine is this! Lovely Wisdom, Three (3) things there are still, that I should be Glad to have Explained. One (1) is: Where shall I find the most Reasons to Praise Thee?
Eternal Wisdom -- In the First, Origin of all Good, and then in its Out-flowing Springs.
The Servant -- Lord, as to the Origin, it is too High for me, too Unknown to me; there let the Tall Cedars, Praise Thee, the Heavenly Spirits, the Angelic Minds. And yet will I too Press Forward like a Rude Thistle with my Praise, that they may be Admonished by the Spectacle of my Impotent Longings of their own High Worthiness, that they may be Incited in their Pure Brightness, to Praise Thee, just as though the Cuckoo were to give the Nightingale, occasion-to Sing a Ravishing Song. But the Outflowings of Thy Goodness; these will be Proper for my Praise. Lord, when I Ponder Well what I was, Formerly, how often Thou hast Protected me, from what Evil Chains and Bonds Thou hast Delivered me, O Thou Everlasting Good, it is a Wonder that my Heart does not Wholly Melt in Thy Praise! Lord, how Long didst Thou not Wait for me, how Kindly didst Thou not Receive me, how Sweetly in Secret didst Thou not Anticipate me and Interiorly warn me! How Ungrateful soever I might sometimes be, still Thou didst not Desist, until Thou hadst Drawn me, to Thee. Ought I then, not to Praise Thee, my Gentle Lord? Yes, Truly do I Desire that a Rich Praise should Ascend before Thy Eyes, even such a Great and Joyous Praise, as that Rendered-by the Angels, when they First Beheld the Sight of their own Constancy, and the Reprobation of their Fallen Companions; as that Uttered-in the Joy, felt by the Miserable Souls in Purgatory, when they come-forth from their Grim Prison House before Thee, and Behold for the First time Thy Countenance, Beaming-with Delight and Love; a Praise even as that Unfathomable Praise which will Resound in the Streets-of the Heavenly City, after the Last Judgment, when the Elect shall be Separated in Everlasting Security, from the Wicked. Lord, one thing I should also like to Know, respecting Thy Praise is this: How all that is Naturally Good in me, may be referred-to Thy Everlasting Praise?
Eternal Wisdom -- Inasmuch as Nobody in this Temporal State can be sure, from Actual Knowledge, of the True Difference between Nature and Grace, so when anything Gracious, Joyous, or Agreeable, arises in thy Mind, whether it be from Nature, or from Grace, enter Quickly and Speedily into thy Interior, and make an Oblation of it to God, so that it may be Consumed in My Praise, because I am the Lord of Nature and Grace, and in this Way will Nature, now to thee, become Supernatural.
The Servant -- Lord, but how then shall I turn even the Imaginations of Evil Spirits to Thy Eternal Praise?
Eternal Wisdom -- To the Suggestions or Inspirations of an Evil Spirit, speak thou as follows: Lord, as often as this Wicked Spirit or any other, sends me against my Will, such Disagreeable Thoughts, let me of my own Premeditated Will, send Thee the most Fervent Praise in his stead, even the very Praise which the same Evil Spirit ought to have given Thee throughout all Eternity, had he remained Loyal, so that in his Reprobate State, I may Represent his place, in Praising Thee; and as often as he Inspires me with such Odious Thoughts, let my Good Praise, Ascend to Thee.
The Servant -- O Lord, now do I indeed see that to Good Men, all things may be turned into Good, when even the very Worst Things of the Evil Spirit can in such a Way, be made Good Things. But now tell me One (1) Thing more. Ah, Thou Gracious Lord, how am I to turn all that I Hear, all that I See, to Thy Praise and Glory?
Eternal Wisdom -- As often as thou seest a Great Number of People, as often as thou beholdest an Exceeding Fair Multitude, say from the very Bottom of thy Heart: Lord, as Often and as Beautifully must the Thousand times a Thousand Angelic Spirits, who stand before Thee, salute Thee Lovingly this Day in my Name, and the Ten Thousand times a Thousand Spirits who serve Thee, Praise Thee today for me, and they must Desire for me all the Holy Desires of the Saints, and that the Ravishing Beauty of all Creatures, may do Thee Honor today, for me.
The Servant -- O my Sweet Lord, how hast Thou not Refreshed and Increased my Zeal in Thy Praise! But Truly, Lord, this Temporal Praise has Stirred-up my Heart and alas! set my Soul a-Longing for the Praise which is Everlasting and Eternal. When, my own Elected Wisdom, when will the Bright Day arise, when will the Glad Hour arrive of a Perfectly Prepared Death, and Departure from this Scene of Wretchedness, to my Beloved! Ah me, I begin so to Languish, so Ardently to Long after my Heart's only Love! When, O when, shall I ever Possess it? How Lingering is the Time, how Late it will be before I behold Face-to-face, the Delight of my Soul's Eyes, before I Enjoy Thee according-to my Heart's Desire! O Misery of Banishment, what a Misery thou art to him who considers himself Banished in very Truth! Behold, Lord, there is hardly any One on Earth, but has some Friend to visit, some Place on which to rest his foot a little while. Alas, my only One, Thou Whom my Soul alone Seeks and Desires, Thou Knowest that I have no other Refuge, than in Thee alone! Lord, whatever I Hear and See, if I find Thee not, is a Torment to me; the Society of all Mankind, without Thee, is Bitterness to me. Lord, what should Rejoice me, what Detain me here?
Eternal Wisdom -- Here on Earth, shouldst thou often wander in the Delightful Orchard of My Blooming Praise. In this Transient Life, there is no Truer Prelude to the Celestial Habitations, than is to be found among those who Praise God in the Joy of a Serene Heart. There is nothing that Cheers a Man's Mind so much, and Lightens his Sufferings; that drives away Evil Spirits, and makes Sadness Disappear, as Joyous Praising of God. God is near those who Praise Him; the Angels are familiar with them; they are Profitable to themselves; it Betters their Neighbor and Gladdens the Soul; all the Heavenly Host is Honored by Cheerful Minded Praise.
The Servant -- Sweet Lord, my Tender, my Eternal Wisdom! I Desire that when my Eyes, First awaken in the Morning, my Heart may Awaken too, and that there may Burst from it, a High-flaming Fiery Love-torch of Thy Praise, with the most Fervent Love of the most Loving Heart that exists in time, according to the most Ardent Love of the most exalted Seraphim in Eternity, in the Fathomless Love with which Thou, Heavenly Father, Lovest Thy only Son, and with the Most Sweet Love of the Holy Ghost, Who Proceeds from Father and Son; and I Desire that this Praise may Resound so Sweetly in the Fatherly Heart, as never did yet the Strings of all Earthly Instruments in a Joyous Mind; and that this Love-torch may send up so Sweet a Savor of Praise, as though it were Smoking Incense, Composed-of all Precious Herbs and Spices of all Virtues, Finely Powdered together in their Highest Perfection; and Lastly, that the Sight of it may be so Beautifully Blooming in Graces, as never any May was known to be in its most Ravishing Bloom; so that it may be a Delightful Aspect for Thy Divine Eyes, and all the Heavenly Host. All my Desire is, that this Love-torch may at all times Blaze-out Fervently in my Prayers, from my Mouth in my Singing, in my Thoughts, Words, and Works, that it may Subdue all my Enemies, Consume all my Sins, and Obtain for me a Happy End, so that the End of this, my Temporal Praise, may be but the Beginning-of my Everlasting, my Eternal Praise.
Let everybody who Desires to Meditate Briefly, Properly, and Earnestly on the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, in Whom all our Salvation lies, and who Desires to-be Thankful for His Manifold Sufferings, Learn by-Heart, the Hundred, Choice Meditations which hereafter follow, severally, according to their Sense, which is comprised in Few Words, and go over them Devoutly, every day, with a Hundred Venias or otherwise, as it may suit him best, and at every Venia (Recitation of Petition), when it relates to our Blessed Lady, let him say a Pater Noster, or an Ave Maria, or a Salve Regina, for in this manner were they Revealed to a Preacher by God, at a time when he stood before a Crucifix after Matins, and fervently complained to God that he could not well Meditate on His Torments, and that it was so Bitter a thing, for him to Meditate on them, inasmuch as; up to that Hour, he had had herein Great Infirmity, from which he was then Relieved. The Prayers he afterwards Appended, in a Short Form, so that all might be Free to find matter for themselves to Pray agreeably to their own Feelings, but should the Prayers prove too-many, for a Person all at once, let him Divide them into even Daily Hours, or into the Seven (7) Days of the Week, according as they are here Noted-down.
O Eternal Wisdom, my Heart reminds Thee of Thy Sorrow of Soul.
When after the Last Supper on the Mount, Thou wast Bathed in Thy Bloody Sweat because of the Anxiety of Thy Heart;
And when like an Enemy, Thou wast made Prisoner, Cruelly Bound, and led Miserably Away;
When, Lord, Thou wast Sacrilegiously Maltreated, in the Night with Hard Blows, and with Blindfolding of Thine Eyes;
Early Accused before Caiphas and pronounced Worthy of Death;
Seen by Thy Affectionate Mother, with Unspeakable Sorrow of Heart;
Thou wast Ignominiously Presented before Pilate, Falsely Accused, and Condemned to Die;
Thou, O Eternal Wisdom, wast Mocked as a Fool, in a White Garment before Herod;
Thy Fair Body was Torn and Rent, without Mercy, by the Cruel Whips of Thy Scourgers;
Thy Delicate Head was Pierced with Sharp Thorns and Thy Sweet Face, in consequence, Drenched with Blood;
Thus Condemned, Thou wast Led, Miserably and Shamefully, with Thy Cross to Death.
Alas, my only Hope, let me, therefore, remind Thee to give me Thy Fatherly Aid in all my Distresses. Oh, unloose my Sinful Fetters, Guard me against Secret Vice and Open Guilt, Shelter me from the False Councils of the Enemy, and from the Occasion of all Crime, Inspire me with a Sincere Sympathy for Thy Own Sufferings and for those of Thy Tender Mother. Lord, at my Last Departure, Judge me Mercifully, Teach me to Condemn Worldly Honors, and to Serve Thee Wisely. Let all my Infirmities be Healed in Thy Wounds. Let my Reason be Fortified and Adorned by the Injuries Inflicted on Thy Head, and may Thy Whole Passion be Imitated by me according to my Ability.
When on the High Branches of the Cross, Thy Eyes were Extinguished and turned in their Sockets;
Thy Divine Ears, filled with Mockery and Blasphemy;
Thy Delicate Nostrils stopped with Rank Smells;
Thy Sweet Mouth with Bitter Drink;
Thy Tender Feeling visited with Rude Blows.
Therefore do I Beg that Thou wouldst Guard this Day, my Eyes from all Dissolute Sights, my Ears from Voluptuous Speech. Lord, take away from me all Relish of Bodily Things, make all Temporal Things, Unpleasant to me, and rid me of all Tenderness for my Own Body.
Ah, Tender Lord!
When Thy Divine Head was Bowed-down by Weakness and Utter Debility;
Thy Fair Throat, very Grievously Distended;
Thy Blessed Features, Polluted with Spittle and Blood;
Thy Clear Complexion, made Livid;
All Thy Beautiful Form, Smitten with Death.
Grant me, therefore, O Lord, to Love Bodily Pain, and to Seek all my Rest in Thee, to Endure Injuries Willingly from others, to Desire Contempt, to Die to my Affections and all my Lusts.
When Thy Right Hand was Nailed-down;
Thy Left Hand, Struck-through;
Thy Right Arm, Extended;
Thy Left, Stretched-out;
Thy Right Foot, Hammered-through;
Thy Left, made Fast;
Thou didst Hang Suspended, in a Swoon;
And in Great Weariness of Thy Divine Limbs;
All Thy Tender Joints were Immovably Strained on the Hard Bed of the Cross;
Thy Body was Drenched in many places, with Thy Hot Blood.
Therefore, O Lord, I Beseech that I may be made Immovably Fast to Thee, in Joy and Sorrow, that all the Powers of my Body and Soul may be Distended on Thy Cross, and my Reason and Affections nailed to it. Grant me Inability to Indulge in Bodily Pleasure, Promptness in Seeking Thy Praise and Honor. I Crave that no Limb of my Body may be without a Living Token of Thy Death, a Spontaneous Proof of the Image of Thy Passion.
Thy Blooming Body, Pined and Withered away on the Cross;
Thy Weary and Tender Back, Leant Uneasily against the Hard Wood;
Thy Heavy Frame, Painfully Gave-way;
All Thy Limbs were Covered with Sores;
Thy Heart endured it Lovingly.
Lord, be Thy withering, a re-Blooming to me for ever. Thy Uneasy Leaning, my Spiritual Rest. Thy Giving-way, my Powerful Support. All Thy Wounds must Heal mine, and Thy Loving Heart, Inflame mine with Fervor.
First in Thy Mortal Agony, Thou wast Mocked with Scornful Words;
And with Contemptuous Gestures;
Thou wast Utterly Annihilated in their Hearts;
Thou didst continue under it Steadfast;
And didst Pray to Thy Father for them Lovingly;
Thou, the Innocent Lamb, wast Numbered with the Guilty;
Thou wast Condemned and Reviled by the Thief on Thy Left;
But wast Invoked by him on the Right;
Thou Forgavest the Latter all his Sins;
Thou didst Unlock for him the Gates of Paradise.
Beloved Lord! Teach me, Thy Servant, to Bear with Firmness, every Ignominious Word, every Scornful Gesture, and all sorts of Contempt, for Thy Sake, and Lovingly to Excuse my Enemies before Thee. Ah, Thou Infinite Good, behold, this day I Offer up, before the Eyes of Thy Heavenly Father, Thy Innocent Death for my Guilty Life. Lord, with the Thief, I cry out to Thee: Remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom! Condemn me not for my Evil Deeds, Forgive all my Sins, Undo for me the Gates of the Heavenly Paradise!
At that Hour, Thou wast Forsaken, for my Sake, of all Men;
Thy Friends had Renounced Thee;
Thou stoodst Naked, and Robbed of all Honor and Raiment;
Thy Power then seemed Overcome;
They treated Thee without Mercy, and Thou didst Bear it all, in Meekness and Silence;
Alas, for Thy Gentle Heart, Thou who alone didst know at that time, the Depth of Thy Mother's Sorrow of Heart;
And didst see her Deplorable State;
And didst hear her Lamentable Words;
And at Thy Mortal Separation, didst commend her to the Filial Piety of Thy Disciple;
And the Disciple to her Maternal Love.
Oh therefore, Thou Pattern of all Virtues, take away from me all Pernicious Love of Men, and all Inordinate Affection of Friends; strip me of all Impatience; give me Steadfastness against all Evil Spirits, and Meekness against all Violent Men. Give me, Gentle Lord, Thy Bitter Death in the Bottom of my Heart, in my Prayers, and in the Practice of Good Works. O Tender Lord, I commend myself this day to the True Fidelity and Care of Thy Pure Mother and Thy Beloved Disciple.
[Here say a Salve Regina or an Ave Maria.]
O Pure and Tender Mother, I shall remind thee today of the Infinite Sorrow of Heart which thou didst Endure. --
At the First Aspect of thy Dear Child, when thou didst see Him Suspended in Agony;
Thou couldst not then come to His Assistance;
Thou didst Gaze in Anguish of Heart, at thy Beloved Son, Expiring before thine eyes;
Thou didst Lament over Him with Great Lamentation;
And He Comforted thee very Kindly;
His Divine Words, Pierced thy Heart;
Thy Lamentable Gestures, Softened the Hard Hearts of the Jews;
Thy Maternal Arms and Hands, were most Reverentially lifted up;
But thy Sick Body, Sank Exhausted on the Ground;
Where thy Tender Mouth did Affectionately Kiss, His Fallen Blood.
Oh, then Mother of all Graces, watch over me like a Mother, for my Whole Life, and Graciously Shield me in the Hour of my Death. O Gentle Lady! Behold, that is the Hour, for the sake of which, I Desire to be thy Servant all my Days. That is the Dreadful Hour, which Frightens my Heart and Soul, for then there will be an End to Prayer and Supplication. Then shall I, Poor Wretch, not know to whom to turn. Therefore, thou Unfathomable Abyss of Divine Compassion, I Fall at thy Feet this day, with the Fervent Sighs of my Heart, that I may then be found Worthy of thy Joyous Presence. How should he ever Despond, or what can Injure him whom here, O Purest Mother, thou dost Protect? Ah, thou only Consolation, Defend me against the Terrible Looks of the Wicked Spirits, lend me Aid and Protection against the Hands of the Enemy! Hearken Consolingly to my Wretched Sighs, look kindly with the Eyes of thy Compassion, on my Ghastly and Enfeebled Frame. Reach me thy Beneficent Hands. Receive my Poor Soul. With thy Radiant Countenance, present it before the Severe Judge, and install it in Everlasting Bliss!
O Thou most Intimate Delight of the Heavenly Father!
How wast Thou Abandoned, at that Hour on the Cross, to every Pang of Bitter Death Exteriorly, and Robbed of all Sweetness and Solace Interiorly!
Thou didst Utter a Cry of Misery to Thy Father;
Thy Will, Thou didst Unite Wholly to His;
Thou didst Thirst Bodily by Reason-of Great Dryness!
Thou didst Thirst Spiritually by Reason of Great Love;
Thy Thirst was Bitterly Quenched;
And when all things were Fulfilled, Thou didst Exclaim: Consummatum est?
Thou wast Obedient unto Thy Father, even unto Death;
And Thou didst Commend Thy Spirit into His Fatherly Hands;
And then Thy Noble Soul separated from Thy Body.
Ah, Thou Loving Lord, in this Thy Love, I desire that Thou wouldst open Thy Fatherly Ears at all times to my Call, and give me in all things a Will United to Thine. Lord, Quench in me all Thirst after Bodily things; make me Thirst after Spiritual Goods. Sweet Lord, let Thy Bitter Drink change all my Afflictions into Sweetness. Grant me to Persevere in Perfect Thoughts and in Good Works until Death, and that I may never swerve from Thy Obedience. Eternal Wisdom, let my Spirit be Transferred from this day forth into Thy Hands, so that at its Final Departure, it may be Joyfully Received by Thee. Lord, grant me a Life, Pleasing in Thy Sight; a Death well prepared for; an End, made sure, by Thee. Lord, let Thy Bitter Death make Amends for, and Complete my Insufficient Works, so that at my Last Hours, Guilt and Punishment may be Wholly Effaced.
Ah, my Lord, remember,
How the Sharp Spear was Thrust into Thy Divine Side;
How the Purple Blood ran out;
How the Living Water gushed forth;
And with what Bitter Toil Thou didst Garner me up;
And how Generously Thou didst Ransom me;
Loving Lord! may Thy Deep Wounds, Shelter me from all my Enemies; Thy Living Water, Cleanse me from all my Sins; Thy Rose-colored Blood, Adorn me with all Graces and Virtues. Tender Lord! May the Praise Thou didst so Bitterly Win, bind me to Thee! The Ransom Thou didst so Freely Pay, Unite me Eternally with Thee. Oh, thou Chosen Consolation of all Sinners, Ho, thou Sweet Queen, remember today.
How thou didst stand under the Cross, and how, as thy Son Hung Dead above thee, thou didst cast on Him many a Look of Misery;
How Affectionately His Arms were Received by thee;
With what Fidelity, pressed to thy Blood-stained Face;
His Bleeding Wounds, His Dead and Ghastly Features, were by thee Kissed, again and again;
How many a Death-wound thy Heart then Received;
How many a Fervent Unfathomable Sigh, burst from thee;
How many Scalding Tears, thou didst shed;
Thy Miserable Words were so Full of Sorrow;
Thy most Gracious Figure was so Steeped in Affliction;
Thy Woeful Heart, was without Consolation from all Mankind.
Oh, Pure Lady, on this Account, forget not to be a Constant Protectress of my Whole Life, and my Faithful Guide. Turn thy Eyes, thy Mild Eyes, at all times, with Compassion on me. Watch over me like a Mother in every Temptation. Protect me Faithfully against my Enemies, Protect me beneath thy Tender Arms. Let thy Faithful Kissing of His Wounds, be to me as a Tender Reconciliation with Him; Let the Wounds of thy Heart, obtain for me a Cordial Repentance of my Sins; Thy Fervent Sighing, procure for me a Constant Yearning; and let thy Bitter Tears, Soften my Hard Heart; Be thy Lamentable Words, even as a Renunciation to me of all Voluptuous Speeches; Thy Weeping form as a casting away of all Dissolute Conduct; Thy Disconsolate Heart as a Despising of all Perishable Affections.
O, Thou Ravishing Brightness of Eternal Light, how art Thou at this Moment, when my Soul Embraces Thee under the Cross as Dead in Thy Sorrowful Mother's Lap, with Lamentations and Thanksgiving, how art Thou Utterly Extinguished! Extinguish in me the Burning Desire of all Vice.
O, Thou Pure Clear Mirror of the Divine Majesty, how art Thou Defiled for very Love of me! Wash out the Great Stains of my Evil Deeds.
O, Fair and Shining Image of the Fatherly Goodness, how Grievously Disfigured Thou art! Restore the Disfigured Image of my Soul.
O, Innocent Lamb, how Piteously art Thou Abased! Atone and Reform for me my Guilty Sinful Life.
O, King of all kings, O, Lord of all lords, Vouchsafe me, since my Soul embraces Thee with Sorrow and Lamentation in Thy Abasement, that it may be embraced by Thee with Joy in Thy Eternal Glory.
O, Pure Mother, Worthy of all love, remember today,
The Forlorn Condition in which thou foundest thyself when they tore thy Murdered Son from thy Breast;
Remember thy Separation-from Him;
Thy Faltering Steps;
Thy Heart, Sighing again for His Body;
The Constant Fidelity which thou alone didst Evince for Him in all His Woe till He was Laid in the Grave.
Obtain for me, from thy Tender Son, that in thy Sorrow, and His Sufferings, I may Subdue my own. Moreover, that I may shut myself up with Him, in His Sepulcher, from all Temporal Anxieties; that I may be Inspired with Disgust for all this World; that I may only Cherish a Perpetual Desire of Him, and may Persevere in His Praise and Service, to the Grave.