The Servant.--Lord, all has been explained to my heart's
satisfaction, except one thing. In truth, Lord, when a soul is
quite exhausted with yearning after Thee and the sweet caresses of
Thy presence, then, Lord, art Thou silent and sayest not a word. O
Lord! ought not this to grieve my heart, that Thou, my tender
Lord, Thou who art my only one love, and the sole desire of my
heart, shouldst yet behave Thyself so strangely, and in such a way
hold Thy peace?
Eternal Wisdom.--And yet do all creatures cry aloud to Me that it
The Servant.--O dear Lord! that is not enough for a languishing
Eternal Wisdom.--If every little word I utter is a little word of
love to their hearts, and every word of the Sacred Scriptures
written by Me is a sweet love-letter, as though I Myself had
written it, ought this not to be enough for them?
The Servant.--O Lord, Thou knowest well that to a loving heart
everything that is not its only love and its only consolation, is
insufficient. Lord, Thou art so very intimate, choice, and
fathomless a love; lo! if even all the tongues of all the angels
were to address me, love unfathomable would still pursue and
strive after Him alone whom it longs for. A loving soul would
still take Thee for the kingdom of heaven, for surely Thou art her
Alas! Lord, may I venture to say that Thou shouldst be a
little more favourable to such poor affectionate hearts as pine
and languish for Thee, as breathe out so many an unfathomable sigh
to Thee, as look up so yearningly to Thee, crying aloud from their
very hearts, Return to us, O Lord! and speaking and reasoning with
themselves thus: "Have we cause to think we have angered Him, and
that He will forsake us? Have we cause to think He will not give
us His loving presence back again, so that we may affectionately
embrace Him with the arms of our hearts, and press Him to our
bosoms till all our sorrow vanish? Lord, all this Thou knowest and
hearest, and yet Thou art silent!"
Eternal Wisdom.--I know it and see it with heart-felt eager joy.
But now, since thy wonder is so great, answer Me a question. What
is that which, of all things, gives the most delight to the
highest of created spirits?
The Servant.--Lord, I would fain learn this from Thee, for such a
question is too great for my understanding.
Eternal Wisdom.--Then I will tell Thee. Nothing tastes better to
the very highest angel than, in all things, to do My will; so that
if he knew that it would tend to My praise to root up nettles, and
other weeds it would be for him, of all things, the most desirable
The Servant.--Ah, Lord, how dost Thou strike home to me with this
question! For surely Thy meaning is, that I ought to keep myself
disengaged and serene in joy, and seek Thy praise alone, both in
sorrow and delight.
Eternal Wisdom.--A desertion above all desertion is to be deserted
The Servant.--Alas! Lord, but it is a very heavy woe.
Eternal Wisdom.--Where is virtue preserved except in adversity?
Yet know that I often come and ask for admission into my house,
and am denied. Often am I received like a poor pilgrim, and meanly
entertained, and speedily driven out. I come even to My beloved,
and fondly take up My abode with her, but this takes place so
secretly that it is totally hidden from all men, except those only
who live in entire seclusion, and perceive My ways, who are ever
careful to correspond to My graces. For in virtue of My divinity,
I am a perfectly pure essential spirit, and am spiritually
received into pure spirits.
The Servant.--Gentle Lord, methinks Thou art altogether a hidden
lover, therefore I desire Thou wouldst give me some signs of Thy
Eternal Wisdom.--In nothing canst thou discern My presence so well
as in this, namely, when I hide and withdraw Myself from the soul,
as not till then art thou capable of perceiving who I am or what
thou art. I am the Eternal Good, without which no one has any
good. When I, the Eternal Good, pour Myself out so graciously and
lovingly, everything into which I enter is made good. By this
goodness My presence is to be known even as is the sun by his
brightness, who, in his substance, is yet not to be seen. If ever
thou art sensible of Me, enter into thyself and learn to separate
the roses from the thorns, and to choose out the flowers from the
The Servant.--Lord, truly I seek and find in myself a great
inequality. When my soul is deserted, she is like a sick person
who can relish nothing; who is disgusted with everything; the body
is languid, the spirits are dull; dryness within, and sadness
without; all that I see and hear is then repugnant to me, and I
know not how good it is, for I have lost all discrimination.
I am then inclined to sin, weak in resisting my enemies, cold and
lukewarm in all that is good; he who visits me finds an empty
house, for the master, who gives wise counsel and makes all the
family glad at heart, is not within. But, Lord, when in the midst
of my soul the bright morning star rises, all my sorrow passes
away, all my darkness is scattered, and laughing cheerfulness
appears. Lord, then leaps my heart, then are my spirits gay, then
rejoices my soul, then is it my marriage feast, while all that is
in me or about me is turned to Thy praise.
What before was hard, troublesome, and impossible, becomes easy
and pleasant; fasting, watching, praying, self-denial, and every
sort of rigour, are made sweet by Thy presence. Then do I acquire
great assurance in many things, which, in my dereliction I had
lost; my soul is then overflowed with clearness, truth, and
sweetness, so that she forgets all her toil; my heart can sweetly
meditate, my tongue loftily discourse, and whoever seeks high
counsel from me touching his heart's desire finds it; for then I
am as though I had overstepped the bounds of time and space, and
stood in the ante-chamber of eternal salvation.
Alas, Lord! who will grant that it might only be of longer
duration, for behold, in a moment it is snatched away, and I am
again stripped and forsaken. Sometimes I pursue it as if I had
never gained it, till at last, after much sorrow and trouble of
heart, it comes back. Lord! art Thou this thing, or am I it, or
what is it?
Eternal Wisdom.--Thou art and hast of thyself nothing but
imperfection; I am it, and this is the game of love.
The Servant.--But, Lord, what is the game of love?
Eternal Wisdom.--All the time that love is with love, love does
not know how dear love is; but when love separates from love, then
only does love feel how dear love was.
The Servant.--Lord! this is a dreary game. Alas, Lord! is
inconstancy never cast aside in any one while time lasts?
Eternal Wisdom.--In very few persons, for constancy belongs to
The Servant.--Lord, who are these persons?
Eternal Wisdom.--The very purest of all, and in eternity the most
like to God.
The Servant.--Lord, which are they?
Eternal Wisdom.--They are those persons who have denied themselves
in the most perfect manner.
The Servant.--Gentle Lord, teach me how, in my imperfection, I
ought to behave in this manner.
Eternal Wisdom.--In good days thou oughtest to look at evil days,
and in evil days not to forget good days; thus can neither elation
injure thee in My company nor despondency in dereliction. If, in
thy faintheartedness, thou canst not endure My absence with
pleasure, wait for Me at least with patience, and seek Me
The Servant.--O Lord, long waiting is painful.
Eternal Wisdom.--He who will needs have love in time, must know
how to bear weal and woe. It is not enough to devote to Me only a
portion of the day. He who would enjoy God's intimacy, who would
hear His mysterious words, and mark their secret meaning, ought
always to keep within doors.
Alas! how is it that thou always permittest thy eyes to wander so thoughtlessly around, when thou
hast standing before thee the Blessed and Eternal Image of the
Godhead which never for a moment turns away from thee? Why dost
thou let thy ears escape from thee when I address thee so many a
sweet word? How is it that thou so readily forgettest thyself when
thou art so perfectly encompassed with the eternal good? What is
it thy soul seeks in exterior things who carries within
herself so secretly the kingdom of heaven?
The Servant.--What is the kingdom of heaven, O Lord, which is in
Eternal Wisdom.--It is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the
The Servant.--Lord, I understand from this discourse, that Thou
hast much hidden intercourse with the soul, which is wholly hidden
from her, and that Thou dost secretly attract the soul, and dost
leisurely initiate her into the love and knowledge of Thy high
divinity, her who at first was only concerned with Thy fair