The Servant.--Another thing, Lord, I have at my heart: may I
venture to tell it Thee? May I indeed venture to dispute with Thee
like holy Jeremias? Gentle Lord, people say as follows: that how
sweet soever Thy love may be, Thou dost yet allow it to prove very
harsh to Thy friends in the many severe trials which Thou sendest
them, such as worldly scorn and much adversity, both inwardly and
Scarcely is any one, say they, admitted to Thy friendship, but he
has forthwith to gather up his courage for suffering. Lord, by Thy
goodness! what sweetness can they have in all this? Or how canst
Thou permit it in Thy friends? Or art Thou pleased not to know
anything about it?
Eternal Wisdom.--Even as My Father loves Me, so do I love My
friends. I do to My friends now as I have done from the beginning
of the world.
The Servant.--This is what they complain of; and therefore, say
they, Thou hast so few friends because Thou allowest them to
prosper in this world so very sorrily. Lord, on this account there
are also indeed many who, when they gain Thy friendship, and ought
to prove constant in suffering, fall off from Thee; and (woe is
me! that I must say it in sorrow of heart, and with bitter tears)
relapse to that state which, through Thee, they had forsaken. O my
Lord, what hast Thou to say to this?
Eternal Wisdom.--This is the complaint of persons of a sick faith
and of small works, of a lukewarm life, and undisciplined spirit.
But thou, beloved soul, up with thy mind out of the slime and deep
slough of carnal delights! Unlock thy interior sense, open thy
spiritual eyes and see. Mark well what thou art, where thou art,
and whither thou dost belong; for then shalt thou understand that
I do the very best for My friends.
According to thy natural
essence thou art a mirror of the Divinity, thou art an image of
the Trinity, and a copy of eternity; for as I, in My eternal
uncreated entity, am the good which is infinite, so art thou
according to thy desires, fathomless, and as little as a small
drop can yield in the vast depth of the sea, just so little can
all that this world is able to afford contribute to the fulfillment of thy desires. Thus, then, art thou in this wretched
valley of tears, where joy and sorrow, laughing and weeping, mirth
and sadness, are mingled together; where no heart ever obtained
perfect happiness; for it is false and deceitful, more than I will
tell thee. It promises much and performs little; it is short,
uncertain, and changeable; today much joy, tomorrow a heart full
of woe. Behold, such is the disport of this scene of time!