Beatrice of Nazareth

Beatrix

“It happens sometimes that a sweet and joyful love is awakened in the heart and swells like a great wave through the soul by itself without any effort at all on our part. One is so powerfully moved by love, so passionately drawn up into love, so strongly taken by love, so tenderly embraced and utterly mastered by love that she surrenders herself entirely to its power. In this embrace the soul experiences directly the radiance of the Divine, a wonderful bliss, pure freedom, ecstatic sweetness, complete overpowering by love, a waterfall of ineffable delight. She feels that all her senses are sacred and she is so totally engulfed by love and so deeply immersed in love that she is one with love, and will never cease to be love. For the beauty of love has clothed her, the power of love has submerged her, the holiness of love has consumed her, the greatness of love has so sublimely drawn her into herself that she will always love and do nothing but acts of love.”

Blessed Beatrice of Nazareth or in Dutch Beatrijs van Nazareth (1200 in Tienen – 1268) was a Flemish Cistercian nun. She was the very first prose writer using an early Dutch language, a mystic, and the author of the notable Dutch prose dissertation known as the Seven Ways of Holy Love. She was also the first prioress of the Abbey of Our Lady of Nazareth in Nazareth near Lier in Brabant.

Most of what we know of Beatrice of Nazareth’s life comes from church records and the document Vita Beatricis, and from her own work The Seven Ways of Holy Love (Seven Manieren van Heilige Minnen). The latter is a work of early mystic literature that describes seven stages of love, as it is purified and transformed, before it can return to God. It has a simple and balanced prose style. The biography of Beatrice’s life was said to be written by an anonymous cleric from an order of cistercian monks in the latter part of the thirteenth century. The author never met Beatrice, but instead relied on some interesting sources to write the manuscript including eyewitness accounts from those that had known her. Two such sources include Beatrice’s sister Christine as well as the lady herself. Indeed, the manuscript affirms that Beatrice authored most of her own Vita by way of her journal; the monk who penned, it a translator of the work rather than author. The original book still resides in The Abbey of Nazareth near Lier, in Belgium.

Beatrice was the youngest of six children. She was educated at home by her mother until Beatrice was seven years old; it was then her mother passed away. Shortly thereafter her father, Batholomew of Tienen, sent Beatrice to live in a Beguines community nearby in the town of Zoutleeuw. It is recorded that she became quite happy here; the Vita Beatricis states “She never gave even her own parents as much love as she gave her companions at that time. She herself could beloved no less in return by them”. Beatrice continued her education there, enrolling into the Zoutleeuw town school. For its time the Zoutleeuw school was rather progressive, with mixed age and gender classes and a liberal arts curriculum. The Vita expresses that Beatrice was somewhat of a loner among her peers. She poured herself into her studies rather than social and romantic relationships and intentionally kept distance from boys and flirting.

The Benguine communities of the middle ages offered a unique option to women of the time. Then, a woman remained with her father until marriage, when she became the responsibility of her husband. Outside of marriage the medieval woman had little as far as options. Generally she would enter into a monastery. This lifestyle allowed a communal living environment which was much preferred to a solitary life. In a monastery women were also given the opportunity of education with their vows and many scholars, philosophers, and women of high intellect were drawn to this lifestyle for these benefit.

In the twelfth century however, Benguine communities began to appear. Some speculate this was due to warring crusades taking the lives of young men, thereby thinning the potential husband. Benguines were similar to monasteries in communal function, however unlike a monastery they did not take holy vows. They enjoyed some special privileges usually reserved for approved orders of nuns because even though not consecrated, they had devoted their lives to good works, prayer and education. This sort of arrangement was accepted by the church due to their piety, although this changed later in the century and after when Benguine communities were ostracized and some even persecuted.

After about a year Beatrice returned home to be with family. It was then she expressed her desire to devote her life to God and enter a monastery. Her father obliged by taking her to Florival or Bloemendaal, a Cistercian monastery, where she quickly became an oblate. An oblate essentially is the title given when one wanted to devote themselves to the order but were too young to take formal vows or training, or when a woman wanted to “test the waters” so to speak. It would be akin to an internship today.

Cistercians were an especially pious and industrial order. They lived a life strictly by the Rules of Saint Benedict. These rules included things like the nuns were not allowed ownership of any material things ever, and they had to devote their lives to their abbey to build a stable and strong community. There were daily services and devotions right along with long hours of manual labor, often farming and agriculture and similar necessary practices. They were allotted 8 hours of sleep and the working day was divided into equal portions. This system was designed to balance prayer, work and study with roughly five hours of each daily. Rules were strict and punishment for disobedience was as well. These self-sufficient communities interestingly enough put more focus on learning in order to provide education to others rather than for educations sake alone. Many manuscripts were thought to be copied and memorized by the sisters not for their own learning but for production of materials for others.

Beatrice, totally loving it, stayed an oblate at Florival or Bloemendaal for about five years before she asked to become a novice. At first she was denied both for her young age and lack of funds for materials and expenses. She persisted in asking and they finally gave in. They put her on “probation” for a period of one year and at the age of 16 she made her profession of faith to officially become a novice nun. The head abbess sent her to Rameya to learn how to write manuscripts and choir books shortly thereafter.

When living in Rameya Beatrice met and befriended Ida of Nivelles, another Cisterian nun who was well-respected and known in the community despite her being only three years older than Beatrice herself. Ida would play an integral role in Beatrice’s spiritual development, they became fast friends. She announced she had received a message from the holy spirit that Beatrice would be lifted up by the lord and chosen as his faithful spouse. This was around Christmas 1216. Beatrice waited for her spiritual rapture but it did not come on Christmas as Ida had predicted, much to Beatrice’s dismay. Instead it was later in January of 1217 that Beatrice had her first mystical experience.

She was singing at the end of compline, which is the last service of the day, when it happened. Onlookers later said that she appeared to be sleeping. Beatrice recalls a vision of following Jesus Christ up through different levels and layers of heaven. She ascended with him up into the presence of God and yet still ascended higher. This was a very shocking revelation as it implied something higher than their lord. Above God Beatrice saw “in an ecstasy of mind” the Holy Trinity. According to the Vita the vision was seen “not with bodily but with intellectual eyes, with eyes not of the flesh but of the mind”. One of the nuns that thought she was sleeping woke her up and immediately Beatrice burst into tears.

After this vision Beatrice was in a prolonged state of gnosis and ecstatic emotion. There is recorded two signs or “miracles” resulting from it. She was brought to the dormitory to rest after her ordeal and became sick. She overcame her sickness and cured herself by crying. And the second starts with her laughing in gratitude loudly. This was immodest at the time, so while she was overtaken with this expression she was also ashamed of her behavior. She wished during this ecstatic bout of laughter to hide from the other sisters. Suddenly the lamp lighting the dorm fell to the ground and went out, effectively “hiding” her. The nuns at the monastery basically decided to give her lots of space during this time period.

Beatrice’s tears are mentioned several times throughout the Vita, highlighting their importance. It was as if her Love increased with her longing for what she thought of as her God. Indeed she could not reach again the heights ascended to in her vision yet purposed her life to this end. This symbiotic relationship of emotion lead to a unique outcome wherein her greatest despair was also her greatest strength. Her heights and experiences of Love increased both her happiness and sorrow equally. This serves as an interesting point of transmutation, effectively transforming Beatrice into a walking, talking, human philosopher’s stone.

This Miracle of tears in Beatrice’s case is considered a spiritual miracle, and not a corporeal one. It is not ranked of less importance in the church, rather these sorts of miracles are seen as a fundamental goal that religious devotion strives to reach for the individual. When most people hear the mention of miracles they think of healing the sick or apparitions or stigmata or any type of physically verifiable unexplained phenomenon. Spiritual miracles in contrast are weighted not only by the intensity of the event itself but even more heavily so on the long term effects a miracle has on the recipients life and behaviors.

Not long after her vision Beatrice returned to Florival Bloemendaal, the monastery where she first became an oblate. She quickly garnered respect and esteem in her community due to her devotion and passion for Christ. Beatrice became uncomfortable with the approbation of her peers, thinking they would cause her vanity and hence a fall from grace. To remedy this she decided to essentially slack off, making herself look less devout and marking her reputation. She figured the punishments she would endure according to her tradition and the displeasure or “let down” of her superiors and peers would be a more holy choice than to be continued to be admired. This behavior backfired however, with her faux irreverence turning into legitimate spiritual “sloth”, including neglecting confession and Eucharist.

This period seems akin to what some think of as “Dark Night of The Soul”. While Beatrice may have subscribed to a particular religious system the effects of spiritual growth, divine revelation and/or personal realization, is the same as what is still experienced by people today. She reached out to her friend Ida during this rough time of her life, who urged her to go to confession and take Eucharist. It was the intervention of an unnamed nun that eventually got Beatrice out of her funk. This nun was said to have been “divinely inspired” and urged Beatrice to take the Eucharist even without confession. When she did Beatrice was immediately brought to tears; awakened to the reality of her situation.

Roughly four years later in 1221 Beatrice moved to Maagdendal, which was a “daughter house” to Florival Bloemendaal, meaning that they shared doctrine, management and resources. It was here she partook of the ritual consecratio virginum, or the consecration as a virgin. While due to tradition this was a literal title for Beatrice, the ceremony itself is not to do with sexual virginity. The ritual has several different stages. Of these include a vow of chastity, an act of humility, invocation of the saints and angels, and the official consecration by a bishop or higher ranking Church official.

In 1235 Beatrice’s father Bartholomew decided he wanted to build another monastery. There is some difference in historical opinion as to the role that he played in the three monasteries Beatrice served in. Some sources only mention him in a financial administrative role in all three communities. He is mentioned several times in the Vita as well as other records as being the main benefactor in establishing both Florival, then Maagdendal. The third monastery he would be credited for founding was Nazareth. Beatrice’s two sisters Christine and Sybille joined the monastic life at Florival Bloemendaal in 1215. Her older brother joined the Praemonstratensian Order nearby which was a community of monks with Cisterian ideals and methods including communal work and sufficiency. Her father would go forward with building Nazareth by purchasing the land with her other brother Wicbert. Indeed the holy life was a family affair.

The first plot of land for Nazareth was purchased in 1235 ended up being too swampy to successfully build on. It wasn’t until ten years later in 1245 that the abbey was completed in a different location. During the building period Beatrice busied herself with producing choir books and other documents that would be needed for the community. During this process her blood sisters moved to Nazareth to help. It was not long before the activity attracted girls from the surrounding neighborhoods. Beatrice was in charge of teaching them as they joined the community. When Nazareth was accepted into the Cisterian order Beatrice was elected as prioress of the abbey, in charge of overseeing its development and day to day activities.

Much like in her past Beatrice disliked being the center of praise and veneration. She found it difficult to accept that others held her in such high esteem when she in fact thought herself vile. Having her divine vision years ago set a pretty high bar to what she considered worthy of praise. Unlike previous times in her life however, Beatrice rose to the occasion and did well in her position both in the community without sacrificing her personal spiritual growth. Unlike last time she did not allow her being uncomfortable to dissuade her from her devotion. She continued to attend mass daily, give confession and partake in the Eucharist along with some more extreme examples such as wearing a girdle of thorns or compressing her body with cords as acts of religious austerity. Beatrice served her abbey well for thirty years up until her death on August 29th, 1268. She never lost that fire in her heart.

The record of her death reads:

“On 29 August 1268, anointed with the oil of the Extreme Unction and fortified beforehand with the viaticum of the life-giving Sacrament, Beatrice gladly surrendered her blessed spirit into the arms of her spouse whom we presume no one doubts to have been present.”

Sources include: http://madqueen.org/blog/beatrice-of-nazareth/

ON SEVEN WAYS OF HOLY LOVE (1236)

By Beatrix of Nazareth (1200 – 1268)

Translated by Wim van den Dungen from Medieval & Modern Dutch to English (1993, 1997, 1998, 2006)

From the highest come seven ways of love which work back to the highest.

The first is a desire actively originating from love. Long has this desire to rule in the heart before she can dispel every resistance thoroughly, and she cannot but work with strength and intelligence, and courageously grow in this.

This first way is a desire that most certainly originates from love, for the good soul that wants to follow faithfully and wants to love durably is being drawn on by the craving for this desire -to be loved and to be guarded most strongly- in order to exist in purity and freedom and nobility in which she is made by her creator, after His image and to His resemblance.

In this way she desires to pass her whole life, and to work on this and to grow in this and to rise to ever higher excellence in love, more connected through knowledge of God, until the completion for which she is equipped and is called by God.

Sooner or later this is her aim, and that is why she is fully engaged. This explains her questions and her desire for knowledge and her prayer to God. And her thoughts about how she can reach this and how she can receive the nearness to the equality with love, in the full glory of the virtues, and in the complete purity of the nobility of love, which has been recovered in her.

This soul often seriously examines what she only is, and what she should be, what she had, and what her desire nevertheless lacks. With all her seriousness, and with an always bigger desire, and with all the intelligence she has, she exerts to guard against and to shun what can hinder and prevent her from making progress in love. So she exerts to draw towards her and to keep everything which can help her and can bring her to love. And never rests the heart or does it subside from searching, demanding and learning.

This is the highest concern of the soul placed in this situation. A soul that has to work in it and has to drudge in it, until the moment that through her seriousness and through her loyalty she obtains from God that from now on she can serve love for ever without impediment from the past, with a free consciousness and with pure spirit and a clear mind.

For certain, such a way of desire of such a great purity and nobility originates from love and not out of fear. Because fear makes one suffer, to do and to let for fear of the anger of our Lord and the judgement of the righteous judge, or for fear of eternal revenge, or for fear of transitory calamity.

But in her work however love only strives for purity and excellence, and the highest nobility, which are all part of her own being.

And to them who dedicate themselves to her, she teaches to live like this.

The other way of love.

Now and then the soul has another way of love. Then she serves the Lord for nothing, only from love, without any why and without any reward of mercy or of bliss.

And exactly as a noble lady serves her Lord out of great love and without reward, and who takes please in being allowed to serve Him, and that He permits her to serve Him, in this way she desires to serve love with love, without measure and beyond measure and surpassing beyond every human idea and reason, with all the servitude inherent to loyalty.

In here, she is so burning in her desire, so prepared to service, so light in drudging, so soft in misfortune, so happy in sadness ; and with all she is, she desires to give Him great pleasure.

And so she finds pleasure in being able to do something, and to be of help and to be of use to love and to honor Him.

The third way of love.

Sometimes the good soul has another way of love connected to much pain and misery. It comes to this that she desires to answer love fully, and to follow her in all homage and in all service, obedience and subservience.

This desire is sometimes being brought about violently in the soul, and then she has the firm intention to literally do all the work with strong desire and set off with suffering, to permit and to bear everything, and to advance without sparing herself and without measure with all her work in love. In this way she is prepared to every service, and ready and fearless to drudge and to suffer pain ; nevertheless she stays unsatisfied in everything she does. But above all it is for her the heaviest pain, that in relation to her great desire she cannot do enough for love, and that in love so much is being kept from her.

She knows all right that this is superhuman work, and that is goes beyond all her power to do this, because what she desires -that which is impossible and unreal for every being- is that she alone would like to do as much as all human beings from the earth together, and as much as all spirits of the kingdom of heaven and as much as all the beings above and below and countless many more, to serve love, to love her, and to honor her according to her dignity.

And no matter how much she is failing in her work, she still wants to realize it with all her dedication and with strong desire. But all this cannot satisfy her.

She knows all right that this desire is only to fulfil far above her power and above human reason and above every notion; yet she cannot moderate this desire, or conquer, or quiet.

She does everything she can; she thanks and praises love, she works and drudges because of love, she sighing desires love, she gives herself completely to love. And all that does not give her peace.

It is for her a heavy pain that she has to desire that what she cannot obtain and so she has to stay in the misery of her heart and remain in her dissatisfaction.

Thus it is for her as if she dies though living, and dying feels the heavy pain of hell, and her whole life is hellish and merciless and displeasure because of the fright of the terrifying desire that she cannot satisfy or put to silence or quiet down.

In heavy pain she has to stay, until the moment that our Lord consoles her and places her in another way of love and of desire, in an ever bigger knowledge of Him. Then she has to work according to what is been given to her by our Lord.

The fourth way of love.

Our Lord is used to give us yet another way of love, sometimes in great delight, sometimes in great pains, and about these we want to speak now.

It happens that love is sweetly been awakened in the soul and happily raises, and that she moves in the heart, without any help of human effort.

And so the heart is been tenderly touched by love, and so full of strong desire been pulled inside love, and so hearty seized by love, and so strongly dominated by love, and so lovely contained by love, that she is completely conquered by love.

In this she experiences a strong bond with God, a spiritual clearness, a wonderful salvation, a noble freedom, a delightful sweetness, a great superior power of strong love, and an abundant fullness of great joy. Then she experiences that all her senses are one in the grip of love and that her will has become love, and that she is so deeply plunged and absorbed in the abyss of love, and that she has become love completely.

The beauty of love has eaten her. The power of love has consumed her. The sweetness of love has plunged her into nothingness. The greatness of love has absorbed her.

The nobility of love has embraced her. The purity of love has let her reach the highest development. The sublimity of love has pulled her up and has owned her one in such a way, that she has to be completely of love, and that she cannot but live with love.

If she experiences herself in this way in this abundance of salvation, and in this complete and great fullness of heart, then her mind plunges completely in love, and her body escapes, and her heart melts away and all her power becomes useless.

She is so much conquered by love that she hardly can control herself, and that often she has no power anymore of her limbs and senses.

And like a barrel full to the brim overflows and floods immediately when one stirs in it, she is suddenly violently been stirred and completely conquered by the great fullness of her heart and even so that in spite of herself she has to break out often.

At the same time it also happens, as the fifth way of love, that love is being awakened strongly, and raises overpowering with great impetuosity and with great passion, as if she wanted to break the heart of the soul by force, and tear the soul out and above herself in the purging of and the failing in love.

She is also strongly been moved to bring about the great tasks of the work of love or to realize the different orders of love.

Or she desires to rest in the sweet embraces of love, in the desirable beatitude and in the satisfaction of what she has from Him. Her heart and her senses seriously look for it and ardently desire for it. In this state she is so powerful of mind, very undertaking of heart and strong of body, so fast in working and busy inside and outside, that it seems to her as if everything that has to do with her works and is busy, even if she is so calm from the outside.

With this she feels a strong sadness inside and a great tensed expectation about love and many vicissitudes in desire, and manifold misery of deep dissatisfaction. Or she experiences the anguish of the soul by the great feeling of love itself, without any why or because she is extremely demanding in the light of the desire for love, or because she is dissatisfied about the absence of love.

With all this, love becomes so immoderate and -like she burns there so strong and so furious in the heart- she breaks out in the soul in such a way, that it seems to her that her heart is repeatedly being painfully wounded, and that these wounds are being daily renewed and being made more painful by even more painful misery and new emotional pains. It seems to her as if her veins break open, and her blood is being heated, and her marrow pines away, and her legs weaken and her chest scorches, and her throat dries up so that her face and all her limbs take part in the heat inside, take part in this primal rage of love. Then she feels an arrow going through her heart until her throat, and on o the brain, as if she would lose her senses.

And like a devouring fire that draws everything towards itself and consumes what it can destroy, thus she feels that love ardently rages in her, without saving her and without measure, and that she takes and consumes everything. By this she is being hurt heavily and her heart is weakened very much and all her strength is nullified.

But strictly speaking her soul is strengthened, and her love is cherished and her mind is kept in suspense. For love is so much elevated above apprehensiveness, that the soul by her own power cannot acquire unity with her.

Sometimes she wants to break with all the misery of the soul and tear loose from the unity with love. But the alliance with love has her so much in its grip and she is completely overcome by the excess of love that she cannot hold a reasonable measure anymore or render an account in a rational way, or restrain herself moderately, or to be able to stay herself wisely.

The more she is been given from above, the more she asks, and the more is being told to her, the more the desire grows to approach with desire the light of truth and purity, of nobility and the pleasure of love. Always again she is being pulled and more and more excited and nothing contents or satisfies her. What heals her most and cures her wounds, only that gives her health.

The sixth love :

When the bride of our Lord has made progress and has climbed up to greater salvation, she experiences yet another way of love, closely connected and with higher knowledge.

She feels that love has conquered all resistance in her, and that she has recovered all shortcomings and has brought her into her power. Without resistance she has mastered herself, so that she knows her heart is safe and she can use it in peace and she can freely lay herself out.

In this situation all things seem small to her, easy to do or to leave, to allow and to bear light, like it belongs to the dignity of love.

Then it is pleasant for her to practice in love. Then she also experiences a Divine power and a clear purity and a spiritual sweetness and a desirable freedom and a distinct wisdom and a calm accessibility towards God.

And then she is like a housewife who has well taken care of her house. Who has furnished it in a clever way and who has put it in order nicely. Who protects it wisely, who guards it cleverly, and who works according to plan. She brings inside and outside. She does and leaves everything according to her will.

With the soul it is likewise: love rules enormously in her, works powerfully and rests in her, does and leaves, internally and externally, and all that according to her will. Just like a fish swims in the wideness of the sea, and rests in the depth, or a bird that flies in the space of the height of the air, so she feels her mind go about unrestrained in the depth, space and height of love.

This superior power of love has drawn the soul and has accompanied, guarded and protected it. She has given her the intellect and the wisdom, the sweetness and the strength of love. Yet she has hidden her violence for the soul until she has climbed up to a greater highness and has become completely free of herself, and until love rules with more strength in her.

Then love makes her so strong and so free that she does not consider human or devil, no angel or saint, not God Himself in her doings, in her work or her rest.

She knows very well that love is in her, completely awake and as strongly working in the rest of the body as in the abundance of work. She knows very well and notices that love is not situated in the drudging and sweating of those in whom she reigns sovereignly.

But all who want to come to love, have to look for her with awe, have to follow her loyally and have to practice her with strong desire. They do not succeed if they save themselves much labor and effort and undergoing inconveniences. And all small things they have to esteem highly until the moment that they are ready that love is going to rule inside them, through which loves becomes sovereign with superior power and makes all things small and softens all drudging, and makes every effort sweet, and pays all debts.

This is freedom from conscience and sweetness of heart, and purity of morals and heart, and nobility of the soul, and sublimity of the mind and principle of eternal life.

The soul already lives as an angel on earth, and after that follows eternal life, that God in His goodness may give to us all …

<Amen>

(Did this text at first end here? The seventh way was probably composed much later.)

The seventh way of love :

The blessed soul still has a more sublime way of love that gives her not little to do inside. She is being pulled above the human measure of love, above senses and reason, higher than everything of which our heart is capable of on its own.

Only with love of eternity itself she is pulled into the eternity of love, into the insusceptible wisdom and the silent highness, into the deep abyss of the Deity, who is everything in everything that exists, insusceptible, elevated above everything, imperishable, almighty, all-embracing, and who acts all-ruling in everything that exists.

So profound is she here sunk in love and so strong is she pulled by her desire, that her heart is moved strongly and is restless inside, so that her soul flows out and melts of love, and her mind is ardently connected to a strong desire.

All her senses set themselves to the fact that she may live in the pleasure of love. Persevering she desires this from God and with her entire heart she requests God for this.

This she must desire a lot, because love does not let her calm down or recuperate. No quiet life! Love elevates her and depresses her, puts her suddenly to the test and again torments her. She brings death and gives life, she makes healthy and hurts again. She makes insane and then again wise.

Thus she lifts her up to a higher being. In this way she has climbed up spiritually, above temporality and to the eternity of love, which is timeless. Above the human forms of love and above her own nature she is lifted by the desire to live above.

There is her being and her will, her desire and love of the certain truth, the pure clarity, the noble highness, the luxurious beauty and the sweet company of the highest spirits who are all filled with abundant love, and who in clear acknowledgement are in the possession and the pleasure of their love.

Then she desires to stay there among the spirits and most among the blazing seraphs. In the sublime Deity and Trinity she finds her lovely resting-place and her joyful house.

She looks for Him into His majesty. She follows Him there and sees Him with her heart and her mind. She knows Him and loves Him and desires Him so much, that she can respect no saints, no human beings, no angels or creatures, unless with the same love by which she love everything through Him. Him alone she has chosen in love, above and under and in all the rest.

With everything of desire her heart could bring in, and with the whole strength of her mind, she longs to see Him, and to possess and to enjoy.

Therefore the earth is a great misery for her, and a tough prison and a heavy sorrow. She disdains the world. The earth has become a burden to her and what belongs to the earth cannot satisfy or content her. It is a great pain for her that she has to be so distant and well seems a stranger.

Her misery she cannot forget, her desire cannot be stilled, her longing harasses her miserably, and by this she is exceedingly and without mercy harassed and tormented. Therefore she lives in a great longing and in a strong desire to be freed from this misery and to be dissolved from this body. Then she says with a sad heart, like the apostles : “Cupio dissolvi et esse sum Christo”, i.e. “I long to be dissolved and to be united with Christ.”

Not out of sadness for today or out of pain for future grief but only out of holy and eternal love she desires eagerly, languorous and full of desire to go to the landscape of eternity, in the glory of pleasure.

This desire is great and strong in her, and her unbearable situation is heavy and tough, and the pain that she had because of desire is infinitely great.

Nevertheless, she has to live in hope, and it is precisely this which makes her yearn for and languish.

Oh, holy desire of love, how strong is your power in the loving soul ! It is a heavenly passion, a sharp torture, a long sorrow, a treacherous death, a dying life !

Up there she still cannot come and here below she has neither rest or duration. The thought of Him she cannot bear anymore because of desire, and to lack Him is a torture because of her desire. Thus she has to live with great discomfort.

Therefore she cannot and does not want to be consoled, like the prophet says : “Renuit consolare animam meam”, i.e. “My soul does not want to be consoled.”

In that way she rejects each consolation by God Himself or by His creatures. For the pleasure that this can give her, gives love new strength. It thrusts her desire to new heights and renews her desire to devote herself to love, to enjoy love and to bear her exile without any pleasure.

Thus she remains unsatiated and unsatisfied, despite all gifts, because she still has to miss the presence of her love.

This is a very heavy life, because she does not want to be consoled if she has not acquired what she seeks so restless.

Love has dragged her on and has led her and taught her to go her way. This she has followed faithfully, often with a lot of trouble and effort, in great spiritual powerlessness, with strong desire, with a lot of impatience, in great unrest, in weal and woe, with much grief, in searching and asking, in miss and possession, in growing and falling certainty, in imitation and desire, in worries and fear, in languishing and depraving. With much faithfulness and unfaithfulness she is ready for everything in joys and sorrows. Dead or alive she wants to belong to love. And in her earnest heart she suffers.

Because of love she wants to deserve the kingdom of heaven. If she is tested here in all misery, then her refuge is there in all glory. Because that is precisely where the work of love lies, that she desires the nearby creature, and that she pursues that nearness the most in which she can love the most. Therefore she always wants to follow love, experience love and enjoy love, and this cannot happen to her in this misery.

To go to her own country, where she has founded her house and in which she rests with love and with desire ! All hinder taken away, she is lovely received by love ! There, she will at last behold what she has so tenderly loved, and she shall possess for eternity the One she has served so loyally. She shall enjoy with happiness the One she has so often embraced with love in her soul.

There, she shall enter happily, like St.Augustine says it : “Qui in Te intrat in gaudium Domini sui”, i.e. “O Lord, who enters in You, he enters in the joy of his Lord.” There, fear has no place. For there, she shall possess Him in the best way in the best of all.

There, the soul is with her Groom and she becomes totally one spirit with Him, in inseparable loyalty and in mutual love for ever. The soul that, in times of mercy, wanted to do everything for Him shall enjoy Him in eternal glory, where one shall do nothing else but praise and love. May God bring us all to that.

Amen.

Source: http://www.sofiatopia.org/equiaeon/7ways.htm

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About Bob OHearn

My name is Bob O'Hearn, and I live with my Beloved Mate, Mazie, and our lazy dog, Amos, in a lovely little mountain town called Paradise, situated on the ridge of the Little Grand Canyon, in the Northern California Sierra Nevadas. I have several other sites you may enjoy: Photo Gallery: http://www.pbase.com/1heart Essays on the Conscious Process: http://theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com/ Poetry and Prosetry: http://feelingtoinfinity.wordpress.com/ Writings from selected Western Mystics, Classic and Modern: https://westernmystics.wordpress.com/ Free Transliterations of Spiritual Texts: http://freetransliterations1.blogspot.com/ Wisdom of a Spirit Guide: https://spiritguidesparrow.wordpress.com/ Thank You!
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