THE THIRD BOOK:
ADMONITIONS USEFUL TO IMITATE THE MOST SACRED HEART
OF JESUS IN HIS LIFE OF SUFFERING
CHAPTER XXI. HOW GREAT A TENDERNESS OF HEART JESUS MANIFESTED TOWARD US,
WHEN HE HAVE US HIS OWN MOTHER AS OUR MOTHER
1. The voice of Jesus.-----Behold! My Child, there stood beneath the Cross the Virgin Mary, My Mother, whom neither affliction of Heart, nor the insults of the crowd, nor the cruelty of the torturers, nor the danger of death, were able to part from Me.
For she was prepared in her Heart, either to die in My presence or, to be present while I was dying.
There also stood the Disciple, who, by the innocence of his life, was most endeared to Me; and who, at the last Supper, reposing upon My Breast, inebriated himself with the love of My Heart.
When I saw My Virgin Mother and the Virgin Disciple, whom My Heart loved, looking upon My Mother, I said: Woman, behold thy son. Then to the Disciple, as to the one representing them all: Behold thy Mother. And from that hour the Disciple took her as a Mother.
2. Behold then, My Child, at what time men were incessantly heaping new and more cruel torments upon Me; where the malice of the human heart overflowed, there more than overflowed the love of My Heart. When about to expire and to go away into My kingdom, I did not wish to leave My Disciples orphans, but, in My love, I resolved to give them a Mother, the best of all mothers, My Own Mother herself.
Nay, more, on account of the eminent dignity of My Mother, and My perfect love for her, it was becoming that I should manifest every solicitude and every care for her; that I should provide for her the honor and love which are her due.
For this it was befitting, that, always and everywhere, I and she, being known together, should also be loved together.
And, indeed, even from the beginning of the world, when God promised Me as a Saviour to man groaning beneath the tyranny of the infernal serpent, He promised also My Mother. This Divine promise, so full of all consolation, spread among the whole posterity of the first man, and ever continued to be cherished with a religious reverence. For, although it was obscured among the nations, it was preserved always unchanged among the people of God: and from time to time it was renewed through the Prophets, and unfolded the more clearly, the more nearly the fullness of time was at hand, when God would send His Own Son, to be born of the Virgin.
Wherefore, My Child, those Whom from eternity, in the counsels of His mercy, God had joined together, Whom He had promised together; Them also were men expecting, for Them together they were longing. For, as often as they did exclaim with a sigh to My Father in Heaven: Distill dew, ye heavens, from above; and let the clouds rain down the Just! so often they sighed for My future Mother: Let the earth be opened, and bud forth the Saviour!
3. When, at length, I came into the world as the Saviour, behold! I was seen with My Virgin Mother. From the time I possessed a created Heart, this Heart was inseparably united to the Heart of My Mother.
I ever honored and loved the Virgin, in a manner worthy of her-----as My Mother; and she, in return, honored and loved Me, not only as her Son, but also worshiped and cherished Me as her God.
There is no created being upon earth, nor in Heaven, that has honored and loved Me, that has worshiped and cherished Me as much as My Virgin Mother. She by herself, she alone, by her worship and love, has incomparably surpassed and excelled all the Saints and Angels together.
Nor is there anywhere a Heart, which is so much united, so acceptable to My Heart, as is the Heart of My Virgin Mother.
And should not I honor, should not I love such a Mother? And should not I wish to see her honored and loved always and everywhere? Is it thus My Heart is known?
4. Verily, verily, I say, wheresoever the Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, it will be said: That My Mother has done these things for Me, and that I have been subject to her. Nay, even to the end of time, wheresoever I will be worshiped and loved as a Saviour, there shall Mary be honored and loved as a Mother.
Moreover, in whatsoever place My Religion shall exist, it will ennoble the mind of man, and elevate the condition of woman.
For whence, thinkest thou, has there arisen in the mind of everyone of the faithful so great an esteem for innocence, and so humane a feeling for woman, except from My most pure and august Virgin Mother?
Uncivilized barbarism made woman a slave of misery: civilized infidelity made her an idol of the passions; error in religion, an instrument of deceit; the true Religion alone made her truly free and truly estimable; preserves her free and worthy of honor, by ever proposing to her as a model the Virgin Mother of God.
5. Behold, then, My Child, behold thy Mother, who adopted thee beneath the Cross, whilst she was suffering with Me. This, thy Mother, thou shalt honor all the days of thy life, remembering what, together with Me, she suffered for thee.
Acknowledge the greatness of the gift which, when dying, My Heart bequeathed to thee, by giving thee such a Mother. What is there better that I could have given to thee? Behold! in all the world, there is naught dearer to My Heart, nothing sweeter for thee, than this best of mothers.
For her maternal Heart overflows with an extraordinary compassion, love, and solicitude; nor can she forget to cherish the children whom, amidst such sorrows, she received from Me, when I was expiring. Her Heart, modeled after Mine, is opened to all under the sweetest of appellations, the heart of a Mother; so that all they that have recourse to it, are easily admitted, kindly received, and introduced by her to My Heart. Through the Virgin Mary I came to men; through her also must men come to Me. Whatsoever graces, therefore, thou desirest to obtain from Me, intrust it to Mary; that My Mother, and thy Mother, may appeal to My Heart in thy favor, and prove that she is a Mother. She will certainly be heard for the veneration due to her; for it is not becoming that I turn away My face from My Mother, or refuse her anything. A Mother's rights, which she possessed and exercised upon earth, she has not lost in Heaven, where she reigns with Me, the Queen of Angels and of all the Saints. If anyone come to Me through My Virgin Mother, he shall not be cast off, but he shall be admitted even into My Heart; and he shall learn by experience, how great is the height and the depth and the breadth of the power, which My Mother possesses over My Heart.
6. As I, by nature, have God as My Father, and Mary as My Mother; so also, Child, if, by adoption, thou desirest to have God as thy Father, thou must have Mary as thy Mother. And, if thou art desirous to find Mary thy Mother, show thyself a child, do not sadden her Heart, by grieving My Heart through sin. For accursed is he that angers his mother.
But a twofold curse, a twofold woe to them that venture to destroy or to diminish the honor and love due to My Mother! for as the praises, so are also the sneers, aimed at My Mother, flung back at Me, her Son.
Therefore, also, shall her enemies be infamous: yea, whosoever shall sin against her, shall hurt his own soul. But they that make her known by duly honoring and loving her, shall have life everlasting.
Do not think that Mary is merely equal to the Saints and Angels, or even that she is the first among them; for she forms an order above all the rest of creatures; so that, far surpassing all the Saints and the heavenly Spirits, she beholds none above her, except Myself with the Father and the Holy Ghost.
Therefore, she must be honored with a special worship [the author means veneration, one of the definitions of worship], and an affection all her own. Love and honor her, Child, as much as thou art able: thou canst not offend by excess, so long as thou dost not honor and love her as a Divinity.
Above all, learn of Mary to follow My Heart perfectly. For she kept all My words, and all My examples, meditating on them in her Heart: and thus she attained to the teaching of My Heart, whose life, and virtues, and sentiments she showed forth and expressed to perfection in herself.
7. Blessed shalt thou be, My Child, if thou dost so venerate My Virgin Mother. Through her, thou shalt find the way to holiness,-----to the interior life,-----easy and pleasant: through her, thou shalt obtain mercy, and grace, and comfort, and every thing else that is necessary or useful to thee: through her, finally, thou shalt be and continue with Me.
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To her, therefore, do thou have recourse under all circumstances, at all times. What canst thou fear? Thou art a child, she is a Mother. Why shouldst thou hesitate? Behold! no one goes to her in vain: all receive through her: the world salvation, the captive redemption, the sinner hope, the just glory, the Angels joy.
8. The voice of the Disciple.-----O Jesus, my Saviour-God! Thou givest me Thine Own Mother as a Mother! Who has ever heard anything like this! Thou alone, O Lord, couldst draw such a gift from the treasury of Thy Heart, ana bestow the same upon us sinners.
Thanks to Thee, most loving Jesus! eternal thanks to Thee for so great a gift, so kindly bestowed upon me most unworthy.
Behold! Thy Mother is my Mother! Bear with me, most sweet Jesus, if I repeat: Behold, Thy Mother is my Mother! This is indeed a shout of joy in the heart, this is honey in the mouth, this is sweetest melody in the ear.
O blessed me, who am made the son of the Queen of Heaven and earth, of the Mother of my God, my Saviour, my Judge!
Through such a Mother, O my Jesus, I will fly to Thee: through her motherly love I will draw nigh to Thy Heart; through her Immaculate Heart, I will enter into Thy Heart, even unto an intimate union with Thee.
And when I shall have to go to judgment, hold! O sweetest of all consolations! I shall have an advocate with the Judge, the Mother of the Judge and mine, a Mother that makes intercession with her Son for a son, a Mother to whom the Judge has given all power over His Heart.
Thee, therefore, so great a Mother, O sweet Virgin Mary, I will endeavor and rejoice to honor ever more and more; I will find it my delight by every means, to extend thy worship, so long as life endures.
So long as this heart of mine shall be capable of loving, it will love thee, O Mother of Jesus, and my Mother! Yea, it will burn to influence all hearts with the same fire of love that we may all begin upon earth to love Thee, for the sake of Jesus, and Jesus for His own dear sake; that thus we may deserve to be made blissful in Heaven, and continue to love and to cherish throughout joyous and endless ages.
CHAPTER XXII. THAT JESUS, FORSAKEN UPON THE CROSS, TEACHES US HOW TO ACT,
WHEN WE ARE EXPOSED TO TEMPTATIONS
1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, when on the Cross I bore the iniquities of men, for whom I had given Myself, through love, as a hostage and security; My Father so loved men, that He delivered Me up for them.
Wherefore, the devil,-----who, after the temptation in the desert, left Me for a time, having returned during My Passion,-----now assailed Me more violently, and pressed Me more stubbornly.
Beside his own malice, he made use of the wickedness of men, whom he stirred up both to afflict Me with every torture and a most disgraceful death. and to perpetrate before Me the most horrid crimes.
The demon, with his associates, was exulting, as if enjoying a triumph; and, pressing forward his most wicked assaults, he cried: God has forsaken Him, pursue and take Him.
And I, without any sensible comfort whatsoever, crushed, for the sake of men, in My weakness, was abandoned to enemies, who were outwardly raging against My Body, and inwardly tearing My Heart.
In My loneliness, in the midst of torments so frightful; behold! to the Father, Whom I loved infinitely, and by Whom I was infinitely loved, I raise My eyes, filled with tears, and well-nigh extinct, as well as My Heart, now reduced to Its utmost agony: My God! My God! why hast Thou forsaken Me?
Lo, Child, the utterance of the unfathomable affliction of My Heart, sunk into an abyss of sorrows, and overwhelmed, as it were, by a deluge of woes.
2. However, I resigned Myself lovingly to the good pleasure of My heavenly Father: and I offered Myself wholly as a sacrifice to Him, Who was to console Me at last, according to the greatness of My sorrows.
But, since suffering is the measure of love, I endured and made known this excess of the most painful anguish; that men might thence learn to how great an extent I have loved them.
And, as I remembered others, so was I especially mindful of thee, My Child: yea, for thee did I encounter, with My Heart submissive and contented, the rage of My enemies, and that deep-felt dereliction.
For I knew that, according to My Divine Providence, thou couldst not be exempt from the assaults of the demon; neither was I ignorant of the greatness of the affliction which thou shouldst have to undergo in this severe struggle with a most wicked foe: and, therefore, I placed before thee My example, that thence thou mightst derive abundant instruction and comfort.
I know thy frequent and deep groanings, My Child, when thou findest thyself in the midst of relentless foes, whilst thou desirest to live for Me in perfect peace, free from every hindrance.
But consider that I, the only begotten Son of God, the Saint of Saints, was, by a spontaneous love, exposed to the rage of My enemies and there left forsaken: and thou wilt not wonder, nor take it hard, if thou, in many ways a sinful person, art suffered,-----even after thou hast been for a long time in My service,-----to be exposed, for thy own advantage, to the assaults of the tempter, and to be deprived, during them, of sensible consolation.
For, in this is the Divine kindness toward thee made apparent, that it neither takes away the war, without which the enemy is not overcome, and peace secured; nor removes the occasion of the contest, without which there is no triumph, and no crown obtained.
It is an effect of the sincere love of My Heart, if It leaves to thee wherewithal thou mayst become conscious of thy own frailty, when exposed; that thus thou mayst be kept in humility, and, impelled by necessity, mayst continually tend and draw near to Me.
How many there are who, through temptations, persevered and were saved, and who, had they been without these trials,-----growing by degrees lukewarm and proud,-----would in the end have become reprobates!
Dost thou know even one, among all those that have sanctified themselves, who was free from temptations?
Have not the greatest Saints been wont to feel the greatest temptations?
This is the way whereby a more than ordinary purity of heart is obtained: whereby more perfect virtue is acquired: whereby the soul is better prepared for the Divine union.
3. Many err in this, that they think temptation a sin. What can there be more dangerous than this error? Hence arise an erroneous conscience, anxiety, faintheartedness, sloth, lack of strength and courage to resist generously, and to triumph.
Believe Me, Child, even should a temptation of any kind whatsoever last a whole lifetime, it could not make thee guilty of any sin, if only it be displeasing to thee.
Cast aside, therefore, so baneful an error; throw off, in like manner, an overgreat dread of being tempted. This dread, born of error, fostered by self-love, becomes an occasion of being the more tempted, and the more dangerously too; since thou art tempted, not so much by a Divine permission, as through thy own fault.
This is one of men's misfortunes that they ever tend to one or another extreme. For, some run great risk, because they fear temptations too much; others, because they do not sufficiently guard against them. Thou, My Child, follow thou the middle course, if thou wilt be safe.
4. The voice of the Disciple.-----Yet, Lord, should not sins be supremely feared and shunned? Why should I not, then, extremely fear, and shun the dangers and occasions of sin?
The voice of Jesus.-----Certainly, My Child, sins should be extremely feared and shunned. But guard against deception: avoid confusion: distinguish correctly. Temptation is one thing; sin is quite another: the danger of temptation is one thing, the danger of sin another: finally, the occasion, on the part of the devil tempting to sin, is one thing; the occasion, on the part of man placing himself proximately near to sin, is altogether different.
Now, the occasion on the part of man, as it is a proximate danger of sin, and, consequently, a sin, thou shouldst carefully shun; the occasion on the part of the devil, as it is simply a danger of temptation, and, therefore, not sinful, thou art not obliged to avoid.
Do not think it strange if the devil tempts thee, since his sole occupation is to roam about, and to tempt. In his insolence he attacks all; uses different ways to tempt; when driven off, he is not ashamed to return; when defeated he does not leave off to come again to the assault.
Wherefore, if thou art tempted, do not suffer thyself to be troubled. It is the malice of the devil, not thine own wickedness.
Thou wouldst act foolishly, and to no purpose, shouldst thou lose thy peace of heart, on account of temptations. For, by so doing, thou wouldst place thy peace in the power of the demon, who, doubtless, would never allow thee to enjoy the same.
My Child, I know thy weakness; I know the malice of the devil: but I know also the power of My grace: I know what of thyself thou art able to effect against the demon, and what thou canst do by grace. And I,-----to Whom the devil is so much subject that, against My Will, he cannot attack even the vilest animals;-----I, to Whom thy salvation has cost so much, will not allow that thou be tempted beyond what thou art able to endure, but I will, on the contrary, prepare, together with the temptation, a favorable issue.
5. The voice of the Disciple.-----Thanks to Thee, good Master, sweet Jesus, for that Thou hast thus showed me how I should act in regard to temptations, before they come or rush upon me: teach me also, I beseech Thee, how I should deport myself, when they are now at hand and assail me.
The voice of Jesus.-----Observe, Child, that the devil may assault thee, or approach thy heart in three ways: by the way of the outward senses; by the inward way of the understanding; lastly, by a sort of middle way, that of the imagination.
By whichsoever of these ways thou mayst be tempted, so soon as thou perceivest the temptation, take heed that thou be not agitated or troubled: but, by directing thy attention to Me, Who am present, strive to possess thy mind in peace.
If the temptation comes through the senses, suffer them not to be exposed, without sufficient reason, in the direction of the dangerous object: but quietly, and withal manfully, turn them away, so that, if possible, thou do no longer perceive the evil which is presented.
If it assails thee through the understanding, do not act so as to deal anywise, even mentally, with the foe; but, how specious soever his reasonings, how much soever as evident truths his suggestions may appear; so soon as thou seest them to be contrary to some virtue, submit thyself to Me, without any reasoning, and behold! thou shalt be victorious.
If the temptation is pressed upon thee, through the imagination, by means of objects formerly perceived by the senses, or even now made up by the devil, take diligent care that thou allow not the imagination to stand still, as if looking at the imaginings: but do thou forthwith, and effectually, turn away the imagination: and represent to it, if convenient, objects known by faith, such as death or judgment, Hell or Purgatory, Heaven, or rather the Son of God hanging on the Cross, and looking at thee, and offering to thee His Heart, as a place of refuge.
But give heed to this, My Child, mark this well, that in every temptation whatsoever, it is enough, simply to turn thy mind away from the temptation to some other object. Since this is to resist it, even in a positive manner.
These things having been guarded against, endeavor as much as thou art able, for thy greater progress, in every temptation, to unite thyself gently and firmly with Me, by acts of love, be they ever so short.
I do particularly recommend, My Child, while thou art wont to live in the state of grace, that, in temptation, thou make use of acts which are not directly opposed to the evil suggested, but which unite thee by love with Me. For thus thou wilt better preserve peace of heart, frustrate more securely the wicked design of the demon, render virtue more solid, and unite thyself more strongly and more perfectly with Me.
However, thou must always rely more upon Divine grace than upon thy own strength. Wherefore, thou shouldst pray frequently, in time of peace as well as of war, that, whilst thou art contending, grace may support thee, encourage thee, give thee victory.
If, in this manner, thou yieldest the glory of the victory to Me, Who am the first conqueror, and Who will not give My glory to another; then, Child, will I protect thee with My shield, and fight for thee, like a strong and invincible warrior: and a thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand before thee: nor shall any foe prevail against thee.
6. The voice of the Disciple.-----O most loving Jesus! how sweet, how pleasing the things which out of Thy Heart Thou pourest down upon me! Let Heaven and earth and all things therein with me, return Thee a thousand thanks!
However, I beseech Thee, teach me still one thing, and it is enough. Behold! it happens, that when I come out of the struggle, I am tormented by a great fear, that my soul has perhaps fallen a prey to the enemy.
O Lord! Who hast the words of everlasting life, speak to me the word, whereby my soul may be comforted. This will be a new favor of Thy Heart which will in return bind me to Thee by a new and sweet debt of gratitude and love.
The voice of Jesus.-----Behold! My Child, if the temptation, while it was upon thee, displeased thee, thou hast a sure sign that thou didst not consent thereto. But in this also thou must distinguish the inferior part of thy heart from the superior, to which it belongs to sin or not to sin.
The inferior part does not always agree with the superior, but frequently in spite of the superior, it takes, in some manner, pleasure in the temptation: yea, it does so much that it causes the superior, although not willing, to feel some pleasure. But feeling does not hurt, where there is no consent.
If thou doubtest whether thou didst merely feel the temptation, or whether thou didst also give consent thereto, observe the difference between feeling and consenting. Thou mayst indeed feel the temptation, although thou dost not love it, with thy free will adverting to its being wrong: but thou canst not consent to the temptation, unless, perceiving that it is a sin or evil, thou love it by thy free will.
But, when thou also doubtest whether or not thou didst love the temptation in this manner, follow the rule of the Saints: A person of a delicate or fair conscience may hold as morally certain that he did not consent, so long as he is not sure that he did consent.
Assuredly, My Child, whosoever is wont to cling to Me, and with a sincere heart dreads to be separated from Me, if at any time he is tempted to sin; in order, knowingly and willingly, to consent thereto, must do great violence to himself, both to resist the saving sting of conscience-----which he is in the habit of heeding and following------as well as to turn the will from an object constantly loved, to an object constantly held in abhorrence. All which, surely, no one can do, without clearly distinguishing its malice and without embracing it, if he do so at all, with his knowledge and will.
On the contrary, he that is accustomed to sin through an evil or loose conscience, when, after having been tempted, he doubts whether he gave consent thereto, ought to presume that he did consent. For, since, on principle or by custom, he has contracted a habit suited to sin; when he is tempted to evil, in order to be able to resist, he must likewise offer great violence to himself, not only to obey actually the warning voice of his conscience, which, in a matter of this kind, he was not wont to heed, but also with a strong will, to repel the temptation. Now, all this he cannot do without manifestly perceiving his own pious efforts and his unusual victory.
7. Hence, thou seest, Child, how happy they are who serve Me faithfully, since, in temptations, with which man's life is replete, they may so agreeably console themselves; whereas, they that are negligent, for their shame and correction, are tormented by inward pains and anxieties.
And this is only one of the thousand blessings which I heap upon the Disciples of My Heart. Rejoice, thou, My Child, rejoice in so great a good; and use and enjoy it for the glory of My Heart, and the sanctification of thy soul.
This, however, thou must guard against after temptation, that thou be not desirous of so examining into the matter as to expose thyself to danger, by reviewing in thy mind the temptation or its several circumstances.
As much as circumstances permit, calmly humble thyself, and beg pardon if, perchance, thou hast in anywise rendered thyself guilty of some pride, some inordinate fear, some diffidence, some curiosity, some carelessness.
After this, with a renewed love for Me, proceed boldly and cheerfully.
8. Lastly, remember, My Child, that the way of temptations is open to many errors, insomuch that by himself no one can safely pass through it. Wherefore, whosoever thou art, religious or secular, learned or unlearned, thou needest an experienced guide; and, so long as thou dost obediently follow him, I will not permit that obedience lead thee to destruction. I Myself will have a care of thee.
Come, then, Child, cheer up thy courage: be stout-hearted. Let the winds blow; let the storms rage; how canst thou be fearful? behold! I am with thee.
These things have I spoken to thee, My Child, that, in the midst of temptations, thou mayst find relief and comfort; but not, that thou mayst have no temptations, nor feel their irksomeness. Endure them in the right spirit: and, in their own time, they will produce manifold fruit.
Do not grow faint in courage, but be resigned to the Divine Will. Up, then, persevere manfully, knowing that he is blessed that endures temptation; because, when he has been proved, he shall receive the crown of life.
9. The voice of the Disciple.-----O how good art Thou, my Jesus! how good art Thou! Behold!
O Thou delight of the Saints and Angels, Thou art forsaken upon the Cross, and deprived of every consolation; yet, meanwhile, Thou dost not abandon me, nor suffer me, every way unworthy as I am, to be without solace; for, with a marvelous sweetness, Thyself relievest and rejoicest me.
Willingly do I intrust myself to Thy care; wholly do I resign myself to Thy Will; do Thou carry out the designs of Thy Heart in my regard: cleanse and sanctify me in a way and manner pleasing to Thee. Only keep me from every sin.
In every temptation, in every danger, assist me efficaciously; protect me, help me; so keep me united with Thee, that I may never be separated from Thee.
CHAPTER XXIII. THAT JESUS, IN HIS ABANDONMENT, THIRSTING AND NOT RELIEVED, SHOWS US HOW WE SHOULD DEPORT OURSELVES IN SPIRITUAL DESOLATION
1. The voice of Jesus.-----O all ye that pass by the way attend, and see if there be any sorrow like My
Lo! all My persecutors troubled Me taken in the midst of straits; and there was none to comfort Me among all them that were dear to Me.
Behold, My Child, My head pierced with thorns, My face covered with Blood and tears, all My limbs torn, My whole Body lacerated, from the sole of My feet to the crown of My head all one wound: My Heart weighed down with unutterable sorrows, undone by the hard-heartedness of men, forsaken by My beloved and most loving Father Himself.
Amidst all these sufferings, I was racked by a new torture, a most violent thirst, so that I was forced to exclaim: I thirst!
This thirst was manifold, My Child: a burning thirst even unto death, of refreshing Myself, every way exhausted as I was; a more burning thirst for the salvation, the love and everlasting gratitude of men; lastly, a most ardent thirst for the fulfillment of the good pleasure of My heavenly Father.
But My enemies hearing it, so far from affording Me relief, on the contrary, in My thirst gave Me vinegar to drink.
For the restoration of the Divine glory, and for the salvation of men, My Father willed that I should die in the deepest affliction, without any relief.
My Passion ever increased: but apace grew the love of My Heart, whereby, uniting Myself to the Divine good pleasure: Yea, Father, I said in My Heart, yea, since thus it is pleasing before Thee.
And thus I wholly resigned Myself to continue, and at last to expire in the uttermost desolateness.
Meditate on these things, My Child: do thou also remember them, when thou art thyself experiencing spiritual desolation.
2. So long as exercises of piety are inwardly relished and please the spiritual taste, it is both easy and pleasant to be engaged therein; but it is hard and disagreeable to perform them faithfully and exactly when they produce only wearisomeness and disgust. But because, during that inward consolation, the human heart is wont to take delight in a sensible sweetness, and does not purely love Me for Myself, I do frequently, when he is now able to bear it, deprive a person of all sensible relish.
This is a secret invention of My Heart, that the soul may learn, even in spite of herself, to seek and to love, above all things sensible, not My consolations, but Myself.
If thou remainest faithful in spiritual desolation, thou provest evidently that thou servest Me by pure love, not in consideration of thy present advantages.
Thou shouldst, therefore, not be uneasy amid desolation, My Child, but shouldst exert thyself to act generously and to endure manfully.
3. Continue steadfastly in thy undertaking; and, in order to overcome weariness or disgust, which comes upon thee in spiritual desolation, pray more than usually; carefully examine thy actions, both interior and exterior; watch more attentively over thy heart; lastly, mortify thyself in small things more frequently and more perfectly. By this constant and solid fervor, thou wilt efficaciously resist languor. Meanwhile, resign thyself ever more and more; and look upon it as thy greatest consolation, to embrace submissively and lovingly the Divine Will.
I do not always desire to console thee in a sensible manner: even when thou hast done whatsoever thou wast able to obtain the same, lest it prove hurtful to thee, or lest thou ascribe to thyself what belongs to Me.
But this I do desire, that thou keep thyself in all humility, and love Me in the most disinterested manner. Therefore, I suffer, that thou shouldst intensely feel that it is not in thy power to acquire or to retain consolation, but that it is My gift.
Acknowledge, then, that thou art altogether unable to procure true consolation, yea, that thou art unworthy of receiving even the least; and own that it is the highest favor, far surpassing every sensible consolation, when thou art reckoned by Me among My children, and cherished by the love of My Heart.
4. The voice of the Disciple.-----Yea, Lord God, it is a very great grace, an incomparable favor, to be Thy Child, to be dear to Thy Heart; but my desolateness does not only cause me wearisomeness, betimes it even does not allow me to perceive that favor.
So long as I possess the moral conviction, that, by sanctifying grace, I am a Child dear to Thy Heart; to lack all consolation, both human and Divine,-----although it is hard and irksome to nature,-----appears bearable; neither does it take away the peace of the heart .
But, Lord Jesus, sometimes desolation takes hold of me, and affects all the powers of my soul to such a degree that it appears to me that I am separated from Thee, and that I cannot persuade myself that I still possess a place in Thy Heart.
O my Saviour! Who knowest all things, and needest not that anyone tell Thee, Thou knowest the greatness of my sufferings, more painful than death itself. Every other affliction I deem a consolation in comparison of this desolateness, upon which I dare not look, and yet from which I cannot turn away my eyes.
O Jesus! by the excess of Thy Own desolateness upon the Cross, I entreat and implore Thee, do not refuse to relieve, or at least to instruct me. I confess that I do not deserve either of these favors, and that Thine example ought to be enough for me; yet unless Thou Thyself appliest it to me, I am such a wretch, that seeing I do not perceive, and hearing I do not understand.
5. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, it is one thing to do good, and another to know that thou art doing good. The former makes up the merit; the latter begets enjoyment. Again, Child, it is one thing to live in My grace, and another to be aware that thou art living in My grace. The one constitutes thy true felicity; the other adds nothing to thy felicity, except a sensible delight.
Now, of this agreeable and delightful knowledge, in which there is no merit, I do sometimes affectionately deprive a soul, that she may be manfully trained to sanctity and be made perfect in love for Me. This is the highest purity of love: to struggle for love by means of love, whilst thou feelest not the love through which and for which thou art contending.
Be not anxious, therefore, My Child, to persuade thyself that thou livest in my grace. For thou wouldst labor in vain to obtain for thyself that which, for the present, I do not wish thee to have.
I seek and love thy true good, rather than thy sensible delight; and this privation I know to be truly useful to thee, in order that, when thou findest, in sensible things, no support whereon either to stand or to lean, thou mayst repose, outside of what is sensible, in Me alone, the unchangeable Good.
Wherefore, Child, as much as thou canst, turn thyself to Me, away from the troubles which thou feelest; throw thyself on My Heart, re-affirming ever the same, that, for love of Me, thou art willing to do in all things the good pleasure of My Heart.
After this, perform gently whatsoever thou hast to do, and omit none of thy accustomed good works on account of spiritual desolation.
So long as the desolation besets thee, do not occupy thyself, under any pretense whatsoever, with troublesome reflections about the same; remain quiet; pray; ever, resign, ever give thyself up to Me.
Lastly, remember this, that, in this desolation, thou must lean not upon any creature outside of thyself, nor even upon thyself, but upon Me alone.
Therefore, the more thou art able to leave thyself, to turn thyself away from thyself, to cling to My Heart, yea, to lose and forget thyself therein, the better it will be for thee.
6. The voice of the Disciple.-----Benediction, and praise, and glory be to Thy Heart, O Lord, because Its goodness has moved Thee to teach me the way of life in the midst of the shadow of death.
Yet, although I am so unworthy that I do not even deserve to prostrate myself in the dust before Thy feet, suffer me, I beseech Thee, to make known to Thee a still greater desolation, an unutterable torture, whereby the sorrows of Hell appear sometimes to come upon me.
For I seem, betimes, in some wonderful manner to feel persuaded, not merely that I am deprived of Thy grace, but even that I have been cast away by Thee, and, therefore, that Hell is my home, which I try in vain to escape.
I should not dare to make known to Thee, Lord God, this great wretchedness of mine, did not my extreme misery compel me to lay open before Thee the abyss, the depth whereof I know not.
7. The voice of Jesus.-----This is enough, My Child; it shows sufficiently what thou dost experience.
Attend to this above all other things, Child, beware of this beyond everything else, that thou be not discomposed, how great soever may be thy desolateness.
Behold! what thou sufferest, the Saints themselves have suffered, who, having become most perfectly assimilated to Me, have in this manner altogether died to themselves, and, as new creatures, have solely lived for Me.
Believe, and hope, and love purely, My Child: lo! now is the time to practice pure virtues, to elicit heroic acts.
Be not downhearted: that which seems death, is a hidden life; that which now appears destruction will, in the end, be found to be a renewal.
But from what thou sufferest, learn thou, Child, how great is the kindness of My Heart, whereby I preserve thee from experiencing in reality everlasting reprobation; since thou feelest that the mere thought of it exceeds all the sufferings of life.
Hence, also, infer how justly thou art bound to love Me in return without measure, since by Me thou hast been preserved from an immeasurable misfortune.
8. Now, observe, My Child, that it is the demon who, by his suggestions, causes thee to doubt about My truth, when I assert that I will the salvation of all men: that it is the demon who sets thee on to distrust My mercy, in ,which they that hope shall not be put to confusion, from which they that ask do receive: that it is the demon who stirs thee up not to think kindly of Me, whilst yet, with an infinite love, I ordain all things for thy everlasting happiness.
It is from the devil that come all things which of themselves are evil,------never from Me, Who do not try anyone in this manner.
Whatsoever the devil may put into thy thoughts, leave it to him; neither do thou dispute nor deal with him in anywise.
Be simply, and continue quietly resigned to the Divine Will; and, even if, on account of the greatness of thy spiritual desolation, thou appearest not wholly conformed to the Divine good pleasure, do not trouble thyself, nor make thyself uneasy; but throw thyself, without anxiety, on My Heart, and repeat: God, my Saviour, Thy Will be done in my regard, in time and in eternity.
It is impossible, My Child, that he, who thus intrusts himself to the Divine Will should perish. Sooner shall Heaven and earth pass away, than that he be lost, who gives himself up, without reserve, to the Divine good pleasure.
For the rest, be of good cheer, Child of My Heart, generously endure this martyrdom, with which the Disciples most dear to My Heart are honored, and which secures an unfading palm and an everlasting crown.
9. The Voice of the Disciple.-----O Jesus! O Thou my last refuge! what shall I say to all this? Behold! comforted, and disconsolate at the same time I cannot give utterance to what I feel: but Thou seest into my heart.
By Thy Own supreme desolateness, Lord Jesus, save Thou my soul, for which Thou hast endured torments, so numerous and so excessive.
As much as I am able, I intrust myself wholly to Thee: I surrender myself altogether to the care of Thy Heart: Thy Will be done in my regard in time and in eternity.
CHAPTER XXIV. THAT JESUS ACCOMPLISHING ALL UPON THE CROSS, TEACHES US
TO ACCOMPLISH, IN LIKE MANNER, ALL THINGS UPON THE CROSS
1. The voice of Jesus.-----Behold, My Child, at last I completed the work which My Father gave Me to do.
Having come down from the highest Heaven to run my way, lo! I have finished My career. I now finish a life made up of labors, and sorrows, and ceaseless sacrifices: the pains of all these are now brought to a close, but the merits and fruits of them endure forever.
The irreparable ruin of Satan's kingdom is consummated, and he himself, the prince of this world, is despoiled of his dominions and cast out.
My kingdom------which I have acquired by My Own Blood, to which I have given success by the very love of My Heart, which I have strengthened by every means unto a lasting stability and security, so that thereof there shall be no end,------stands firm.
Whatsoever existed from the beginning as types of Me, whatsoever has been written concerning Me, now sees its end: behold! now is the time that transgression may be finished, that sin may receive an end, that iniquity may be abolished, and everlasting justice may be brought.
Naught remains undone, naught remains to be suffered: all is consummated. Now, I will die with My Heart satisfied.
Here pause, My Child, and attend where I have consummated all things. Behold! I persevere upon the Cross. Consider, and act according to the model that was showed to thee on the mountain.
2. If now thou hast learnt the sentiments of My Heart, and hast put on the same, thou wilt not de sire to live, thou wilt not desire to die, except fastened to the cross.
For no other road than the one whereon I have journeyed is given under Heaven to men, to become Saints, and to be saved.
O if thou knewest what good things for the present and the future life thou mightst procure for thyself, by lovingly continuing on the cross; assuredly, like Myself, thou shouldst not be willing, of thyself, to come down therefrom.
It is much safer, it is much better, in every respect, to persevere on the cross, for love of Me, than, of thy own accord, to free thyself from the cross.
My Child, if thou didst know the value and the reward of tribulations, thou wouldst deem this life too short for suffering, but eternity long enough to enjoy the recompense.
3. If thou desirest to persevere with ease in afflictions, do not reflect upon the years, the months, nor even the weeks during which they may last: but think of the present day, as if it were to be the last, and, as if thou shouldst have nothing more to suffer, and to merit thereafter.
Blessed they that, amid their tribulations, are more anxious to render themselves alike to Me than to free themselves therefrom! These are they that, by the purest love, perfect themselves in union with Me.
Look at the example of the Saints, who, despising everything that was merely self, sought Me with such purity, were inflamed with such ardor to conform themselves to Me, that they longed, some either to suffer or to die; others, not to die but to suffer.
Nor were they satisfied to suffer those things only which Divine Providence meted out to them; but, moved by My Spirit, they assumed voluntary mortifications and labors, and, in their fervor, they were ever urged onward to perfect themselves in Me by love.
4. Examine and try all things, My Child, thou wilt at last be obliged to come back to this truth, that the spiritual, the interior life is reduced to this, that thou do constantly sacrifice the inclination and aversion of nature for love of Me, in order to live by My Spirit.
And this thou must do, so long as life endures.
For, so long as thou livest, thou art man, and therefore, prone and liable to evil; nor canst thou, otherwise than by striving and using thy endeavors, shun what is evil and imperfect, and do what is good and perfect.
Thus, generously to go counter to nature, and to follow grace for love of Me; this is the spirit of the Saints.
5. If thou art wise, My Child, thou wilt desire no other reward in this life for the things which thou sufferest than a greater love for Me, and more abundant grace to suffer for My sake.
Thy afflictions shall never equal Mine: I, however, persevered in them until I consummated My life, that thou mightst learn to continue in thine, so long as it is the Will of the Divine good pleasure.
Be ashamed, My Child, for that thou art, sometimes, so silly as even to think of forsaking Me upon the Cross.
If thou lovest Me for My Own sake, thou wilt under no circumstance depart from Me. But if thou lovest Me for thyself, no wonder that, while trouble besets thee, thou darest to wish for what is to thee more agreeable.
A hireling cares not so much for his master as for his own self: and he finds no difficulty in leaving a master whom he must serve with hard labor, and without an immediate advantage.
Yet thou didst not receive the slavish spirit of a hireling, but a nobler spirit, the spirit of a Child; that where I am, thou also mayst be.
Take heed, lest thou grow degenerate in spirit: persevere with Me, determined rather to die at thy post, than to abandon the same.
6. What shall it avail thee to have suffered much for My sake, unless thou perfect it by perseverance?
If, hitherto, thou hast followed Me amid tribulations, rejoice thou, My Child; yet, at the same time, remember, not he that begins, but he that perseveres, will be saved. A reward is, indeed, promised to them that begin, but it is given to them that persevere.
To stimulate thee to perseverance, frequently place before thy eyes that everlasting reward which awaits thee among the Saints, and which far exceeds all present tribulation.
Pray much, My Child, that thou mayst not be disheartened, nor lose the crown prepared for thee. So long as thou prayest well, thou wilt continue well.
Finally, Child, be ever mindful of My example, and of My presence: daily renew thy resolve, and strengthen thy heart, to abide with Me. Thus thou shalt pass through each successive day, and come, at last, to a final and blissful consummation.
7. The voice of the Disciple.-----O most sweet Jesus! by the merits of Thy Passion, by the merits of all the Saints that clung so faithfully to Thee, grant me to persevere with Thee unto the end.
I am, indeed, desirous and anxious to remain with Thee on the Cross, and to consummate all with Thee thereon: but I know and feel that my powers are insufficient for this.
Strengthen and inspire me, therefore, I beseech Thee, with that grace which the Saints have found fully sufficient to accomplish it; that I may perfect myself upon the cross, as a holocaust to Thee for an odor of sweetness, and for the everlasting salvation of my soul.
CHAPTER XXV. THAT JESUS COMMENDING HIS SPIRIT INTO THE HANDS OF HIS FATHER, TEACHES US HOW WE MUST WHOLLY GIVE UP OURSELVES TO HIM
1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Children, yet a little while am I with you, until, all things being now consummated, the love itself of My Heart be consummated.
Behold, Child, nothing now is left to Me except My Spirit, for, not only affectively, but also effectively, My Heart has sacrificed all the rest as a holocaust.
Although My soul was ever in the hands of My Father, and voluntarily consecrated to Him from the beginning; now, however, in order to complete the excess of My love, I sacrifice, I lay down the same. No one takes It away from Me, but I of Myself lay It down.
In this consummation of the excess of Its love, My Heart, before It expires, utters Its last words for thee.
And that thou mayst understand of how great an importance they are, I did not now sigh, but I cried out with a loud voice: Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit.
This is the uttermost excess of humility and love, beyond which it is not possible to go in this life; and in this same I die.
In the supreme extremity of every kind of sorrows, behold! I throw Myself, entirely and completely, into the hands of My Father.
Now I do not say to My Father: Not Mine, but Thy Will be done. For My Will is no longer Mine but that of My Father, into Whose hands I have delivered the same.
2. My Child, receive thou with a special affection these last words of thy Saviour, dying for love of thee; treasure them up in thy heart, and piously meditate thereon.
For they contain the abridgment and completion of all the things whichsoever I have hitherto taught thee concerning the interior life, concerning virtue and holiness.
In them lie hidden the secrets of My Heart most precious and most useful to thee. Search thou into them, Child: use them: but, above all, study diligently to reduce them to practice.
Wherefore, as I commended My Spirit into the hands of My Father, so do thou intrust thy spirit into My hands.
If thou do this, thou wilt cease altogether to live by thy spirit, and wilt begin so to live by My Spirit, that thy heart, thy mind, thy all, will breathe naught save My Spirit.
Then thy will, now no longer thine, but delivered up to the Divine Will, shall be, in some manner, one with Mine.
3. Behold, My Child, the highest degree of sanctity in a life made perfect by virtues, when the soul with a holy indifference toward everything, wills of her own accord nothing further, but suffers Me to will, to dispose, and to do in her regard, and concerning all besides, as is pleasing to Me; whilst she herself consents to My every Will and ordinance, being, always and everywhere, conformed and united to Me.
Blessed the soul that reaches this degree! in Me she finds repose amidst and above all things: above every feeling, above every virtue, above all salvation, above every good.
In such a soul, I so set in order the purity of charity, I so ravish her with the love of My Heart, that, far above all things visible and invisible, she is wholly Mine and I hers.
When thou wilt have in this manner delivered thyself entirely and completely to My Divine good pleasure; then shalt thou, in the most perfect manner, be free from all vain fear and inordinate sadness, from every merely natural wish and desire, finally, from every superfluous care and uneasiness.
Then, as it were, forgetful of thyself and of what may happen in the future, thou wilt look upon this as thy joy, to cause Me joy by doing My good pleasure. Provided My Heart be satisfied, thine will also be contented, regardless whether this be pleasing or displeasing to nature.
4. All the Saints have excelled in this greatest of virtues: and so highly did they esteem the Divine good pleasure, and to such a degree did they cherish the same, that, in some manner, forgetting themselves, they preferred it above all things.
Imitate the Saints, My Child, if thou wilt be a Saint, or desirest to reign with the Saints.
This life of the Divine good pleasure is an image of the life in Heaven. For, the inhabitants of Heaven, being perfectly satisfied, each one with his own beatitude, are, by the same Divine good pleasure, all rendered blissful.
Take away this conformity to the Divine Will, and behold! the interior life becomes a delusion; neither does there exist any longer a road to sanctity.
5. When thou dost will and not will the same with Me in all things, in great as well as in small, in things spiritual as well as in things temporal, in adversity no less than in prosperity; finally, in life as well as in death; then be glad and rejoice, My Child, because thou art become a Disciple according to My Own Heart.
Thou wilt now not only offer, not merely resign thyself, and all that is thine, to Me, that I may use the same; but of thy own accord thou wilt allow, thou wilt desire that I dispose, according to My good pleasure, of thyself and of thine, of all thou art, and of all thou possessest.
Deliver, therefore, My Child, and leave to Me thyself and whatsoever is thine; and continue faithfully, even unto death, in this surrendering, in this abandoning of thyself to the Will and good pleasure of My Heart.
Be persuaded that, if thou hast thus died with Me, thou shalt also live with Me, and reign among the Saints in the life never-ending.
8. The voice ot the Disciple.-----O the sublimity of the sanctity of Thy Heart, Lord Jesus! However, since Thou invitest me so urgently, and callest me so gently thereto, I must courageously strive, and generously make bold to attain thereto.
Wherefore, relying upon the power of Thy grace, and animated by Thy example, behold! I intrust my spirit to Thy hands; to Thee I consign my spirit, that I may live by Thy Spirit alone; to Thee I give up my will that I may move, act, suffer, die by Thy Will alone.
Lo! I am wholly thine; take me, then, and dispose of me always and everywhere according to the good pleasure of Thy Heart.
May I at last, by a perfect likeness to Thee, and a perfect union with Thee, become a perfect Disciple of Thy Heart!
CHAPTER XXVI. THAT HEART OF JESUS, AFTER HIS DEATH OPENED FOR LOVE OF US,
IS THE REFUGE AND SOLACE OF ALL
1. The voice of the Disciple.-----See Jesus dying upon the Cross! O spectacle! O God, behold Thy Son! O Mary, behold thy Jesus! O Angels, look ye and weep!
O saddest sight, such as never was before, never shall be again! Lo! as the Creator expires all creation is moved, all mourns. The heavens are moved, hide their light for grief, and wrap the world in darkness.
The earth wails, and trembles even unto her foundations, and shakes and tears asunder the rocks and stones.
Religion weeps, and, as if for a sign of grief, rends her garment, when the vail of the temple is rent in two from the top even to the bottom.
Death itself is moved, and as if sorrowing for its deed, suffers the dead to arise. Behold, the tombs He opened, and many bodies come forth.
All nature in a pang, the whole universe laments for Jesus dying upon the Cross between Heaven and earth.
O spectacle! Jesus, the Son of God, died in torments for love of us! O everlasting memorial of the love of the Heart of Jesus!
2. But, behold! one of the soldiers, with a spear, opened His Side, and immediately there issued forth Blood and water. New miracle of love; manifold mystery!
The Heart of Jesus is opened that thence may be formed His only one, His perfect one, His Virgin Spouse, the Holy Church.
Blood and water issue forth: Blood, that redeems; Water, that cleanses souls. The Water flows, that, by the laver of Baptism, men may be born again into the Church: the Blood flows, that, by the fruit of His Heart, the most Holy Sacrament, they may be perfected in the Church.
Jesus willed that His Heart should be opened, to show us, that, even after the end of His life, He does by no means cease to cherish us; and to convince us, that, even after His death, His Heart is burning with love for us.
Finally, He willed that It should be opened, that we might possess in His Heart a permanent place of refuge, solace, everything necessary and useful.
He willeth that His Heart should not merely be wounded, but that It should be opened and continue open, that there might ever be access, that the door might ever remain unclosed, through which he that enters in shall be saved,-----and he shall go in, and go out, and shall find the pastures of life everlasting.
3. Behold, then, through the opening of the Side, the innermost of His Heart is seen: that great mystery of love is revealed: the designs of the mercy of our God are unclosed, whereby He visited us, He the Orient from on high.
Jesus willed to retain forever the visible wound of His Heart, whence the invisible wound of His love is made to appear, that It may be not only the place of refuge for mortals, but likewise the Paradise of the Blessed.
Hence it is that, from this fountain of the Saviour, men, upon earth, draw with joy the living waters of all gifts and graces; and the Angels and Saints, in Heaven, obtain with exultation ever-flowing streams of admiration, and praise, and thanksgiving, and never-ending love.
4. O my soul! lift up thy eyes to Jesus; see thy own Beloved; view that Heart wounded by love opened by love.
Behold, the opened breast displays the affections of His Heart; the Wound proves to what an extent that Heart cherishes thee.
The whole appearance shows that Jesus, thy Beloved above all, is truly meek and humble of Heart.
The Heart of thy Jesus, behold! is open; It is opened that thou mayst draw near and enter therein; that to Him thou mayst give and deliver up thy heart.
5. Behold the unfathomable abyss of goodness; who shall measure the same? who shall comprehend its depth and breadth? Neither man nor Angel shall ever comprehend its bounds.
Who among the unfortunate can dread to approach the Heart of Him Who died for love of the unfortunate; yea, who even keeps His Heart open, that to all the wretched there may be given a free entrance!
Gaze upon the heart of Jesus, Who died for thee, and His evident love, stronger than death, more vigorous than life, all sweetness, will expel fear, will remove distrust, will cast aside faintheartedness, will arouse faith, will strengthen hope, will enkindle love: and thou wilt go to immerse thyself into this ocean of goodness.
If ever thou becomest forgetful of the love of Jesus, or doubtest His affection, turn thyself to Him and hearken: His wounded Heart will cry out, how He loves, how much He cherishes; and will cry out again, that thou shouldst love in return, that thou shouldst requite His affection.
If thou art straitened, if thou art troubled, hasten, run, to this fountain of every grace, to this gushing spring of all consolation.
If thy unfaithfulness frighten thee, let thy confidence and courage be cheered on by the tokens of benignity of the Heart of Jesus, His head bowed down, His arms outstretched, His Breast glowing with love for thee.
In every peril, in every difficulty, throw thyself confidingly upon the Heart of Jesus: cast thine anxieties upon Him, because He has a care of thee.
And if thou hast done any good action, if thou hast gained any merit, hide it safely in the Heart of Jesus, that this Sacred Heart may sanctify the same by Its virtue, may keep it from the thief, vain glory; and from the moth, self love; and may guard it for the day of final retribution.
6. O most precious, O most sweet wound of the Heart of my Jesus, deserving of love above all decorations of honor; O Thou our resort before every other place! if out of Thee I take but one draught of love! I soon forget all my miseries; I feel a disgust for things worldly and earthly, and I relish things spiritual and heavenly,-----naught, except Jesus, and Him wounded by love, do I care to know and love.
O most sweet Jesus! draw me to Thee: draw me through the wound of Thy Breast to Thy Divine Heart, that now I may no longer live in myself, but may have life in Thee, may live in Thy Heart, the blissful abode of all the Saints.
Grant, I beseech Thee, Oh! do grant that my heart, wholly united with Thee, and possessing in all things one and the same sentiment with Thee, may be forever closed to Thy enemies, dead to myself and the world, ever open to Thee, breathing Thee alone, above all things loving Thee.
O Jesus, Beloved of my soul! forever preserve me in Thy Heart, which is sweeter than every sweetness, and wherein I find all I can desire for true beatitude.