How a soul, elevated by desire of the honor of God, and of the salvation of her neighbors, exercising herself in humble prayer, after she had seen the union of the soul, through love, with God, asked of God four requests.
The soul, who is lifted by a very great and yearning desire for the honor of God and the salvation of souls, begins by exercising herself, for a certain space of time, in the ordinary virtues, remaining in the cell of self-knowledge,in order to know better the goodness of God towards her. This she does because knowledge must precede love, and only when she has attained love, can she strive to follow and to clothe herself with the truth. But, in no way, does the creature receive such a taste of the truth, or so brilliant a light therefrom, as by means of humble and continuous prayer, founded on knowledge of herself and of God; because prayer, exercising her in the above way, unites with God the soul that follows the footprints of Christ Crucified, and thus, by desire and affection, and union of love, makes her another Himself. Christ would seem to have meant this, when He said: To him who will love Me and will observe My commandment, will I manifest Myself; and he shall be one thing with Me and I with him. In several places we find similar words, by which we can see that it is, indeed, through the effect of love, that the soul becomes another Himself. That this may be seen more clearly, I will mention what I remember having heard from a handmaid of God, namely, that, when she was lifted up in prayer, with great elevation of mind, God was not wont to conceal, from the eye of her intellect, the love which He had for His servants, but rather to manifest it; and, that among other things, He used to say: "Open the eye of your intellect, and gaze into Me, and you shall see the beauty of My rational creature. And look at those creatures who, among the beauties which I have given to the soul, creating her in My image and similitude, are clothed with the nuptial garment (that is, the garment of love), adorned with many virtues, by which they are united with Me through love. And yet I tell you, if you should ask Me, who these are, I should reply" (said the sweet and amorous Word of God) "they are another Myself, inasmuch as they have lost and denied their own will, and are clothed with Mine, are united to Mine, are conformed to Mine." It is therefore true, indeed, that the soul unites herself with God by the affection of love. So, that soul, wishing to know and follow the truth more manfully, and lifting her desires first for herself -- for she considered that a soul could not be of use, whether in doctrine, example, or prayer, to her neighbor, if she did not first profit herself, that is, if she did not acquire virtue in herself -- addressed four requests to the Supreme and Eternal Father. 1. The first was for herself; 2. the second for the reformation of the Holy Church; 3. the third a general prayer for the whole world, and in particular for the peace of Christians who rebel, with much lewdness and persecution, against the Holy Church; 4. in the fourth and last, she besought the Divine Providence to provide for things in general, and in particular, for a certain case with which she was concerned.
when God showed her the neediness of the world.
This desire was great and continuous, but grew much more, when the First Truth showed her the neediness of the world, and in what a tempest of offense against God it lay. And she had understood this the better from a letter, which she had received from the spiritual Father of her soul, in which he explained to her the penalties and intolerable dolor caused by offenses against God, and the loss of souls, and the persecutions of Holy Church. All this lighted the fire of her holy desire with grief for the offenses, and with the joy of the lively hope, with which she waited for God to provide against such great evils. And, since the soul seems, in such communion, sweetly to bind herself fast within herself and with God, and knows better His truth, inasmuch as the soul is then in God, and God in the soul, as the fish is in the sea, and the sea in the fish, she desired the arrival of the morning (for the morrow was a feast of Mary) in order to hear Mass. And, when the morning came, and the hour of the Mass, she sought with anxious desire her accustomed place; and, with a great knowledge of herself, being ashamed of her own imperfection, appearing to herself to be the cause of all the evil that was happening throughout the world, conceiving a hatred and displeasure against herself, and a feeling of holy justice, with which knowledge, hatred, and justice, she purified the stains which seemed to her to cover her guilty soul, she said: "O Eternal Father, I accuse myself before You, in order that You may punish me for my sins in this finite life, and, inasmuch as my sins are the cause of the sufferings which my neighbor must endure, I implore You, in Your kindness, to punish them in my person."
How finite works are not sufficient for punishment or recompense without the perpetual affection of love.
Then, the Eternal Truth seized and drew more strongly to Himself her desire,doing as He did in the Old Testament, for when the sacrifice was offeredto God, a fire descended and drew to Him the sacrifice that was acceptableto Him; so did the sweet Truth to that soul, in sending down the fire ofthe clemency of the Holy Spirit, seizing the sacrifice of desire that shemade of herself, saying: "Do you not know, dear daughter, that all thesufferings, which the soul endures, or can endure, in this life, are insufficientto punish one smallest fault, because the offense, being done to Me, whoam the Infinite Good, calls for an infinite satisfaction? However, I wishthat you should know, that not all the pains that are given to men in thislife are given as punishments, but as corrections, in order to chastise ason when he offends; though it is true that both the guilt and the penaltycan be expiated by the desire of the soul, that is, by true contrition, notthrough the finite pain endured, but through the infinite desire; becauseGod, who is infinite, wishes for infinite love and infinite grief. Infinitegrief I wish from My creature in two ways: in one way, through her sorrowfor her own sins, which she has committed against Me her Creator; in theother way, through her sorrow for the sins which she sees her neighbors commitagainst Me. Of such as these, inasmuch as they have infinite desire, thatis, are joined to Me by an affection of love, and therefore grieve when theyoffend Me, or see Me offended, their every pain, whether spiritual or corporeal,from wherever it may come, receives infinite merit, and satisfies for a guiltwhich deserved an infinite penalty, although their works are finite and donein finite time; but, inasmuch as they possess the virtue of desire, and sustaintheir suffering with desire, and contrition, and infinite displeasure againsttheir guilt, their pain is held worthy. Paul explained this when he said:If I had the tongues of angels, and if I knew the things of the future andgave my body to be burned, and have not love, it would be worth nothing tome. The glorious Apostle thus shows that finite works are not valid, eitheras punishment or recompense, without the condiment of the affection of love."
How desire and contrition of heart satisfies, both for the guilt and thepenalty in oneself and in others; and how sometimes it satisfies for theguilt only, and not the penalty.
"I have shown you, dearest daughter, that the guilt is not punished in thisfinite time by any pain which is sustained purely as such. And I say, thatthe guilt is punished by the pain which is endured through the desire, love,and contrition of the heart; not by virtue of the pain, but by virtue ofthe desire of the soul; inasmuch as desire and every virtue is of value,and has life in itself, through Christ crucified, My only begotten Son, inso far as the soul has drawn her love from Him, and virtuously follows Hisvirtues, that is, His Footprints. In this way, and in no other, are virtuesof value, and in this way, pains satisfy for the fault, by the sweet andintimate love acquired in the knowledge of My goodness, and in the bitternessand contrition of heart acquired by knowledge of one's self and one's ownthoughts. And this knowledge generates a hatred and displeasure against sin,and against the soul's own sensuality, through which, she deems herself worthyof pains and unworthy of reward." The sweet Truth continued: "See how, bycontrition of the heart, together with love, with true patience, and withtrue humility, deeming themselves worthy of pain and unworthy of reward,such souls endure the patient humility in which consists the above-mentionedsatisfaction. You ask me, then, for pains, so that I may receive satisfactionfor the offenses, which are done against Me by My Creatures, and you furtherask the will to know and love Me, who am the Supreme Truth. Wherefore I replythat this is the way, if you will arrive at a perfect knowledge and enjoymentof Me, the Eternal Truth, that you should never go outside the knowledgeof yourself, and, by humbling yourself in the valley of humility, you willknow Me and yourself, from which knowledge you will draw all that is necessary.No virtue, my daughter, can have life in itself except through charity, andhumility, which is the foster-mother and nurse of charity. In self-knowledge,then, you will humble yourself, seeing that, in yourself, you do not evenexist; for your very being, as you will learn, is derived from Me, sinceI have loved both you and others before you were in existence; and that,through the ineffable love which I had for you, wishing to re-create youto Grace, I have washed you, and re-created you in the Blood of My only-begottenSon, spilt with so great a fire of love. This Blood teaches the truth tohim, who, by self-knowledge, dissipates the cloud of self-love, and in noother way can he learn. Then the soul will inflame herself in this knowledgeof Me with an ineffable love, through which love she continues in constantpain; not, however, a pain which afflicts or dries up the soul, but one whichrather fattens her; for since she has known My truth, and her own faults,and the ingratitude of men, she endures intolerable suffering, grieving becauseshe loves Me; for, if she did not love Me, she would not be obliged to doso; whence it follows immediately, that it is right for you, and My otherservants who have learnt My truth in this way, to sustain, even unto death,many tribulations and injuries and insults in word and deed, for the gloryand praise of My Name(Mt 24,9); thus will you endure and suffer pains. Do you, therefore,and My other servants, carry yourselves with true patience, with grief foryour sins, and with love of virtue for the glory and praise of My Name. Ifyou act thus, I will satisfy for your sins, and for those of My other servants,inasmuch as the pains which you will endure will be sufficient, through thevirtue of love, for satisfaction and reward, both in you and in others. Inyourself you will receive the fruit of life, when the stains of your ignoranceare effaced, and I shall not remember that you ever offended Me(Is 43,25 Ez 18,21-22 He 10,17 Jr 31,34). In othersI will satisfy through the love and affection which you have to Me, and Iwill give to them according to the disposition with which they will receiveMy gifts. In particular, to those who dispose themselves, humbly and withreverence, to receive the doctrine of My servants, will I remit both guiltand penalty, since they will thus come to true knowledge and contrition fortheir sins. So that, by means of prayer, and their desire of serving Me,they receive the fruit of grace, receiving it humbly in greater or less degree,according to the extent of their exercise of virtue and grace in general.I say then, that, through your desires, they will receive remission for theirsins. See, however, the condition, namely, that their obstinacy should notbe so great in their despair as to condemn them through contempt of the Blood,which, with such sweetness, has restored them(1P 1,18-19). "What fruit do they receive?"The fruit which I destine for them, constrained by the prayers of My servants,is that I give them light, and that I wake up in them the hound of conscience,and make them smell the odor of virtue, and take delight in the conversationof My servants. "Sometimes I allow the world to show them what it is, sothat, feeling its diverse and various passions, they may know how littlestability it has, and may come to lift their desire beyond it, and seek theirnative country, which is the Eternal Life. And so I draw them by these, andby many other ways, for the eye cannot see, nor the tongue relate, nor theheart think (1Co 2,9 Is 64,4), how many are the roads and ways which I use, through love alone,to lead them back to grace, so that My truth may be fulfilled in them. Iam constrained to do so by that inestimable love of Mine, by which I createdthem, and by the love, desire, and grief of My servants, since I am no despiserof their tears, and sweat, and humble prayers; rather I accept them, inasmuchas I am He who give them this love for the good of souls and grief for theirloss. But I do not, in general, grant to these others, for whom they pray,satisfaction for the penalty due to them, but, only for their guilt, sincethey are not disposed, on their side, to receive, with perfect love, My love,and that of My servants. They do not receive their grief with bitterness,and perfect contrition for the sins they have committed, but with imperfectlove and contrition, wherefore they have not, as others, remission of thepenalty, but only of the guilt; because such complete satisfaction requiresproper dispositions on both sides, both in him that gives and him that receives.Wherefore, since they are imperfect, they receive imperfectly the perfectionof the desires of those who offer them to Me, for their sakes, with suffering;and, inasmuch as I told you that they do receive remission, this is indeedthe truth, that, by that way which I have told you, that is, by the lightof conscience, and by other things, satisfaction is made for their guilt;for, beginning to learn, they vomit forth the corruption of their sins, andso receive the gift of grace. "These are they who are in a state of ordinarycharity, wherefore, if they have trouble, they receive it in the guise ofcorrection, and do not resist over much the clemency of the Holy Spirit,but, coming out of their sin, they receive the life of grace. But if, likefools, they are ungrateful, and ignore Me and the labors of My servants donefor them, that which was given them, through mercy, turns to their own ruinand judgment, not through defect of mercy, nor through defect of him whoimplored the mercy for the ingrate, but solely through the man's own wretchednessand hardness, with which, with the hands of his free will, he has coveredhis heart, as it were, with a diamond, which, if it be not broken by theBlood, can in no way be broken. And yet, I say to you, that, in spite ofhis hardness of heart, he can use his free will while he has time, prayingfor the Blood of My Son, and let him with his own hand apply It to the diamondover his heart and shiver it, and he will receive the imprint of the Bloodwhich has been paid for him. But, if he delays until the time be past, hehas no remedy, because he has not used the dowry which I gave him, givinghim memory so as to remember My benefits, intellect, so as to see and knowthe truth, affection, so that he should love Me, the Eternal Truth, whomhe would have known through the use of his intellect. This is the dowry whichI have given you all, and which ought to render fruit to Me, the Father;but, if a man barters and sells it to the devil, the devil, if he choose,has a right to seize on everything that he has acquired in this life. And,filling his memory with the delights of sin, and with the recollection ofshameful pride, avarice, self-love, hatred, and unkindness to his neighbors(being also a persecutor of My servants), with these miseries, he has obscuredhis intellect by his disordinate will. Let such as these receive the eternalpains, with their horrible stench, inasmuch as they have not satisfied fortheir sins with contrition and displeasure of their guilt. Now, therefore,you have understood how suffering satisfies for guilt by perfect contrition,not through the finite pain; and such as have this contrition in perfectionsatisfy not only for the guilt, but also for the penalty which follows theguilt, as I have already said when speaking in general; and if they satisfyfor the guilt alone, that is, if, having abandoned mortal sin, they receivegrace, and have not sufficient contrition and love to satisfy for the penaltyalso, they go to the pains of Purgatory, passing through the second and lastmeans of satisfaction. "So you see that satisfaction is made, through thedesire of the soul united to Me, who am the Infinite Good, in greater orless degree, according to the measure of love, obtained by the desire andprayer of the recipient. Wherefore, with that very same measure with whicha man measures to Me, do he receive in himself the measure of My goodness(Mt 7,2 Mc 4,24 Lc 6,38).Labor, therefore, to increase the fire of your desire, and let not a momentpass without crying to Me with humble voice, or without continual prayersbefore Me for your neighbors. I say this to you and to the father of yoursoul, whom I have given you on earth. Bear yourselves with manful courage,and make yourselves dead to all your own sensuality."
5"Very pleasing to Me, dearest daughter, is the willing desire to bear everypain and fatigue, even unto death, for the salvation of souls, for the morethe soul endures, the more she shows that she loves Me; loving Me she comesto know more of My truth, and the more she knows, the more pain and intolerablegrief she feels at the offenses committed against Me. You asked Me to sustainyou, and to punish the faults of others in you, and you did not remark thatyou were really asking for love, light, and knowledge of the truth, sinceI have already told you that, by the increase of love, grows grief and pain,wherefore he that grows in love grows in grief. Therefore, I say to you all,that you should ask, and it will be given you, for I deny nothing to himwho asks of Me in truth(Mt 7,7 Lc 11,9). Consider that the love of divine charity is so closelyjoined in the soul with perfect patience, that neither can leave the soulwithout the other. For this reason (if the soul elect to love Me) she shouldelect to endure pains for Me in whatever mode or circumstance I may sendthem to her. Patience cannot be proved in any other way than by suffering,and patience is united with love as has been said. Therefore bear yourselveswith manly courage, for, unless you do so, you will not prove yourselvesto be spouses of My Truth, and faithful children, nor of the company of thosewho relish the taste of My honor, and the salvation of souls."
6 "I wish also that you should know that every virtue is obtained by means of your neighbor, and likewise, every defect; he, therefore, who stands in hatred of Me, does an injury to his neighbor, and to himself, who is hisown chief neighbor, and this injury is both general and particular. It is general because you are obliged to love your neighbor as yourself(Mt 22,39 Mc 12,31 Lc 10,27), and loving him, you ought to help him spiritually, with prayer, counseling him with words, and assisting him both spiritually and temporally, according to the need in which he may be, at least with your goodwill if you have nothing else. A man therefore, who does not love, does not help him, and thereby does himself an injury; for he cuts off from himself grace, and injures his neighbor, by depriving him of the benefit of the prayers and of the sweet desires that he is bound to offer for him to Me. Thus, every act of help that he performs should proceed from the charity which he has through love of Me(Lc 10,27-37 Mt 22,37-40 Mc 12,29-31). And every evil also, is done by means of his neighbor, for, if he do not love Me, he cannot be in charity with his neighbor; and thus, all evils derive from the soul's deprivation of love of Me and her neighbor; whence, inasmuch as such a man does no good, it follows that he must do evil.To whom does he evil? First of all to himself, and then to his neighbor, not against Me, for no evil can touch Me, except in so far as I count done to Me that which he does to himself. To himself he does the injury of sin, which deprives him of grace, and worse than this he cannot do to his neighbor(Mt 25,40-45).Him he injures in not paying him the debt, which he owes him, of love, with which he ought to help him by means of prayer and holy desire offered to Me for him. This is an assistance which is owed in general to every rational creature; but its usefulness is more particular when it is done to those who are close at hand, under your eyes, as to whom, I say, you are all obliged to help one another by word and doctrine, and the example of good works,and in every other respect in which your neighbor may be seen to be in need; counseling him exactly as you would yourselves, without any passion of self-love; and he (a man not loving God) does not do this, because he has no love towards his neighbor; and, by not doing it, he does him, as you see, a special injury.And he does him evil, not only by not doing him the good that he might do him, but by doing him a positive injury and a constant evil. In this way sin causes a physical and a mental injury. The mental injury is already donewhen the sinner has conceived pleasure in the idea of sin, and hatred of virtue, that is, pleasure from sensual self-love, which has deprived him of the affection of love which he ought to have towards Me, and his neighbor,as has been said. And, after he has conceived, he brings forth one sin after another against his neighbor, according to the diverse ways which may please his perverse sensual will. Sometimes it is seen that he brings forth cruelty,and that both in general and in particular. "His general cruelty is to see himself and other creatures in danger of death and damnation through privation of grace, and so cruel is he that he reminds neither himself nor others ofthe love of virtue and hatred of vice. Being thus cruel he may wish to extend his cruelty still further, that is, not content with not giving an example of virtue, the villain also usurps the office of the demons, tempting, accordingto his power, his fellow-creatures to abandon virtue for vice; this is cruelty towards his neighbors, for he makes himself an instrument to destroy life and to give death. Cruelty towards the body has its origin in cupidity, whichnot only prevents a man from helping his neighbor, but causes him to seize the goods of others, robbing the poor creatures; sometimes this is done by the arbitrary use of power, and at other times by cheating and fraud, hisneighbor being forced to redeem, to his own loss, his own goods, and often indeed his own person. "Oh, miserable vice of cruelty, which will deprive the man who practices it of all mercy, unless he turn to kindness and benevolencetowards his neighbor! "Sometimes the sinner brings forth insults on which often follows murder; sometimes also impurity against the person of his neighbor, by which he becomes a brute beast full of stench, and in this case he doesnot poison one only, but whoever approaches him, with love or in conversation, is poisoned. "Against whom does pride bring forth evils? Against the neighbor, through love of one's own reputation, whence comes hatred of the neighbor,reputing one's self to be greater than he; and in this way is injury done to him. And if a man be in a position of authority, he produces also injustice and cruelty and becomes a retailer of the flesh of men. Oh, dearest daughter,grieve for the offense against Me, and weep over these corpses, so that, by prayer, the bands of their death may be loosened! "See now, that, in all places and in all kinds of people, sin is always produced against the neighbor,and through his medium; in no other way could sin ever be committed either secret or open. A secret sin is when you deprive your neighbor of that which you ought to give him; an open sin is where you perform positive acts ofsin, as I have related to you. It is, therefore, indeed the truth that every sin done against Me, is done through the medium of the neighbor."
"I have told you how all sins are accomplished by means of your neighbor, through the principles which I exposed to you, that is, because men are deprived of the affection of love, which gives light to every virtue. In the sameway self-love, which destroys charity and affection towards the neighbor, is the principle and foundation of every evil. All scandals, hatred, cruelty, and every sort of trouble proceed from this perverse root of self-love, whichhas poisoned the entire world, and weakened the mystical body of the Holy Church, and the universal body of the believers in the Christian religion; and, therefore, I said to you, that it was in the neighbor, that is to sayin the love of him, that all virtues were founded; and, truly indeed did I say to you, that charity gives life to all the virtues, because no virtue can be obtained without charity, which is the pure love of Me. "Wherefore,when the soul knows herself, as we have said above, she finds humility and hatred of her own sensual passion, for she learns the perverse law, which is bound up in her members, and which ever fights against the spirit(Rm 7,23 Ga 5,17). And,therefore, arising with hatred of her own sensuality, crushing it under the heel of reason, with great earnestness, she discovers in herself the bounty of My goodness, through the many benefits which she has received from Me,all of which she considers again in herself. She attributes to Me, through humility, the knowledge which she has obtained of herself, knowing that, by My grace, I have drawn her out of darkness and lifted her up into thelight of true knowledge. When she has recognized My goodness, she loves it without any medium, and yet at the same time with a medium, that is to say, without the medium of herself or of any advantage accruing to herself, andwith the medium of virtue, which she has conceived through love of Me, because she sees that, in no other way, can she become grateful and acceptable to Me, but by conceiving, hatred of sin and love of virtue; and, when she hasthus conceived by the affection of love, she immediately is delivered of fruit for her neighbor, because, in no other way, can she act out the truth she has conceived in herself, but, loving Me in truth, in the same truthshe serves her neighbor(1Co 12,4-6). "And it cannot be otherwise, because love of Me and of her neighbor are one and the same thing, and, so far as the soul loves Me, she loves her neighbor, because love towards him issues from Me. Thisis the means which I have given you, that you may exercise and prove your virtue therewith; because, inasmuch as you can do Me no profit, you should do it to your neighbor. This proves that you possess Me by grace in yoursoul, producing much fruit for your neighbor and making prayers to Me, seeking with sweet and amorous desire My honor and the salvation of souls. The soul, enamored of My truth, never ceases to serve the whole world in general, andmore or less in a particular case according to the disposition of the recipient and the ardent desire of the donor, as I have shown above, when I declared to you that the endurance of suffering alone, without desire, was not sufficientto punish a fault. "When she has discovered the advantage of this unitive love in Me, by means of which, she truly loves herself, extending her desire for the salvation of the whole world, thus coming to the aid of its neediness,she strives, inasmuch as she has done good to herself by the conception of virtue, from which she has drawn the life of grace, to fix her eye on the needs of her neighbor in particular. Wherefore, when she has discovered,through the affection of love, the state of all rational creatures in general, she helps those who are at hand, according to the various graces which I have entrusted to her to administer; one she helps with doctrine, that is,with words, giving sincere counsel without any respect of persons, another with the example of a good life, and this indeed all give to their neighbor, the edification of a holy and honorable life. These are the virtues, andmany others, too many to enumerate, which are brought forth in the love of the neighbor; but, although I have given them in such a different way, that is to say not all to one, but to one, one virtue, and to another, another,it so happens that it is impossible to have one, without having them all, because all the virtues are bound together. Wherefore, learn, that, in many cases I give one virtue, to be as it were the chief of the others, that isto say, to one I will give principally love, to another justice, to another humility, to one a lively faith, to another prudence or temperance, or patience, to another fortitude. These, and many other virtues, I place, indifferently,in the souls of many creatures; it happens, therefore, that the particular one so placed in the soul becomes the principal object of its virtue; the soul disposing herself, for her chief conversation, to this rather than toother virtues, and, by the effect of this virtue, the soul draws to herself all the other virtues, which, as has been said, are all bound together in the affection of love; and so with many gifts and graces of virtue, and notonly in the case of spiritual things but also of temporal. I use the word temporal for the things necessary to the physical life of man; all these I have given indifferently, and I have not placed them all in one soul, inorder that man should, perforce, have material for love of his fellow. I could easily have created men possessed of all that they should need both for body and soul, but I wish that one should have need of the other, andthat they should be My ministers to administer the graces and the gifts that they have received from Me. Whether man will or no, he cannot help making an act of love. It is true, however, that that act, unless made through loveof Me, profits him nothing so far as grace is concerned. See then, that I have made men My ministers, and placed them in diverse stations and various ranks, in order that they may make use of the virtue of love. "Wherefore,I show you that in My house are many mansions (Jn 14,2), and that I wish for no other thing than love, for in the love of Me is fulfilled and completed the love of the neighbor, and the law observed (Mt 22,37-40 Mc 12,28-31). For he, only, can be of use in hisstate of life, who is bound to Me with this love."
"Up to the present, I have taught you how a man may serve his neighbor, andmanifest, by that service, the love which he has towards Me. "Now I wishto tell you further, that a man proves his patience on his neighbor, whenhe receives injuries from him. "Similarly, he proves his humility on a proudman, his faith on an infidel, his true hope on one who despairs, his justiceon the unjust, his kindness on the cruel, his gentleness and benignity onthe irascible. Good men produce and prove all their virtues on their neighbor,just as perverse men all their vices; thus, if you consider well, humilityis proved on pride in this way. The humble man extinguishes pride, becausea proud man can do no harm to a humble one; neither can the infidelity ofa wicked man, who neither loves Me, nor hopes in Me, when brought forth againstone who is faithful to Me, do him any harm; his infidelity does not diminishthe faith or the hope of him who has conceived his faith and hope throughlove of Me, it rather fortifies it, and proves it in the love he feels forhis neighbor. For, he sees that the infidel is unfaithful, because he iswithout hope in Me, and in My servant, because he does not love Me, placinghis faith and hope rather in his own sensuality, which is all that he loves.My faithful servant does not leave him because he does not faithfully loveMe, or because he does not constantly seek, with hope in Me, for his salvation,inasmuch as he sees clearly the causes of his infidelity and lack of hope.The virtue of faith is proved in these and other ways. Wherefore, to those,who need the proof of it, My servant proves his faith in himself and in hisneighbor, and so, justice is not diminished by the wicked man's injustice,but is rather proved, that is to say, the justice of a just man. Similarly,the virtues of patience, benignity, and kindness manifest themselves in atime of wrath by the same sweet patience in My servants, and envy, vexation,and hatred demonstrate their love, and hunger and desire for the salvationof souls(2Co 12,9-10). I say, also, to you, that, not only is virtue proved in those whorender good for evil, but, that many times a good man gives back fiery coalsof love, which dispel the hatred and rancor of heart of the angry, and sofrom hatred often comes benevolence, and that this is by virtue of the loveand perfect patience which is in him, who sustains the anger of the wicked,bearing and supporting his defects. If you will observe the virtues of fortitudeand perseverance, these virtues are proved by the long endurance of the injuriesand detractions of wicked men, who, whether by injuries or by flattery,constantly endeavor to turn a man aside from following the road and the doctrineof truth(Rm 12,17 Rm 12,20-21). Wherefore, in all these things, the virtue of fortitude conceivedwithin the soul, perseveres with strength, and, in addition proves itselfexternally upon the neighbor, as I have said to you; and, if fortitude werenot able to make that good proof of itself, being tested by many contrarieties,it would not be a serious virtue founded in truth."
A TREATISE OF DISCRETION