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18. If physical objects please you, praise God for them, but turn back your
love to their Creator, lest, in those things which please you, you displease
him. If souls please you, let them be loved in God; for in themselves they are
mutable, but in him firmly established--without him they would simply cease
to exist. In him, then, let them be loved; and bring along to him with yourself
as many souls as you can, and say to them: "Let us love him, for he himself
created all these, and he is not far away from them. For he did not create them,
and then go away. They are of him and in him. Behold, there he is, wherever
truth is known. He is within the inmost heart, yet the heart has wandered away
from him. Return to your heart, O you transgressors, and hold fast to him who
made you. Stand with him and you shall stand fast. Rest in him and you shall
be at rest. Where do you go along these rugged paths? Where are you going? The
good that you love is from him, and insofar as it is also for him, it is both
good and pleasant. But it will rightly be turned to bitterness if whatever comes
from him is not rightly loved and if he is deserted for the love of the creature.
Why then will you wander farther and farther in these difficult and toilsome
ways? There is no rest where you seek it. Seek what you seek; but remember that
it is not where you seek it. You seek for a blessed life in the land of death.
It is not there. For how can there be a blessed life where life itself is not?"
19. But our very Life came down to earth and bore our death,
and slew it with the very abundance of his own life. And,
thundering, he called us to return to him into that secret
place from which he came forth to us--coming first into
the virginal womb, where the human creature, our mortal
flesh, was joined to him that it might not be forever mortal--and
came "as a bridegroom coming out his chamber, rejoicing
as a strong man to run a race." For he did not delay, but ran
through the world, crying out by words, deeds, death, life,
descent, ascension--crying aloud to us to return to him.
And he departed from our sight that we might return to our
hearts and find him there. For he left us, and behold, he
is here. He could not be with us long, yet he did not leave
us. He went back to the place that he had never left, for
"the world was made by him."
In this world he was, and into this world he came, to save
sinners. To him my soul confesses, and he heals it, because
it had sinned against him. O sons of men, how long will
you be so slow of heart? Even now after Life itself has
come down to you, will you not ascend and live? But where
will you climb if you are already on a pinnacle and have
set your mouth against the heavens? First come down that
you may climb up, climb up to God. For you have fallen by
trying to climb against him. Tell this to the souls you
love that they may weep in the valley of tears, and so bring
them along with you to God, because it is by his spirit
that you speak thus to them, if, as you speak, you burn
with the fire of love.