Part One:

A TREATISE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE

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. The first was for herself; the second for the
reformation of the Holy Church; 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; 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.

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How the desire of this soul grew 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 offered to God, a fire
descended and drew to Him the sacrifice that was acceptable to Him; so did the sweet
Truth to that soul, in sending down the fire of the clemency of the Holy Spirit,
seizing the sacrifice of desire that she made of herself, saying: "Do you not know,
dear daughter, that all the sufferings, which the soul endures, or can endure, in this
life, are insufficient to punish one smallest fault, because the offense, being done to
Me, who am the Infinite Good, calls for an infinite satisfaction?

However, I wish that you should know, that not all the pains that are given to men in this life arr given as punishments, but as corrections, in order to chastise a son when he offends;though it is true that both the guilt and the penalty can be expiated by the desire of the soul, that is, by true contrition, not through the finite pain endured, but through the infinite desire; because God, who is infinite, wishes for infinite love and infinite grief.

Infinite grief I wish from My creature in two ways: in one way, through her
sorrow for her own sins, which she has committed against Me her Creator; in the
other way, through her sorrow for the sins which she sees her neighbors commit
against Me. Of such as these, inasmuch as they have infinite desire, that is, are
joined to Me by an affection of love, and therefore grieve when they offend Me, or
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see Me offended, their every pain, whether spiritual or corporeal, from wherever it
may come, receives infinite merit, and satisfies for a guilt which deserved an
infinite penalty, although their works are finite and done in finite time; but,
inasmuch as they possess the virtue of desire, and sustain their suffering with
desire, and contrition, and infinite displeasure against their 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 and gave my body to be burned, and have not love, it
would be worth nothing to me. The glorious Apostle thus shows that finite works
are not valid, either as punishment or recompense, without the condiment of the
affection of love."

How desire and contrition of heart satisfies, both for the guilt and the penalty in
oneself and in others; and how sometimes it satisfies for the guilt only, and
not the penalty.
"I have shown you, dearest daughter, that the guilt is not punished in this finite
time by any pain which is sustained purely as such. And I say, that the 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 of the 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, in so far as the soul has drawn her love from Him, and
virtuously follows His virtues, that is, His Footprints. In this way, and in no other,
are virtues of value, and in this way, pains satisfy for the fault, by the sweet and
intimate love acquired in the knowledge of My goodness, and in the bitterness and
contrition of heart acquired by knowledge of one's self and one's own thoughts.
And this knowledge generates a hatred and displeasure against sin, and against the
soul's own sensuality, through which, she deems herself worthy of pains and
unworthy of reward."

The sweet Truth continued: "See how, by contrition of the heart, together with love,
with true patience, and with true humility, deeming themselves worthy of pain and
unworthy of reward, such souls endure the patient humility in which consists the
above-mentioned satisfaction. You ask me, then, for pains, so that I may receive
satisfaction for the offenses, which are done against Me by My Creatures, and you
further ask the will to know and love Me, who am the Supreme Truth. Wherefore I
reply that this is the way, if you will arrive at a perfect knowledge and enjoyment of
Me, the Eternal Truth, that you should never go outside the knowledge of yourself,
and, by humbling yourself in the valley of humility, you will know 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, and humility, which is the
foster-mother and nurse of charity. In self-knowledge, then, you will humble
yourself, seeing that, in yourself, you do not even exist; for your very being, as you
will learn, is derived from Me, since I 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 you to Grace, I have washed you, and re-created you in the Blood of My
only-begotten Son, spilt with so great a fire of love. This Blood teaches the truth to
him, who, by self-knowledge, dissipates the cloud of self-love, and in no other way
can he learn.
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Then the soul will inflame herself in this knowledge of Me with an
ineffable love, through which love she continues in constant pain; not, however, a
pain which afflicts or dries up the soul, but one which rather fattens her; for since
she has known My truth, and her own faults, and the ingratitude of men, she
endures intolerable suffering, grieving because she loves Me; for, if she did not love
Me, she would not be obliged to do so; whence it follows immediately, that it is right
for you, and My other servants 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 glory and praise of My Name; thus will you endure and suffer pains. Do you,
therefore, and My other servants, carry yourselves with true patience, with grief for
your sins, and with love of virtue for the glory and praise of My Name. If you 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 the virtue of love, for
satisfaction and reward, both in you and in others. In yourself you will receive the
fruit of life, when the stains of your ignorance are effaced, and I shall not remember
that you ever offended Me. In others I will satisfy through the love and affection
which you have to Me, and I will give to them according to the disposition with
which they will receive My gifts. In particular, to those who dispose themselves,
humbly and with reverence, to receive the doctrine of My servants, will I remit both
guilt and penalty, since they will thus come to true knowledge and contrition for
their 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 their sins. See, however, the condition,
namely, that their obstinacy should not be so great in their despair as to condemn
them through contempt of the Blood, which, with such sweetness, has restored
them.

"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 conversation of My
servants.
"Sometimes I allow the world to show them what it is, so that, feeling its diverse
and various passions, they may know how little stability it has, and may come to lift
their desire beyond it, and seek their native country, which is the Eternal Life. And
so I draw them by these, and by many other ways, for the eye cannot see, nor the
tongue relate, nor the heart think, 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. I am constrained to do so by that inestimable love of Mine, by which I created
them, and by the love, desire, and grief of My servants, since I am no despiser of
their tears, and sweat, and humble prayers; rather I accept them, inasmuch as I am
He who give them this love for the good of souls and grief for their loss. 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, since they 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 imperfect love and contrition, wherefore they have not, as others,
remission of the penalty, but only of the guilt; because such complete satisfaction
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requires proper dispositions on both sides, both in him that gives and him that
receives.

Wherefore, since they are imperfect, they receive imperfectly the perfection
of 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 indeed the truth, that,
by that way which I have told you, that is, by the light of conscience, and by other
things, satisfaction is made for their guilt; for, beginning to learn, they vomit forth
the corruption of their sins, and so receive the gift of grace.

"These are they who are in a state of ordinary charity, wherefore, if they have
trouble, they receive it in the guise of correction, 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, like fools, they are ungrateful, and ignore Me and the labors of My
servants done for them, that which was given them, through mercy, turns to their
own ruin and judgment, not through defect of mercy, nor through defect of him
who implored the mercy for the ingrate, but solely through the man's own
wretchedness and hardness, with which, with the hands of his free will, he has
covered his heart, as it were, with a diamond, which, if it be not broken by the
Blood, can in no way be broken. And yet, I say to you, that, in spite of his hardness of
heart, he can use his free will while he has time, praying for the Blood of My Son,
and let him with his own hand apply It to the diamond over his heart and shiver it,
and he will receive the imprint of the Blood which has been paid for him. But, if he
delays until the time be past, he has no remedy, because he has not used the dowry
which I gave him, giving him memory so as to remember My benefits, intellect, so
as to see and know the truth, affection, so that he should love Me, the Eternal Truth,
whom he would have known through the use of his intellect. This is the dowry
which I 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 of shameful pride, avarice, self-love,
hatred, and unkindness to his neighbors (being also a persecutor of My servants),
with these miseries, he has obscured his intellect by his disordinate will. Let such as
these receive the eternal pains, with their horrible stench, inasmuch as they have
not satisfied for their 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 perfection satisfy not
only for the guilt, but also for the penalty which follows the guilt, as I have already
said when speaking in general; and if they satisfy for the guilt alone, that is, if,
having abandoned mortal sin, they receive grace, and have not sufficient contrition
and love to satisfy for the penalty also, they go to the pains of Purgatory, passing
through the second and last means of satisfaction.

"So you see that satisfaction is made, through the desire of the soul united to Me,
who am the Infinite Good, in greater or less degree, according to the measure of
love, obtained by the desire and prayer of the recipient. Wherefore, with that very
same measure with which a man measures to Me, do he receive in himself the
measure of My goodness. Labor, therefore, to increase the fire of your desire, and let
not a moment pass without crying to Me with humble voice, or without continual
prayers before Me for your neighbors. I say this to you and to the father of your soul,
whom I have given you on earth. Bear yourselves with manful courage, and make
yourselves dead to all your own sensuality."
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How very pleasing to God is the willing desire to suffer for Him.
"Very pleasing to Me, dearest daughter, is the willing desire to bear every pain and
fatigue, even unto death, for the salvation of souls, for the more the soul endures,
the more she shows that she loves Me; loving Me she comes to know more of My
truth, and the more she knows, the more pain and intolerable grief she feels at the
offenses committed against Me. You asked Me to sustain you, and to punish the
faults of others in you, and you did not remark that you were really asking for love,
light, and knowledge of the truth, since I 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 him who asks of Me in truth. Consider that the love of divine charity is
so closely joined in the soul with perfect patience, that neither can leave the soul
without the other. For this reason (if the soul elect to love Me) she should elect to
endure pains for Me in whatever mode or circumstance I may send them 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 yourselves with manly courage, for,
unless you do so, you will not prove yourselves to be spouses of My Truth, and
faithful children, nor of the company of those who relish the taste of My honor, and
the salvation of souls."

How every virtue and every defect is obtained by means of our neighbor.
"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 his own chief neighbor, and this
injury is both general and particular. It is general because you are obliged to love
your neighbor as yourself, 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. 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. 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,
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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 done when 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 of the 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,
according to 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, which not 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, his neighbor 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 benevolence towards 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 does not 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 of
sin, 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."
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How virtues are accomplished by means of our neighbor, and how it is that virtues
differ to such an extent in creatures.
"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 same way 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, which has 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
say in 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. 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 the light 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, and with 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 has thus 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 truth she serves her
neighbor.

"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. This is 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 your soul, 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,
and more 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 sufficient to 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
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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, and many 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 is to 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 to other 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 not
only 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, in order 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, and that 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 love of
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, 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. For he, only, can be of use in his state of life,
who is bound to Me with this love."
How virtues are proved and fortified by their contraries.
"Up to the present, I have taught you how a man may serve his neighbor, and
manifest, by that service, the love which he has towards Me.
"Now I wish to tell you further, that a man proves his patience on his neighbor,
when he receives injuries from him.
"Similarly, he proves his humility on a proud man, his faith on an infidel, his true
hope on one who despairs, his justice on the unjust, his kindness on the cruel, his
gentleness and benignity on the irascible. Good men produce and prove all their
virtues on their neighbor, just as perverse men all their vices; thus, if you consider
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well, humility is proved on pride in this way. The humble man extinguishes pride,
because a proud man can do no harm to a humble one; neither can the infidelity of
a wicked man, who neither loves Me, nor hopes in Me, when brought forth against
one who is faithful to Me, do him any harm; his infidelity does not diminish the
faith or the hope of him who has conceived his faith and hope through love of Me,
it rather fortifies it, and proves it in the love he feels for his neighbor. For, he sees
that the infidel is unfaithful, because he is without hope in Me, and in My servant,
because he does not love Me, placing his 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 love Me, 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 his
neighbor, 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 a time of wrath by the
same sweet patience in My servants, and envy, vexation, and hatred demonstrate
their love, and hunger and desire for the salvation of souls. I say, also, to you, that,
not only is virtue proved in those who render good for evil, but, that many times a
good man gives back fiery coals of love, which dispel the hatred and rancor of heart
of the angry, and so from hatred often comes benevolence, and that this is by virtue
of the love and 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
fortitude and perseverance, these virtues are proved by the long endurance of the
injuries and detractions of wicked men, who, whether by injuries or by flattery,
constantly endeavor to turn a man aside from following the road and the doctrine
of truth. Wherefore, in all these things, the virtue of fortitude conceived within the
soul, perseveres with strength, and, in addition proves itself externally upon the
neighbor, as I have said to you; and, if fortitude were not able to make that good
proof of itself, being tested by many contrarieties, it would not be a serious virtue
founded in truth."

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A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
How the affection should not place reliance chiefly on penance, but rather on
virtues; and how discretion receives life from humility, and renders to each
man his due.
"These are the holy and sweet works which I seek from My servants; these are the
proved intrinsic virtues of the soul, as I have told you. They not only consist of
those virtues which are done by means of the body, that is, with an exterior act, or
with diverse and varied penances, which are the instruments of virtue; works of
penance performed alone without the above-mentioned virtues would please Me
little; often, indeed, if the soul perform not her penance with discretion, that is to
say, if her affection be placed principally in the penance she has undertaken, her
perfection will be impeded; she should rather place reliance on the affection of love,
with a holy hatred of herself, accompanied by true humility and perfect patience,
together with the other intrinsic virtues of the soul, with hunger and desire for My
honor and the salvation of souls. For these virtues demonstrate that the will is
dead, and continually slays its own sensuality through the affection of love of
virtue. With this discretion, then, should the soul perform her penance, that is, she
should place her principal affection in virtue rather than in penance. Penance
should be but the means to increase virtue according to the needs of the individual,
and according to what the soul sees she can do in the measure of her own
possibility. Otherwise, if the soul place her foundation on penance she will
contaminate her own perfection, because her penance will not be done in the light
of knowledge of herself and of My goodness, with discretion, and she will not seize
hold of My truth; neither loving that which I love, nor hating that which I hate.
This virtue of discretion is no other than a true knowledge which the soul should
have of herself and of Me, and in this knowledge is virtue rooted. Discretion is the
only child of self-knowledge, and, wedding with charity, has indeed many other
descendants, as a tree which has many branches; but that which gives life to the tree,
to its branches, and its root, is the ground of humility, in which it is planted, which
humility is the foster-mother and nurse of charity, by whose means this tree
remains in the perpetual calm of discretion. Because otherwise the tree would not
produce the virtue of discretion, or any fruit of life, if it were not planted in the
virtue of humility, because humility proceeds from self-knowledge. And I have
already said to you, that the root of discretion is a real knowledge of self and of My
goodness, by which the soul immediately, and discreetly, renders to each one his
due. Chiefly to Me in rendering praise and glory to My Name, and in referring to Me
the graces and the gifts which she sees and knows she has received from Me; and
rendering to herself that which she sees herself to have merited, knowing that she
does not even exist of herself, and attributing to Me, and not to herself, her being,
which she knows she has received by grace from Me, and every other grace which
she has received besides.

"And she seems to herself to be ungrateful for so many benefits, and negligent, in
that she has not made the most of her time, and the graces she has received, and so
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seems to herself worthy of suffering; wherefore she becomes odious and displeasing
to herself through her guilt. And this founds the virtue of discretion on knowledge
of self, that is, on true humility, for, were this humility not in the soul, the soul
would be indiscreet, indiscretion being founded on pride, as discretion is on
humility.
"An indiscreet soul robs Me of the honor due to Me, and attributes it to herself,
through vainglory, and that which is really her own she imputes to Me, grieving
and murmuring concerning My mysteries, with which I work in her soul and in
those of My other creatures; wherefore everything in Me and in her neighbor is
cause of scandal to her. Contrariwise those who possess the virtue of discretion. For,
when they have rendered what is due to Me and to themselves, they proceed to
render to their neighbor their principal debt of love, and of humble and continuous
prayer, which all should pay to each other, and further, the debt of doctrine, and
example of a holy and honorable life, counseling and helping others according to
their needs for salvation, as I said to you above. Whatever rank a man be in,
whether that of a noble, a prelate, or a servant, if he have this virtue, everything
that he does to his neighbor is done discreetly and lovingly, because these virtues
are bound and mingled together, and both planted in the ground of humility which
proceeds from self-knowledge."

A parable showing how love, humility, and discretion are united; and how the soul
should conform herself to this parable.
"Do you know how these three virtues stand together? It is, as if a circle were drawn
on the surface of the earth, and a tree, with an off-shoot joined to its side, grew in
the center of the circle. The tree is nourished in the earth contained in the diameter
of the circle, for if the tree were out of the earth it would die, and give no fruit. Now,
consider, in the same way, that the soul is a tree existing by love, and that it can live
by nothing else than love; and, that if this soul have not in very truth the divine
love of perfect charity, she cannot produce fruit of life, but only of death. It is
necessary then, that the root of this tree, that is the affection of the soul, should grow
in, and issue from the circle of true self-knowledge which is contained in Me, who
have neither beginning nor end, like the circumference of the circle, for, turn as you
will within a circle, inasmuch as the circumference has neither end nor beginning,
you always remain within it.

"This knowledge of yourself and of Me is found in the earth of true humility, which
is as wide as the diameter of the circle, that is as the knowledge of self and of Me (for,
otherwise, the circle would not be without end and beginning, but would have its
beginning in knowledge of self, and its end in confusion, if this knowledge were not
contained in Me). Then the tree of love feeds itself on humility, bringing forth from
its side the off-shoot of true discretion, in the way that I have already told you, from
the heart of the tree, that is the affection of love which is in the soul, and the
patience, which proves that I am in the soul and the soul in Me. This tree then, so
sweetly planted, produces fragrant blossoms of virtue, with many scents of great
variety, inasmuch as the soul renders fruit of grace and of utility to her neighbor,
according to the zeal of those who come to receive fruit from My servants; and to
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Me she renders the sweet odor of glory and praise to My Name, and so fulfills the
object of her creation.
"In this way, therefore, she reaches the term of her being, that is Myself, her God,
who am Eternal Life. And these fruits cannot be taken from her without her will,
inasmuch as they are all flavored with discretion, because they are all united, as has
been said above."
How penance and other corporal exercises are to be taken as instruments for
arriving at virtue, and not as the principal affection of the soul; and of the
light of discretion in various other modes and operations.
"These are the fruits and the works which I seek from the soul, the proving,
namely, of virtue in the time of need. And yet some time ago, if you remember,
when you were desirous of doing great penance for My sake, asking, 'What can I do
to endure suffering for You, oh Lord?' I replied to you, speaking in your mind, 'I
take delight in few words and many works.' I wished to show you that he who
merely calls on me with the sound of words, saying: 'Lord, Lord, I would do
something for You,' and he, who desires for My sake to mortify his body with many
penances, and not his own will, did not give Me much pleasure; but that I desired
the manifold works of manly endurance with patience, together with the other
virtues, which I have mentioned to you above, intrinsic to the soul, all of which
must be in activity in order to obtain fruits worthy of grace. All other works,
founded on any other principle than this, I judge to be a mere calling with words,
because they are finite works, and I, who am Infinite, seek infinite works, that is an
infinite perfection of love.

"I wish therefore that the works of penance, and of other corporal exercises, should
be observed merely as means, and not as the fundamental affection of the soul. For,
if the principal affection of the soul were placed in penance, I should receive a finite
thing like a word, which, when it has issued from the mouth, is no more, unless it
have issued with affection of the soul, which conceives and brings forth virtue in
truth; that is, unless the finite operation, which I have called a word, should be
joined with the affection or love, in which case it would be grateful and pleasant to
Me. And this is because such a work would not be alone, but accompanied by true
discretion, using corporal works as means, and not as the principal foundation; for it
would not be becoming that that principal foundation should be placed in penance
only, or in any exterior corporal act, such works being finite, since they are done in
finite time, and also because it is often profitable that the creature omit them, and
even that she be made to do so.

"Wherefore, when the soul omits them through necessity, being unable through
various circumstances to complete an action which she has begun, or, as may
frequently happen, through obedience at the order of her director, it is well; since, if
she continued then to do them, she not only would receive no merit, but would
offend Me; thus you see that they are merely finite. She ought, therefore, to adopt
them as a means, and not as an end. For, if she takes them as an end she will be
obliged, some time or other, to leave them, and will then remain empty. This, My
trumpeter, the glorious Paul, taught you when he said in his epistle, that you

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should mortify the body and destroy self-will, knowing, that is to say, how to keep
the rein on the body, macerating the flesh whenever it should wish to combat the
spirit, but the will should be dead and annihilated in everything, and subject to My
will, and this slaying of the will is that due which, as I told you, the virtue of
discretion renders to the soul, that is to say, hatred and disgust of her own offenses
and sensuality, which are acquired by self-knowledge. This is the knife which slays
and cuts off all self-love founded in self-will. These then are they who give Me not
only words but manifold works, and in these I take delight. And then I said that I
desired few words, and many actions; by the use of the word 'many' I assign no
particular number to you, because the affection of the soul, founded in love, which
gives life to all the virtues and good works, should increase infinitely, and yet I do
not, by this, exclude words, I merely said that I wished few of them, showing you
that every actual operation, as such, was finite, and therefore I called them of little
account; but they please Me when they are performed as the instruments of virtue,
and not as a principal end in themselves.

"However, no one should judge that he has greater perfection, because he performs
great penances, and gives himself in excess to the slaying of his body, than he who
does less, inasmuch as neither virtue nor merit consists therein; for otherwise he
would be in an evil case, who, from some legitimate reason, was unable to do actual
penance. Merit consists in the virtue of love alone, flavored with the light of true
discretion, without which the soul is worth nothing. And this love should be
directed to Me endlessly, boundlessly, since I am the Supreme and Eternal Truth.
The soul can therefore place neither laws nor limits to her love for Me; but her love
for her neighbor, on the contrary, is ordered in certain conditions. The light of
discretion (which proceeds from love, as I have told you) gives to the neighbor a
conditioned love, one that, being ordered aright, does not cause the injury of sin to
self in order to be useful to others, for, if one single sin were committed to save the
whole world from Hell, or to obtain one great virtue, the motive would not be a
rightly ordered or discreet love, but rather indiscreet, for it is not lawful to perform
even one act of great virtue and profit to others, by means of the guilt of sin. Holy
discretion ordains that the soul should direct all her powers to My service with a
manly zeal, and, that she should love her neighbor with such devotion that she
would lay down a thousand times, if it were possible, the life of her body for the
salvation of souls, enduring pains and torments so that her neighbor may have the
life of grace, and giving her temporal substance for the profit and relief of his body.
"This is the supreme office of discretion which proceeds from charity. So you see
how discreetly every soul, who wishes for grace, should pay her debts, that is, should
love Me with an infinite love and without measure, but her neighbor with
measure, with a restricted love, as I have said, not doing herself the injury of sin in
order to be useful to others. This is St. Paul's counsel to you when he says that
charity ought to be concerned first with self, otherwise it will never be of perfect
utility to others. Because, when perfection is not in the soul, everything which the
soul does for itself and for others is imperfect. It would not, therefore, be just that
creatures, who are finite and created by Me, should be saved through offense done to
Me, who am the Infinite Good. The more serious the fault is in such a case, the less
fruit will the action produce; therefore, in no way should you ever incur the guilt of
sin.

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"And this true love knows well, because she carries with herself the light of holy
discretion, that light which dissipates all darkness, takes away ignorance, and is the
condiment of every instrument of virtue. Holy discretion is a prudence which
cannot be cheated, a fortitude which cannot be beaten, a perseverance from end to
end, stretching from Heaven to earth, that is, from knowledge of Me to knowledge
of self, and from love of Me to love of others. And the soul escapes dangers by her
true humility, and, by her prudence, flies all the nets of the world and its creatures,
and, with unarmed hands, that is through much endurance, discomfits the devil
and the flesh with this sweet and glorious light; knowing, by it, her own fragility,
she renders to her weakness its due of hatred.

"Wherefore she has trampled on the world, and placed it under the feet of her
affection, despising it, and holding it vile, and thus becoming lord of it, holding it as
folly. And the men of the world cannot take her virtues from such a soul, but all
their persecutions increase her virtues and prove them, which virtues have been at
first conceived by the virtue of love, as has been said, and then are proved on her
neighbor, and bring forth their fruit on him. Thus have I shown you, that, if virtue
were not visible and did not shine in the time of trial, it would not have been truly
conceived; for, I have already told you, that perfect virtue cannot exist and give fruit
except by means of the neighbor, even as a woman, who has conceived a child, if she
do not bring it forth, so that it may appear before the eyes of men, deprives her
husband of his fame of paternity. It is the same with Me, who am the Spouse of the
soul, if she do not produce the child of virtue, in the love of her neighbor, showing
her child to him who is in need, both in general and in particular, as I have said to
you before, so I declare now that, in truth, she has not conceived virtue at all; and
this is also true of the vices, all of which are committed by means of the neighbor."
How this soul grew by means of the divine response, and how her sorrows grew
less, and how she prayed to God for the Holy Church, and for her own people.
"Then that soul, thirsting and burning with the very great desire that she had
conceived on learning the ineffable love of God, shown in His great goodness, and,
seeing the breadth of His charity, that, with such sweetness, He had deigned to reply
to her request and to satisfy it, giving hope to the sorrow which she had conceived,
on account of offenses against God, and the damage of the Holy Church, and
through His own mercy, which she saw through self-knowledge, diminished, and
yet, at the same time, increased her sorrow.

"For, the Supreme and Eternal Father, in manifesting the way of perfection, showed
her anew her own guilt, and the loss of souls, as has been said more fully above.
Also because in the knowledge which the soul obtains of herself, she knows more of
God, and knowing the goodness of God in herself, the sweet mirror of God, she
knows her own dignity and indignity. Her dignity is that of her creation, seeing that
she is the image of God, and this has been given her by grace, and not as her due. In
that same mirror of the goodness of God, the soul knows her own indignity, which
is the consequence of her own fault. Wherefore, as a man more readily sees spots on
his face when he looks in a mirror, so, the soul who, with true knowledge of self,
rises with desire, and gazes with the eye of the intellect at herself in the sweet mirror
of God, knows better the stains of her own face, by the purity which she sees in Him.

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"Wherefore, because light and knowledge increased in that soul in the aforesaid
way, a sweet sorrow grew in her, and at the same time, her sorrow was diminished
by the hope which the Supreme Truth gave her, and, as fire grows when it is fed
with wood, so grew the fire in that soul to such an extent that it was no longer
possible for the body to endure it without the departure of the soul; so that, had she
not been surrounded by the strength of Him who is the Supreme Strength, it would
not have been possible for her to have lived any longer. This soul then, being
purified by the fire of divine love, which she found in the knowledge of herself and
of God, and her hunger for the salvation of the whole world, and for the
reformation of the Holy Church, having grown with her hope of obtaining the
same, rose with confidence before the Supreme Father, showing Him the leprosy of
the Holy Church, and the misery of the world, saying, as if with the words of Moses,
'My Lord, turn the eyes of Your mercy upon Your people, and upon the mystical
body of the Holy Church, for You will be the more glorified if You pardon so many
creatures, and give to them the light of knowledge, since all will render You praise
when they see themselves escape through Your infinite goodness from the clouds of
mortal sin, and from eternal damnation; and then You will not only be praised by
my wretched self, who have so much offended You, and who am the cause and the
instrument of all this evil, for which reason I pray Your divine and eternal love to
take Your revenge on me, and to do mercy to Your people, and never will I depart
from before Your presence until I see that you grant them mercy. For what is it to
me if I have life, and Your people death, and the clouds of darkness cover Your
spouse, when it is my own sins, and not those of Your other creatures, that are the
principal cause of this? I desire, then, and beg of You, by Your grace, that You have
mercy on Your people, and I adjure You that You do this by Your uncreated love
which moved You Yourself to create man in Your image and similitude, saying,
"Let us make man in our own image," and this You did, oh eternal Trinity, that
man might participate in everything belonging to You, the most high and eternal
Trinity.'

"Wherefore You gave him memory in order to receive Your benefits, by which he
participates in the power of the Eternal Father; and intellect that he might know,
seeing Your goodness, and so might participate in the wisdom of Your only-begotten
Son; and will, that he might love that which his intellect has seen and known of
Your truth, thus participating in the clemency of Your Holy Spirit. What reason had
You for creating man in such dignity? The inestimable love with which You saw
Your creature in Yourself, and became enamored of him, for You created him
through love, and destined him to be such that he might taste and enjoy Your
Eternal Good. I see therefore that through his sin he lost this dignity in which You
originally placed him, and by his rebellion against You, fell into a state of war with
Your kindness, that is to say, we all became Your enemies.
"Therefore, You, moved by that same fire of love with which You created him,
willingly gave man a means of reconciliation, so that after the great rebellion into
which he had fallen, there should come a great peace; and so You gave him the
only-begotten Word, Your Son, to be the Mediator between us and You. He was our
Justice, for He took on Himself all our offenses and injustices, and performed Your
obedience, Eternal Father, which You imposed on Him, when You clothed Him
with our humanity, our human nature and likeness. Oh, abyss of love! What heart
can help breaking when it sees such dignity as Yours descend to such lowliness as

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our humanity? We are Your image, and You have become ours, by this union
which You have accomplished with man, veiling the Eternal Deity with the cloud
of woe, and the corrupted clay of Adam. For what reason? -- Love. Wherefore, You,
O God, have become man, and man has become God. By this ineffable love of Yours,
therefore, I constrain You, and implore You that You do mercy to Your creatures."
How God grieves over the Christian people, and particularly over His ministers;
and touches on the subject of the Sacrament of Christ's Body, and the benefit
of the Incarnation.

Then God, turning the eye of His mercy towards her, allowing Himself to be
constrained by her tears, and bound by the chain of her holy desire, replied with
lamentation -- "My sweetest daughter, your tears constrain Me, because they are
joined with My love, and fall for love of Me, and your painful desires force Me to
answer you; but marvel, and see how My spouse has defiled her face, and become
leprous, on account of her filthiness and self-love, and swollen with the pride and
avarice of those who feed on their own sin.

"What I say of the universal body and the mystical body of the Holy Church (that is
to say the Christian religion) I also say of My ministers, who stand and feed at the
breasts of Holy Church; and, not only should they feed themselves, but it is also
their duty to feed and hold to those breasts the universal body of Christian people,
and also any other people who should wish to leave the darkness of their infidelity,
and bind themselves as members to My Church. See then with what ignorance and
darkness, and ingratitude, are administered, and with what filthy hands are handled
this glorious milk and blood of My spouse, and with what presumption and
irreverence they are received. Wherefore, that which really gives life, often gives,
through the defects of those who receive it, death; that is to say, the precious Blood
of My only-begotten Son, which destroyed death and darkness, and gave life and
truth, and confounded falsehood. For I give this Blood and use It for salvation and
perfection in the case of that man who disposes himself properly to receive it, for It
gives life and adorns the soul with every grace, in proportion to the disposition and
affection of him who receives It; similarly It gives death to him who receives It
unworthily, living in iniquity and in the darkness of mortal sin; to him, I say, It
gives death and not life; not through defect of the Blood, nor through defect of the
minister, though there might be great evil in him, because his evil would not spoil
nor defile the Blood nor diminish Its grace and virtue, nor does an evil minister do
harm to him to whom he gives the Blood, but to himself he does the harm of guilt,
which will be followed by punishment, unless he correct himself with contrition
and repentance. I say then that the Blood does harm to him who receives it
unworthily, not through defect of the Blood, nor of the minister, but through his
own evil disposition and defect inasmuch as he has befouled his mind and body
with such impurity and misery, and has been so cruel to himself and his neighbor.
He has used cruelty to himself, depriving himself of grace, trampling under the feet
of his affection the fruit of the Blood which he had received in Holy Baptism, when
the stain of original sin was taken from him by virtue of the Blood, which stain he
drew from his origin, when he was generated by his father and mother.

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"Wherefore I gave My Word, My only-begotten Son, because the whole stuff of
human generation was corrupted through the sin of the first man Adam.
Wherefore, all of you, vessels made of this stuff, were corrupted and not disposed to
the possession of eternal life -- so I, with My dignity, joined Myself to the baseness of
your human generation, in order to restore it to grace which you had lost by sin; for
I was incapable of suffering, and yet, on account of guilt, My divine justice
demanded suffering. But man was not sufficient to satisfy it, for, even if he had
satisfied to a certain extent, he could only have satisfied for himself, and not for
other rational creatures, besides which, neither for himself, nor for others, could
man satisfy, his sin having been committed against Me, who am the Infinite Good.
Wishing, however, to restore man, who was enfeebled, and could not satisfy for the
above reason, I sent My Word, My own Son, clothed in your own very nature, the
corrupted clay of Adam, in order that He might endure suffering in that self-same
nature in which man had offended, suffering in His body even to the opprobrious
death of the Cross, and so He satisfied My justice and My divine mercy. For My
mercy willed to make satisfaction for the sin of man and to dispose him to that good
for which I had created him. This human nature, joined with the divine nature,
was sufficient to satisfy for the whole human race, not only on account of the pain
which it sustained in its finite nature, that is in the flesh of Adam, but by virtue of
the Eternal Deity, the divine and infinite nature joined to it. The two natures being
thus joined together, I received and accepted the sacrifice of My only-begotten Son,
kneaded into one dough with the divine nature, by the fire of divine love which
was the fetter which held him fastened and nailed to the Cross in this way. Thus
human nature was sufficient to satisfy for guilt, but only by virtue of the divine
nature. And in this way was destroyed the stain of Adam's sin, only the mark of it
remaining behind, that is an inclination to sin, and to every sort of corporeal defect,
like the cicatrice which remains when a man is healed of a wound. In this way the
original fault of Adam was able still to cause a fatal stain; wherefore the coming of
the great Physician, that is to say, of My only-begotten Son, cured this invalid, He
drinking this bitter medicine, which man could not drink on account of his great
weakness, like a foster-mother who takes medicine instead of her suckling, because
she is grown up and strong, and the child is not fit to endure its bitterness. He was
man's foster-mother, enduring, with the greatness and strength of the Deity united
with your nature, the bitter medicine of the painful death of the Cross, to give life to
you little ones debilitated by guilt. I say therefore that the mark alone of original sin
remains, which sin you take from your father and your mother when you were
generated by them. But this mark is removed from the soul, though not altogether,
by Holy Baptism, which has the virtue of communicating the life of grace by means
of that glorious and precious Blood. Wherefore, at the moment that the soul
receives Holy Baptism, original sin is taken away from her, and grace is infused into
her, and that inclination to sin, which remains from the original corruption, as has
been said, is indeed a source of weakness, but the soul can keep the bridle on it if she
choose. Then the vessel of the soul is disposed to receive and increase in herself
grace, more or less, according as it pleases her to dispose herself willingly with
affection, and desire of loving and serving Me; and, in the same way, she can
dispose herself to evil as to good, in spite of her having received grace in Holy
Baptism. Wherefore when the time of discretion is come, the soul can, by her free
will, make choice either of good or evil, according as it pleases her will; and so great

32
is this liberty that man has, and so strong has this liberty been made by virtue of this
glorious Blood, that no demon or creature can constrain him to one smallest fault
without his free consent. He has been redeemed from slavery, and made free in
order that he might govern his own sensuality, and obtain the end for which he was
created. Oh, miserable man, who delights to remain in the mud like a brute, and
does not learn this great benefit which he has received from Me! A benefit so great,
that the poor wretched creature full of such ignorance could receive no greater."
How sin is more gravely punished after the Passion of Christ than before; and how
God promises to do mercy to the world, and to the Holy Church, by means of
the prayers and sufferings of His servants.

"And I wish you to know, My daughter, that, although I have re-created and
restored to the life of grace, the human race, through the Blood of My only-begotten
Son, as I have said, men are not grateful, but, going from bad to worse, and from
guilt to guilt, even persecuting Me with many injuries, taking so little account of the
graces which I have given them, and continue to give them, that, not only do they
not attribute what they have received to grace, but seem to themselves on occasion
to receive injuries from Me, as if I desired anything else than their sanctification.
"I say to you that they will be more hard-hearted, and worthy of more punishment,
and will, indeed, be punished more severely, now that they have received
redemption in the Blood of My Son, than they would have been before that
redemption took place -- that is, before the stain of Adam's sin had been taken away.
It is right that he who receives more should render more, and should be under great
obligations to Him from whom he receives more.

"Man, then, was closely bound to Me through his being which I have given him,
creating him in My own image and similitude; for which reason, he was bound to
render Me glory, but he deprived Me of it, and wished to give it to himself. Thus he
came to transgress My obedience imposed on him, and became My enemy. And I,
with My humility, destroyed his pride, humiliating the divine nature, and taking
your humanity, and, freeing you from the service of the devil, I made you free. And,
not only did I give you liberty, but, if you examine, you will see that man has
become God, and God has become man, through the union of the divine with the
human nature. This is the debt which they have incurred -- that is to say, the
treasure of the Blood, by which they have been procreated to grace. See, therefore,
how much more they owe after the redemption than before. For they are now
obliged to render Me glory and praise by following in the steps of My Incarnate
Word, My only-begotten Son, for then they repay Me the debt of love both of Myself
and of their neighbor, with true and genuine virtue, as I have said to you above, and
if they do not do it, the greater their debt, the greater will be the offense they fall
into, and therefore, by divine justice, the greater their suffering in eternal
damnation.

"A false Christian is punished more than a pagan, and the deathless fire of divine
justice consumes him more, that is, afflicts him more, and, in his affliction, he feels
himself being consumed by the worm of conscience, though, in truth, he is not
consumed, because the damned do not lose their being through any torment which
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they receive. Wherefore I say to you, that they ask for death and cannot have it, for
they cannot lose their being; the existence of grace they lose, through their fault, but
not their natural existence. Therefore guilt is more gravely punished after the
Redemption of the Blood than before, because man received more; but sinners
neither seem to perceive this, nor to pay any attention to their own sins, and so
become My enemies, though I have reconciled them, by means of the Blood of My
Son. But there is a remedy with which I appease My wrath -- that is to say, by means
of My servants, if they are jealous to constrain Me by their desire. You see, therefore,
that you have bound Me with this bond which I have given you, because I wished to
do mercy to the world.

"Therefore I give My servants hunger and desire for My honor, and the salvation of
souls, so that, constrained by their tears, I may mitigate the fury of My divine justice.
Take, therefore, your tears and your sweat, drawn from the fountain of My divine
love, and, with them, wash the face of My spouse.
"I promise you, that, by this means, her beauty will be restored to her, not by the
knife nor by cruelty, but peacefully, by humble and continued prayer, by the sweat
and the tears shed by the fiery desire of My servants, and thus will I fulfill your
desire if you, on your part, endure much, casting the light of your patience into the
darkness of perverse man, not fearing the world's persecutions, for I will protect
you, and My Providence shall never fail you in the slightest need."
How the road to Heaven being broken through the disobedience of Adam, God
made of His Son a Bridge by which man could pass.

"Wherefore I have told you that I have made a Bridge of My Word, of My onlybegotten
Son, and this is the truth. I wish that you, My children, should know that
the road was broken by the sin and disobedience of Adam, in such a way, that no
one could arrive at Eternal Life. Wherefore men did not render Me glory in the way
in which they ought to have, as they did not participate in that Good for which I had
created them, and My truth was not fulfilled. This truth is that I have created man
to My own image and similitude, in order that he might have Eternal Life, and
might partake of Me, and taste My supreme and eternal sweetness and goodness.
But, after sin had closed Heaven and bolted the doors of mercy, the soul of man
produced thorns and prickly brambles, and My creature found in himself rebellion
against himself.
"And the flesh immediately began to war against the Spirit, and, losing the state of
innocence, became a foul animal, and all created things rebelled against man,
whereas they would have been obedient to him, had he remained in the state in
which I had placed him. He, not remaining therein, transgressed My obedience, and
merited eternal death in soul and body. And, as soon as he had sinned, a
tempestuous flood arose, which ever buffets him with its waves, bringing him
weariness and trouble from himself, the devil, and the world. Every one was
drowned in the flood, because no one, with his own justice alone, could arrive at
Eternal Life. And so, wishing to remedy your great evils, I have given you the
Bridge of My Son, in order that, passing across the flood, you may not be drowned,
which flood is the tempestuous sea of this dark life. See, therefore, under what

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obligations the creature is to Me, and how ignorant he is, not to take the remedy
which I have offered, but to be willing to drown."
How God induces the soul to look at the greatness of this Bridge, inasmuch as it
reaches from earth to Heaven.
"Open, my daughter, the eye of your intellect, and you will see the accepted and the
ignorant, the imperfect, and also the perfect who follow Me in truth, so that you
may grieve over the damnation of the ignorant, and rejoice over the perfection of
My beloved servants.

"You will see further how those bear themselves who walk in the light, and those
who walk in the darkness. I also wish you to look at the Bridge of My only-begotten
Son, and see the greatness thereof, for it reaches from Heaven to earth, that is, that
the earth of your humanity is joined to the greatness of the Deity thereby. I say then
that this Bridge reaches from Heaven to earth, and constitutes the union which I
have made with man.
"This was necessary, in order to reform the road which was broken, as I said to you,
in order that man should pass through the bitterness of the world, and arrive at life;
but the Bridge could not be made of earth sufficiently large to span the flood and
give you Eternal Life, because the earth of human nature was not sufficient to satisfy
for guilt, to remove the stain of Adam's sin. Which stain corrupted the whole
human race and gave out a stench, as I have said to you above. It was, therefore,
necessary to join human nature with the height of My nature, the Eternal Deity, so
that it might be sufficient to satisfy for the whole human race, so that human nature
should sustain the punishment, and that the Divine nature, united with the
human, should make acceptable the sacrifice of My only Son, offered to Me to take
death from you and to give you life.

"So the height of the Divinity, humbled to the earth, and joined with your
humanity, made the Bridge and reformed the road. Why was this done? In order
that man might come to his true happiness with the angels. And observe, that it is
not enough, in order that you should have life, that My Son should have made you
this Bridge, unless you walk thereon."
How this soul prays God to show her those who cross by the aforesaid Bridge, and
those who do not.
Then this soul exclaimed with ardent love, -- "Oh, inestimable Charity, sweet above
all sweetness! Who would not be inflamed by such great love? What heart can help
breaking at such tenderness? It seems, oh, Abyss of Charity, as if you were mad with
love of Your creature, as if You could not live without him, and yet You are our
God who have no heed of us, Your greatness does not increase through our good,
for You are unchangeable, and our evil causes You no harm, for You are the
Supreme and Eternal Goodness. What moves You to do us such mercy through
pure love, and on account of no debt that You owed us, or need that You had of us?
We are rather Your guilty and malignant debtors. Wherefore, if I understand aright,
Oh, Supreme and Eternal Truth, I am the thief and You have been punished for me.

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For I see Your Word, Your Son, fastened and nailed to the Cross, of which You have
made me a Bridge, as You have shown me, Your miserable servant, for which
reason, my heart is bursting, and yet cannot burst, through the hunger and the
desire which it has conceived towards You. I remember, my Lord, that You were
willing to show me who are those who go by the Bridge and those who do not;
should it please Your goodness to manifest this to me, willingly would I see and
hear it."
How this Bridge has three steps, which signify the three states of the soul; and how,
being lifted on high, yet it is not separated from the earth; and how these
words are to be understood: "If I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all
things unto Me."

Then the Eternal God, to enamor and excite that soul still more for the salvation of
souls, replied to her, and said: "First, as I have shown you that for which you
wished, and ask Me, I will now explain to you the nature of this Bridge. I have told
you, My daughter, that the Bridge reaches from Heaven to earth; this is through the
union which I have made with man, whom I formed of the clay of the earth. Now
learn that this Bridge, My only-begotten Son, has three steps, of which two were
made with the wood of the most Holy Cross, and the third still retains the great
bitterness He tasted, when He was given gall and vinegar to drink. In these three
steps you will recognize three states of the soul, which I will explain to you below.
The feet of the soul, signifying her affection, are the first step, for the feet carry the
body as the affection carries the soul. Wherefore these pierced Feet are steps by
which you can arrive at His Side, Which manifests to you the secret of His Heart,
because the soul, rising on the steps of her affection, commences to taste the love of
His Heart, gazing into that open Heart of My Son, with the eye of the intellect, and
finds It consumed with ineffable love. I say consumed, because He does not love you
for His own profit, because you can be of no profit to Him, He being one and the
same thing with Me. Then the soul is filled with love, seeing herself so much loved.
Having passed the second step, the soul reaches out to the third -- that is -- to the
Mouth, where she finds peace from the terrible war she has been waging with her
sin. On the first step, then, lifting her feet from the affections of the earth, the soul
strips herself of vice; on the second she fills herself with love and virtue; and on the
third she tastes peace. So the Bridge has three steps, in order that, climbing past the
first and the second, you may reach the last, which is lifted on high, so that the
water, running beneath, may not touch it; for, in My Son, was no venom of sin.
This Bridge is lifted on high, and yet, at the same time, joined to the earth. Do you
know when it was lifted on high? When My Son was lifted up on the wood of the
most Holy Cross, the Divine nature remaining joined to the lowliness of the earth
of your humanity.

"For this reason I said to you that, being lifted on high, He was not lifted out of the
earth, for the Divine nature is united and kneaded into one thing with it. And there
was no one who could go on the Bridge until It had been lifted on high, wherefore
He said, -- 'Si exaltatus fuero a terra omnia traham ad me ipsum,' that is, 'If I am
lifted on high I will draw all things to Me.' My Goodness, seeing that in no other
way could you be drawn to Me, I sent Him in order that He should be lifted on high

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on the wood of the Cross, making of it an anvil on which My Son, born of human
generation, should be re-made, in order to free you from death, and to restore you to
the life of grace; wherefore He drew everything to Himself by this means, namely, by
showing the ineffable love, with which I love you, the heart of man being always
attracted by love. Greater love, then, I could not show you, than to lay down My life
for you; perforce, then, My Son was treated in this way by love, in order that
ignorant man should be unable to resist being drawn to Me.
"In very truth, then, My Son said, that, being lifted on high, He would draw all
things to Him. And this is to be understood in two ways. Firstly, that, when the
heart of man is drawn by the affection of love, as I have said, it is drawn together
with all the powers of his soul, that is, with the Memory, the Intellect, and the Will;
now, when these three powers are harmoniously joined together in My Name, all
the other operations which the man performs, whether in deed or thought, are
pleasing, and joined together by the effect of love, because love is lifted on high,
following the Sorrowful Crucified One; so My Truth said well, 'If I am lifted on
high,' &c., meaning, that if the heart and the powers of the soul are drawn to Him,
all the actions are also drawn to Him. Secondly, everything has been created for the
service of man, to serve the necessities of rational creatures, and the rational
creature has not been made for them, but for Me, in order to serve Me with all his
heart, and with all his affection. See, then, that man being drawn, everything else is
drawn with him, because everything else has been made for him. It was therefore
necessary that the Bridge should be lifted on high, and have steps, in order that it
might be climbed with greater facility."

How this Bridge is built of stones which signify virtues; and how on the Bridge is a
hostelry where food is given to the travelers; and how he who goes over the
Bridge goes to life, while he who goes under It goes to perdition and death.
"This Bridge is built of stones, so that, if the rain come, it may not impede the
traveler. Do you know what these stones are? They are the stones of true and sincere
virtues. These stones were not built into the walls before the Passion of My Son, and
therefore even those who attempted to walk by the road of virtue were prevented
from arriving at their journey's end, because Heaven was not yet unlocked with the
key of the Blood, and the rain of Justice did not let them pass; but, after the stones
were made, and built up on the Body of My sweet Son, My Word, of whom I have
spoken to you, He, who was Himself the Bridge, moistened the mortar for its
building with His Blood. That is, His Blood was united with the mortar of divinity,
and with the fortitude, and the fire of love; and, by My power, these stones of the
virtues were built into a wall, upon Him as the foundation, for there is no virtue
which has not been proved in Him, and from Him all virtues have their life.
Wherefore no one can have the virtue given by a life of grace, but from Him, that is,
without following the footsteps of His doctrine. He has built a wall of the virtues,
planting them as living stones, and cementing them with His Blood, so that every
believer may walk speedily, and without any servile fear of the rain of Divine
justice, for he is sheltered by the mercy which descended from Heaven in the
Incarnation of this My Son. How was Heaven opened? With the key of His Blood;
so you see that the Bridge is walled and roofed with Mercy. His also is the Hostelry

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in the Garden of the Holy Church, which keeps and ministers the Bread of Life, and
gives to drink of the Blood, so that My creatures, journeying on their pilgrimage,
may not, through weariness, faint by the way; and for this reason My love has
ordained that the Blood and the Body of My only-begotten Son, wholly God and
wholly man, may be ministered to you. The pilgrim, having passed the Bridge,
arrives at the door which is part of the Bridge, at which all must enter, wherefore He
says: 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, he who follows Me does not walk in
darkness, but in light.' And in another place My Truth says, 'That no man can come
to Me if not by Him,' and so indeed it is. Therefore He says of Himself that He is the
Road, and this is the truth, and I have already shown you that He is a Road in the
form of the Bridge. And He says that He is the Truth, and so He is, because He is
united with Me who am the Truth, and he who follows Him, walks in the Truth,
and in Life, because he who follows this Truth receives the life of grace, and cannot
faint from hunger, because the Truth has become your food, nor fall in the darkness,
because He is light without any falsehood. And, with that Truth, He confounded
and destroyed the lie that the Devil told to Eve, with which he broke up the road to
Heaven, and the Truth brought the pieces together again, and cemented them with
His Blood. Wherefore, those who follow this road are the sons of the Truth, because
they follow the Truth, and pass through the door of Truth and find themselves
united to Me, who am the Door and the Road and at the same time Infinite Peace.

"But he, who walks not on this road, goes under the Bridge, in the river where there
are no stones, only water, and since there are no supports in the water, no one can
travel that way without drowning; thus have come to pass the sins, and the
condition of the world. Wherefore, if the affection is not placed on the stones, but is
placed, with disordinate love, on creatures, loving them, and being kept by them far
from Me, the soul drowns, for creatures are like water that continually runs past,
and man also passes continually like the river, although it seems to him that he
stands still and the creatures that he loves pass by, and yet he is passing himself
continually to the end of his journey -- death! And he would gladly retain himself
(that is his life, and the things that he loves), but he does not succeed, either,
through death, by which he has to leave them, or through my disposition, by which
these created things are taken from the sight of My creatures. Such as these follow a
lie, walking on the road of falsehood, and are sons of the Devil, who is the Father of
Lies; and, because they pass by the door of falsehood, they receive eternal
damnation. So then you see, that I have shown you both Truth and Falsehood, that
is, My road which is Truth, and the Devil's which is Falsehood."

How traveling on both of these roads, that is the Bridge and the River, is fatiguing;
and of the delight which the soul feels in traveling by the Bridge.
"These are the two roads, and both are hard to travel. Wonder, then, at the
ignorance and blindness of man, who, having a Road made for him, which causes
such delight to those who use It, that every bitterness becomes sweet, and every
burden light, yet prefers to walk over the water. For those who cross by the Bridge,
being still in the darkness of the body, find light, and, being mortal, find immortal
life, tasting, through love, the light of Eternal Truth which promises refreshment to
him who wearies himself for Me, who am grateful and just, and render to every

38
man according as he deserves. Wherefore every good deed is rewarded, and every
fault is punished. The tongue would not be sufficient to relate the delight felt by
him who goes on this road, for, even in this life, he tastes and participates in that
good which has been prepared for him in eternal life. He, therefore, is a fool indeed,
who despises so great a good, and chooses rather to receive in this life, the earnest
money of Hell, walking by the lower road with great toil, and without any
refreshment or advantage. Wherefore, through their sins, they are deprived of Me,
who am the Supreme and Eternal Good. Truly then have you reason for grief, and I
will that you and My other servants remain in continual bitterness of soul at the
offense done to Me, and in compassion for the ignorant, and the loss of those who,
in their ignorance, thus offend Me. Now you have seen and heard about this Bridge,
how it is, and this I have told you in order to explain My words, that My onlybegotten
Son was a Bridge. And thus, you see that He is the Truth, made in the way
that I have shown you, that is -- by the union of height and lowliness."
How this Bridge, having reached to Heaven on the day of the Ascension, did not for
that reason have the earth.

"When My only-begotten Son returned to Me, forty days after the resurrection, this
Bridge, namely Himself, arose from the earth, that is, from among the conversation
of men, and ascended into Heaven by virtue of the Divine Nature and sat at the
right hand of Me, the Eternal Father, as the angels said, on the day of the Ascension,
to the disciples, standing like dead men, their hearts lifted on high, and ascended
into Heaven with the wisdom of My Son -- 'Do not stand here any longer, for He is
seated at the right hand of the Father!' When He, then, had thus ascended on high,
and returned to Me the Father, I sent the Master, that is the Holy Spirit, who came to
you with My power and the wisdom of My Son, and with His own clemency, which
is the essence of the Holy Spirit. He is one thing with Me, the Father, and with My
Son. And He built up the road of the doctrine which My Truth had left in the world.
Thus, though the bodily presence of My Son left you, His doctrine remained, and
the virtue of the stones founded upon this doctrine, which is the way made for you
by this Bridge. For first, He practiced this doctrine and made the road by His actions,
giving you His doctrine by example rather than by words; for He practiced, first
Himself, what He afterwards taught you, then the clemency of the Holy Spirit made
you certain of the doctrine, fortifying the minds of the disciples to confess the truth,
and to announce this road, that is, the doctrine of Christ crucified, reproving, by this
means, the world of its injustice and false judgment, of which injustice and false
judgment, I will in time discourse to you at greater length.

"This much I have said to you in order that there might be no cloud of darkness in
the mind of your hearers, that is, that they may know that of this Body of Christ I
made a Bridge by the union of the divine with the human nature, for this is the
truth.
"This Bridge, taking its point of departure in you, rose into Heaven, and was the one
road which was taught you by the example and life of the Truth. What has now
remained of all this, and where is the road to be found? I will tell you, that is, I will
rather tell those who might fall into ignorance on this point. I tell you that this way
of His doctrine, of which I have spoken to you, confirmed by the Apostles, declared

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by the blood of the martyrs, illuminated by the light of doctors, confessed by the
confessors, narrated in all its love by the Evangelists, all of whom stand as witnesses
to confess the Truth, is found in the mystical body of the Holy Church. These
witnesses are like the light placed on a candlestick, to show forth the way of the
Truth which leads to life with a perfect light, as I have said to you, and, as they
themselves say to you, with proof, since they have proved in their own cases, that
every person may, if he will, be illuminated to know the Truth, unless he choose to
deprive his reason of light by his inordinate self-love. It is, indeed, the truth that His
doctrine is true, and has remained like a lifeboat to draw the soul out of the
tempestuous sea and to conduct her to the port of salvation.

"Wherefore, first I gave you the Bridge of My Son living and conversing in very
deed amongst men, and when He, the living Bridge, left you, there remained the
Bridge and the road of His doctrine, as has been said, His doctrine being joined with
My power and with His wisdom, and with the clemency of the Holy Spirit. This
power of Mine gives the virtue of fortitude to whoever follows this road, wisdom
gives him light, so that, in this road, he may recognize the truth, and the Holy Spirit
gives him love, which consumes and takes away all sensitive love out of the soul,
leaving there only the love of virtue. Thus, in both ways, both actually and through
His doctrine, He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; that is, the Bridge which leads
you to the height of Heaven. This is what He meant when He said, 'I came from the
Father, and I return to the Father, and shall return to you'; that is to say, 'My Father
sent Me to you, and made Me your Bridge, so that you might be saved from the
river and attain to life.' Then He says, 'I will return to you, I will not leave you
orphans, but will send you the Paraclete' -- as if My Truth should say, 'I will go to
the Father and return; that is, that when the Holy Spirit shall come, who is called
the Paraclete, He will show you more clearly, and will confirm you in the way of
truth, that I have given you.' He said that He would return, and He did return,
because the Holy Spirit came not alone, but with the power of the Father, and the
wisdom of the Son, and the clemency of His own Essence.

"See then how He returns, not in actual flesh and blood, but, as I have said, building
the road of His doctrine, with His power, which road cannot be destroyed or taken
away from him who wishes to follow it, because it is firm and stable, and proceeds
from Me, who am immovable.
"Manfully, then, should you follow this road, without any cloud of doubt, but with
the light of faith which has been given you as a principle in Holy Baptism.
"Now I have fully shown to you the Bridge as it actually is, and the doctrine, which
is one and the same thing with it. And I have shown it to the ignorant, in order that
they may see where this road of Truth is, and where stand those who teach it; and I
have explained that they are the Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Evangelists, and
Holy Doctors, placed like lanterns in the Holy Church.
"And I have shown how My Son, returning to Me, none the less, returned to you,
not in His bodily presence, but by His power, when the Holy Spirit came upon the
disciples, as I have said. For in His bodily presence He will not return until the last
Day of Judgment, when He will come again with My Majesty and Divine Power to
judge the world, to render good to the virtuous, and reward them for their labors,

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both in body and soul, and to dispense the evil of eternal death to those who have
lived wickedly in the world.
"And now I wish to tell you that which I, the Truth, promised you, that is, to show
you the perfect, the imperfect, and the supremely perfect; and the wicked, who,
through their iniquities, drown in the river, attaining to punishment and torment;
wherefore I say to you, My dearest sons, walk over the Bridge, and not underneath
it, because underneath is not the way of truth, but the way of falsehood, by which
walk the wicked, of whom I will presently speak to you. These are those sinners for
whom I beg you to pray to Me, and for whom I ask in addition your tears and sweat,
in order that they may receive mercy from Me."

How this soul wondering at the mercy of God, relates many gifts and graces given to
the human race.
Then this soul, as it were, like one intoxicated, could not contain herself, but
standing before the face of God, exclaimed, "How great is the Eternal Mercy with
which You cover the sins of Your creatures! I do not wonder that You say of those
who abandon mortal sin and return to You, 'I do not remember that you have ever
offended Me.' Oh, ineffable Mercy! I do not wonder that You say this to those who
are converted, when You say of those who persecute You, 'I wish you to pray for
such, in order that I may do them mercy.' Oh, Mercy, who proceeds from Your
Eternal Father, the Divinity who governs with Your power the whole world, by You
were we created, in You were we re-created in the Blood of Your Son. Your Mercy
preserves us, Your Mercy caused Your Son to do battle for us, hanging by His arms
on the wood of the Cross, life and death battling together; then life confounded the
death of our sin, and the death of our sin destroyed the bodily life of the Immaculate
Lamb. Which was finally conquered? Death! By what means? Mercy! Your Mercy
gives light and life, by which Your clemency is known in all Your creatures, both the
just and the unjust. In the height of Heaven Your Mercy shines, that is, in Your
saints. If I turn to the earth, it abounds with Your Mercy. In the darkness of Hell
Your Mercy shines, for the damned do not receive the pains they deserve; with Your
Mercy You temper Justice. By Mercy You have washed us in the Blood, and by Mercy
You wish to converse with Your creatures. Oh, Loving Madman! was it not enough
for You to become Incarnate, that You must also die? Was not death enough, that
You must also descend into Limbo, taking thence the holy fathers to fulfill Your
Mercy and Your Truth in them? Because Your goodness promises a reward to them
that serve You in truth, You descended to Limbo, to withdraw from their pain Your
servants, and give them the fruit of their labors. Your Mercy constrains You to give
even more to man, namely, to leave Yourself to him in food, so that we, weak ones,
should have comfort, and the ignorant commemorating You, should not lose the
memory of Your benefits. Wherefore every day You give Yourself to man,
representing Yourself in the Sacrament of the Altar, in the body of Your Holy
Church. What has done this? Your Mercy. Oh, Divine Mercy! My heart suffocates in
thinking of you, for on every side to which I turn my thought, I find nothing but
mercy. Oh, Eternal Father! Forgive my ignorance, that I presume thus to chatter to
You, but the love of Your Mercy will be my excuse before the Face of Your lovingkindness."

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Of the baseness of those who pass by the river under the Bridge; and how the soul,
that passes underneath, is called by God the tree of death, whose roots are
held in four vices.
After this soul had refreshed a little her heart in the mercy of God, by these words,
she humbly waited for the fulfillment of the promise made to her, and God
continuing His discourse said: "Dearest daughter, you have spoken before Me of My
mercy, because I gave it you to taste and to see in the word which I spoke to you
when I said: 'these are those for whom I pray you to intercede with Me,' but know,
that My mercy is without any comparison, far more than you can see, because your
sight is imperfect, and My mercy perfect and infinite, so that there can be no
comparison between the two, except what may be between a finite and an infinite
thing. But I have wished that you should taste this mercy, and also the dignity of
man, which I have shown you above, so that you might know better the cruelty of
those wicked men who travel below the Bridge. Open the eye of your intellect, and
wonder at those who voluntarily drown themselves, and at the baseness to which
they are fallen by their fault, from which cause, they have first become weak, and
this was when they conceived mortal sin in their minds, for they then bring it forth,
and lose the life of grace. And, as a corpse which can have no feeling or movement
of itself, but only when it is moved and lifted by others, so those, who are drowned
in the stream of disordinate love of the world, are dead to grace. Wherefore because
they are dead their memory takes no heed of My mercy. The eye of their intellect
sees not and knows not My Truth, because their feeling is dead, that is, their intellect
has no object before it but themselves, with the dead love of their own sensuality,
and so their will is dead to My will because it loves nothing but dead things. These
three powers then being dead, all the soul's operations both in deed and thought are
dead as far as grace is concerned. For the soul cannot defend herself against her
enemies, nor help herself through her own power, but only so far as she is helped by
Me. It is true indeed, that every time that this corpse, in whom only free-will has
remained (which remains as long as the mortal body lives), asks My help, he can
have it, but never can he help himself; he has become insupportable to himself,
and, wishing to govern the world, is governed by that which is not, that is by sin, for
sin in itself is nothing, and such men have become the servants and slaves of sin. I
have made them trees of love with the life of grace which they received in Holy
Baptism; and they have become trees of death, because they are dead, as I have
already said to you. Do you know how this tree finds such roots? In the height of
pride, which is nourished by their own sensitive self-love. Its branch is their own
impatience, and its offshoot indiscretion: these are the four principal vices which
destroy the soul of him who is a tree of death, because he has not drawn life from
grace. Inside the tree is nourished the worm of conscience, which, while man lives
in mortal sin, is blinded by self-love, and therefore felt but little; the fruits of this
tree are mortal, for they have drawn their nourishment, which should have been
humility, from the roots of pride, and the miserable soul is full of ingratitude,
whence proceeds every evil. But if she were grateful for the benefits she has
received, she would know Me, and knowing Me would know herself, and so would
remain in My love: but she, as if blind, goes groping down the river, and she does
not see that the water does not support her."

42
How the fruits of this tree are as diverse as are the sins; and first, of the sin of
sensuality.
"The fruits of this death-giving tree, are as diverse as sins are diverse. See that some
of these fruits are the food of beasts who live impurely, using their body and their
mind like a swine who wallows in mud, for in the same way they wallow in the
mire of sensuality. Oh, ugly soul, where have you left your dignity? You were made
sister to the angels, and now you are become a brute beast. To such misery come
sinners, notwithstanding that they are sustained by Me, who am Supreme Purity,
notwithstanding that the very devils, whose friends and servants they have become,
cannot endure the sight of such filthy actions. Neither does any sin, abominable as it
may be, take away the light of the intellect from man, so much as does this one. This
the philosophers knew, not by the light of grace, because they had it not, but because
nature gave them the light to know that this sin obscured the intellect, and for that
reason they preserved themselves in continence the better to study. Thus also they
flung away their riches in order that the thought of them should not occupy their
heart. Not so does the ignorant and false Christian, who has lost grace by sin."
How the fruit of others is avarice; and of the evils that proceed from it.

"A fruit of the earth belongs to some others, who are covetous misers, acting like
the mole, who always feeds on earth till death, and when they arrive at death they
find no remedy. Such as these, with their meanness, despise My generosity, selling
time to their neighbor. They are cruel usurers, and robbers of their neighbor; because
in their memory they have not the remembrance of My mercy, for if they had it they
would not be cruel to themselves or to their neighbor; on the contrary, they would
be compassionate and merciful to themselves, practicing the virtues on their
neighbor and succoring him charitably. Oh, how many are the evils that come of
this cursed sin of avarice, how many homicides and thefts, and how much pillage
with unlawful gain, and cruelty of heart and injustice! It kills the soul and makes
her the slave of riches, so that she cares not to observe My commandments.
"A miser loves no one except for his own profit. Avarice proceeds from and feeds
pride, the one follows from the other, because the miser always carries with him the
thought of his own reputation, and thus avarice, which is immediately combined
with pride, full of its own opinions, goes on from bad to worse. It is a fire which
always germinates the smoke of vainglory and vanity of heart, and boasting in that
which does not belong to it. It is a root which has many branches, and the principal
one is that which makes a man care for his own reputation, from whence proceeds
his desire to be greater than his neighbor. It also brings forth the deceitful heart that
is neither pure nor liberal, but is double, making a man show one thing with his
tongue, while he has another in his heart, and making him conceal the truth and
tell lies for his own profit. And it produces envy, which is a worm that is always
gnawing, and does not let the miser have any happiness out of his own or others'
good. How will these wicked ones in so wretched a state give of their substance to
the poor, when they rob others? How will they draw their foul soul out of the mire,
when they themselves put it there? Sometimes even do they become so brutish,
43

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A Treatise on Divine Providence by Saint Catherine of Sienna

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