THE PRACTICE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST
“Charity hopeth all things”
HE THAT LOVES JESUS CHRIST HOPES FOR ALL THINGS FROM HIM
In this manner the soul is wholly united to God in Heaven, and loves Him with all her strength; her love is most perfect and complete, and though necessarily finite, since a creature is not capable of infinite love, it nevertheless renders her perfectly happy and contented, so that she desires nothing more. On the other hand, Almighty God communicates Himself, and unites Himself wholly to the soul, filling her with Himself proportionately to her merits; and this union is not merely by means only of His gifts, lights, and loving attractions, as is the case during the present life, but by His own very Essence. As fire penetrates iron, and seems to change it into itself, so does God penetrate the soul and fill her with Himself; and though she never loses her own being, yet she becomes so penetrated and absorbed by that immense ocean of the Divine substance that she remains, as it were, annihilated, and as if she ceased to exist. The Apostle prayed for this happy lot for his disciples when he said: That you may be filled unto all the fullness of God (Eph. iii. 19).
And this is the end which the goodness of God has appointed for us in the life to come. Hence the soul can never enjoy perfect repose on earth; because it is only in Heaven that she can obtain perfect union with God. It is true that the lovers of Jesus Christ find peace in the practice of perfect conformity with the will of God; but they cannot in this life find complete repose. This is only obtained when our last end is obtained; that is, when we see God face to face, and are consumed with His Divine love; but until the soul has reached this end, she is ill at ease, and groans and sighs, saying: Behold, in peace is my bitterness most bitter (Ps. xxxviii. 17).