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William Short 23 Treatise: How a Soul Can Quickly Reach Knowledge of Truth and Possess Perfect Peace8 Whoever wants to reach knowledge of the truth by a short,straight path, and possess perfect peace of soul, must expropriate himself completely of the love of every creature and even love of his very self,9 so that he may cast himself totally into God, holding back nothing for himself, not even time, so that he arrange nothing for himself according to his own notions, but rather remain always available, submissive, and ready for God’s leading and calling. If someone wants to be joined to God he must not keep any medium between himself and God. Now there are as many media as there are things that a person loves. Therefore, in order not to impede being joined to God, every love must be removed. Many people who seem spiritual, and who observe some good practices very strictly, carefully and constantly, are nevertheless always lukewarm, and they do not reach a perfect and stable state; and this is the reason: they still keep something of their own, which serves as a medium between them and God. And because of these media, to which they cling in the soul, they undergo changes. Though they sometimes perceive the sweetness of God, and even persevere in prayers, devotions and other good practices, and have some feeling of God, yet afterwards, when the occasion arises, they waste time, reverting to chatting, complaining, worldly conversation , and other external things they love, as if earlier they had perceived nothing of God. They act like flies, which now alight on honey, then on spit and filth. Why is it then that the passion of Christ, so forceful and powerful as to break even the hardest hearts in a single act of meditation , does not change many people who have meditated on it for five years, or ten, or even more? Here is the reason: even though they are deeply moved in meditating on it and delight in it and feel it, still they do not change 8 Ms. 1/85: Title, “Words of Brother Riccerio of the Marches, companion of our Blessed Father Francis.” 9 Ms. 1/85:“self, that is, not to be esteemed for the power he may have or desire , for example, in the office of prelate or preaching or confessing, so that …” Words Made Flesh: Essays Honoring Kenan Osborne 24 their lives, and when they leave it they spend their time on trivia as usual. Certainly there is no other reason except that the media , to which they cling, do not allow the soul to reach Christ, nor Christ to reach it. And if at times these media go away, they still return afterward, as if to their own empty house.10 But once the soul expropriates itself totally of every created love and holds true poverty of spirit wholeheartedly, since it does not delight in any creature, it is then drawn to and filled by divine love, into which it casts itself completely. And if those media, which the soul has abandoned, return to it, they cannot enter it, because the house is full and the inn is already occupied by divine love itself, and all the affections are bound.We see this with travelers , who do not turn in at the inns already occupied by others, but at the empty ones that can take them. When the soul is occupied and filled in this way by divine love (this happens immediately when God sees it emptied of every other love, even love of itself) then it begins to be illuminated by the truth itself, which is God; and in this truth it sees the truth of all creatures and it recognizes what is worthless and what is valuable . And in this light it sees the worthlessness of all earthly things and the harm that can result from attachment to them, so that it does not allow itself to be deceived by them even if it sees many people going after those things. It is as if someone recognizes there is poison in the food placed in front of him, and even if many eat it and say to him, “Eat! This food is good!” he would not eat it, but rather would say, “I am sure that there is poison in the food, so I don’t eat it. You who eat it are fools, because you’ll die from it.” Similarly...


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