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Life and Doctrine of Saint Catherine of Genoa
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CHAPTER II

Exclamations of the Soul.—Our Lord demands the cause of her surprise, and questions her concerning her enjoyment in the company of spiritual persons, and of the pleasing conversations held with them.

Soul. O tongue, why dost thou speak, when thou canst find no fitting words for the love felt by my heart? O heart, inflamed with love, why dost thou not consume the body where thou dwellest? O Spirit, what dost thou, thus bound upon the earth? Seest thou not that vehemence of love wherewith God attracts and desires thee? Destroy this body, that each may go to his own place!

And God, when he beheld the Soul kindled with a flame so great and limitless, desiring in some measure to restrain her, showed her one spark of that love with which he loves man, and which is so pure, simple, and sincere that the Soul when she beheld it was wellnigh overpowered with astonishment; then the Lord demanded of her, saying:

The Lord. Why do I behold you thus changed? What new thing have you seen that kindles in you such a flame of love? Hitherto you have seemed ready to break through the body in order to find your love, by reason of the great delight and sweet enjoyment you tasted, together with many other of your friends, with whom you were united in the bonds of that sweet and winning love; but now I see you pausing and bewildered, and caring to converse with no one.

Until now this Soul had often occupied herself in conversing with her spiritual friends on the divine love, until it seemed to them as if they were already in paradise. Oh, how sweet were these colloquies! Both he who spoke and he who listened were fed alike upon that spiritual, sweet, and delicious food, and were not satisfied to see time pass so quickly while they talked, but all inflamed and burning, could neither speak nor separate, and seemed as if beside themselves. O feasts of love! O food most exquisite! What delicious viands, what sweet union, what divine company! They spoke only of the love of God, of its operations, and how all hindrances to it might be removed. All that took place between them was so clearly seen to be from God and for the benefit of souls, that no one could think otherwise, and hence the Soul responded:

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