THE FIFTH CONFESSION
Tell me, O Lord, I beseech you, what can my soul pretend, if it seeks anything with you which is an impediment to my truly loving you? What can I, I say, pretend, seeing no peace or comfort can be found, but in you alone? What do we when we desire comfort outside of you, but deprive ourselves of a most happy liberty, which they enjoy who desire nothing for time or eternity, but (without all regard of themselves) to be perfectly conformable to you?
If we would live without all intention or wish but of enjoying you (which cannot be done but by a truly humble and faithful soul), the devil could not overcome us by any wile. We should easily retain true peace with ourselves, with all the world, and, above all, with you. For when we adhere to any created thing, we become a slave to our passion and are in imminent danger of sin. No way is plain, secure, easy, and without peril of all error but this: that the soul seeks nothing but you, her creator: this is the way in which a fool cannot err. This is the way, without question, in which a soul without all impediment adheres to you, the fountain of all true wisdom, who willingly illuminates our needy souls, if we will but give you our heart and soul for yourself.
You consider not our former sins after you have once blotted them out, but do most bountifully and abundantly bestow your grace upon those who have had the manners of beasts in time past and do refresh them with the sweet dew of your grace. This, having been tasted in their soul, makes them loathe all that is less than you. Neither can they take any content but in hearing your name, speaking to you, and longing for you, after you have wounded their soul with your divine charity.
Oh, let me sit alone, silent to all the world and it to me, that I may learn the song of love and praise of you which is infinitely due to you from me! This song none can sing but those that truly love you, and whose only consolation is to be without all comfort as often and as much as it shall please you. In nothing, as you know, do I put any joy or comfort but in sighing after you, who cannot here be seen by us as you are.
Oh, teach me those virtues which draw a soul so out of herself into you that she becomes insensible to all things but you! These virtues are true humility, which knows not how to exalt itself, perfect subjection to you, and discretion, which can only be taught by your majesty, and yet is so necessary that no virtue hath more virtue in it than partakes of true discretion. For without that, we, instead of true virtue, practice absurd follies. O my Lord, above all things let me seek your glory, and may you be praised by all creatures for all eternity! Amen.
pretend: lay claim to
I seek you in silence, but am so often distracted by things that I think are you but are shades of you. And, of course, by all those things that aren’t you at all. Silence my monkey-mind; strengthen my resolve to find you; and stop, stop me feeling like I’m playing at this, an habitual dilettante. My soul is immersed in me. Draw me out and to your eagle-eye view, your wound of love, that just for a moment is a glimpse of totality that only you can gift.