THE SECOND CONFESSION
” Omnis ex vobis qui non renuntiat omnibus, quae possidet, non potest meus esse discipulus. Qui habet aures audiendi,audiat”- (” Every one of you that doth not renounce all that he possesseth, cannot be My disciple. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear “).
LUKE xiv. 33, 35.
These are Thy words, my Lord, which, though they seem hard at first, yet, being unfolded to our souls by Thee, they become most easy, and sweet to perform. Teach me therefore, my God, I beseech Thee for Thy mercy’s sake teach me, I say, how I shall perform this to the glory of Thy Holy Name. Thou hast inflamed my heart, as Thou knowest, with such a continual desire and longing after Thee, that it seemeth easy to me to perform whatsoever is exacted by Thee. For though I be frail above all I can express or imagine, yet I am confident in Thee, by whose help and power it is possible to do all that it pleaseth Thee to exact of me.
Teach me to do Thy will, because Thou art my God. Let me love Thee, because to lack Thy love is a most grievous affliction to me. Far is it from me, as Thou knowest, to have a divided heart towards Thee. Is it possible that, having but one soul and heart, I should bestow any of the affections they are capable of on any thing but Thee? Oh, far be this from me! Nothing that could happen to my soul would so afflict and discomfort me as to see it adhere to any created thing, or to its very self, willingly, to the impediment of my being wholly possessed by Thee.
Make me as Thou wouldst have me, that I may, as Thou exactest, praise Thee. This shall be my study, my care, and all my endeavour to sing in my heart songs of love to Thee Who art only desired and sought after by me. In Thy praise only I am happy, in this my joy I will exult with all that love Thee. For what can be a comfort to me, while I live separated from Thee, but only to remember that my God, Who is more mine than I am my own, is absolutely and infinitely happy? Oh, let this Thy love wholly transform me into itself, that I may become insensible to all created things whatsoever; let me be wholly possessed by Thee, Who by so many titles layeth claim to me.
Can I say or think that anything is worthy of love but Thee? Oh no; but if I had ten thousand hearts, all were too little to bestow upon Thee. Shall I any more be so miserable as, by loving, having, adhering to, or desiring any created thing, to become estranged from Thee, in Whom I have placed all my hope, love, and desire? I have indeed chosen Thee for my only love, light, hope, comfort, refuge, delight, and whatsoever else can be desired or imagined. But it was not of my self, but Thy mercy and goodness that compelled me, even whether I would or no, by sending me the means to know how to serve Thee, and withal by giving me the grace of loathing all that was not to be a help to me.
Oh! these Thy mercies, when I recount them before Thee, even deprive me of my very senses to see Thee to have been so good and merciful to her who, as it is made plain to me by Thee, hath offended and been more ungrateful to Thee than any I did either see or hear of. Shall not I, therefore, humble my soul before Thee, and at the feet of all for love of Thee, Who hath been thus tender of her good, who of all Thine is the last and least and most contemptible? This being so apparent to me, I will yet more and more humble myself by desiring to be despised by all, for Thy honour and glory.
Thus, my Lord, may dust and ashes presume to speak unto Thee, and sitting alone, I read what I write of Thee, and calling to mind what Thou hast done for me, I rejoice in the multitude of Thy mercy. For nothing can be discovered of what I here write for my comfort, and while I am banished from Him in nothing will I rest, for nothing can satiate me till I may enjoy Him as He is in Himself. Yet, as I say, it causeth me grief for having offended Thee, and of being thus remote from my beginning, to which most ardently I long to return as pure as when I was created by Thee. My speaking thus to Thee in all my misery none, therefore, can wonder at. For as one desiring the presence of her Beloved, and expecting when it shall be, can take no comfort till she see the One whom she so much desireth in the meanwhile spending her time, some times with thinking that this joy will shortly be to her, and sometimes being wearied with long expectations so she employeth herself in something which may a little recreate her heart, while thus with her it must be; and above all it is a pleasure to her to hear of Him Whom she cannot yet see.
Thus, O Lord, it passeth even in that love which will and deserveth to pass, which none deserveth but Thou. And there is no comparison able to express the love which is between a faithful soul and Thee. For the more we love Thee, the more pure and quiet becometh the soul by this Thy heavenly charity. Whereas, alas! it fareth far otherwise with us when we love anything out of Thee, and which is an impediment to Thy love. This misery before Thee, in the bitterness of my soul, I bemoan. Thou having made our soul so capable of Thy Divine love, and so able to have relation in all to Thee, it is an ingratitude able to astonish me that we should cast away our love upon that which is so little able to satisfy our soul, and whereof there is as little certainty as there is of the wind. Yea, even in a moment we lose the favour and opinion of one upon whom we have bestowed much time in winning it.
O folly, be thou henceforth far from me! Let that infinite and desirable freedom of my will pour itself out wholly upon Thee, that at last I may become perfectly united to Thy Divine Majesty. Oh, how little worth, when I am with Thee, is the desire of the praise, applause, and commendation of men, who are now of one mind and now of another, nothing being permanent under the sun! Verily, when in Thy light I see this truth, it seemeth to me to be an intolerable burden to be esteemed and praised by men, whose favour often maketh us incur Thy displeasure at least, my frailty causeth this effect in my case. Help me, therefore, and make me by all to become truly humble and pleasing to Thee.
Be Thou adored, Three and One for all eternity, to Thy infinite glory. Amen.
It is so hard to let go of everything we have achieved in this world, to give everything away and follow you. We spend a lifetime seeking recognition; told from so young that success is a good and necessary thing. But everything was always yours: the accolade, the harvest, such as it was, was never mine to keep. But it really did feel good in the moment and left me wanting more. Aren’t I meant to act in the world, to build Jerusalem here in this place? Doesn’t the praise of good people matter?
When my free will is bound with yours; when my will is moved by your purpose in the world, not mine; then, and only then, I can act to your glory. There is no other goal than yours worth my attention. This is a unity I crave with you; that with common purpose, I can be an instrument of your sacred magic in this place.
Teach me to recognize the difference between my needs and yours. I am so easily misled, by my own restless mind. Pour me out, and fill that void with you. I started this life so capable of your love—find me again, and I will so run to you.