CHAPTER LIV

THE CONCLUSION OF IT ALL

Suddenly the vision vanished from my eyes and I, falling on my knees and lifting my eyes to heaven, thanked my Redeemer as well as I could in these words:

"Blessed art Thou, O Lord my God, and worthy of eternal praise and exaltation, and blessed is the name of Thy glory, revered and all-glorious to all ages. Let Thine angels glorify Thee, and all Thy saints proclaim Thy praises. For Thou art great in power, and Thy wisdom is unsearchable; Thy mercy is above all Thy works. I will glorify Thee, O Lord, as long as I live, and will sing of Thy holy name as long as I exist; for Thou hast given me joy by Thy mercy, and hast filled my mouth with raptures; Thou hast snatched me out of violent torrents, and hast plucked me out of deep whirlpools, and hast placed my feet in safety. I have strayed far from Thee, my God, eternal sweetness, but Thou in Thy pity hast come nigh unto me. I went astray, but Thou hast recalled me. I have wandered about, not knowing where to g, but Thou has led me to the right path. I have gone astray , and have lost Thee as well as myself, but Thou hast overtaken me and hast returned me to myself as well as to Thee. I approached the very bitterness of hell, but Thou hast overtaken me and hast returned me to myself as well as to Thee. I approached the very bitterness of hell, but Thou hast pulled me back and hast brought me to the very sweetness of heaven. Therefore, bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name. My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise to Thee. For Thou art higher than all height and deeper than all depth,wonderful, glorius, and full of mercy. Woe to the senseless souls which leave Thee, imagining to find peace elsewhere; for aside from Thee neither heaven, nor earth, nor the abyss possesses it; for in Thee alone is everlasting rest. Heaven and earth were made by Thee, and are good and beautiful and desirable because Thou hast made them; but they are neither as good nor as desirable as Thou, their Creator; therefore, they cannot satisfy nor suffice for souls seeking happiness. Thou art, O Lord, the fulness of all plentitude, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee. Late have I come to love Thee, Thou beauty eternal, for late have I come to know Thee. But I came to know Thee when Thou, O heavenly brightness, hast shined upon me. Let him refrain from praising Thee who has not known Thy loving kindness: but all that is within me confess the Lord. Oh, who shall grant me that my heart may be charmed with Thee, O eternal Fragrance, so that I may forget all that is not Thyself, my God! Do not hide Thyself from my heart, O beauty most beautiful. If external things obscure Thee, may no longer lose Thee. Restrain me, Lord, lead me, bear me, that I no longer stray from Thee and fall. Grant that I may love Thee with an eternal love, and beside Thee love no thing, except for Thy sake and in Thee, O endles love! But what else shall I say, my Lord? Here I am,Thine I am; I am Thine own, Thine eternally. I renounce heaven and earth that I may have Thee alone. Only do not deny me Thyself and I have enough, to all eternity, unchangeably, I have enough in Thee alone. My soul and my body exult in Thee, Thou living God; Oh, when shall I go and appear before Thy face? Whenever it be Thy will, my Lord and God, take me, for here I am, I stand ready; call me whenever Thou desirest,whichever way Thou desirest, and however Thou desirest. I will go whithersoever Thou commandest and will perform whatsoever Thou commandest. May Thy good Spirit guide me and lead me among the snares of the world as in a plain, and may Thy lovingkindness accompany me in my journeys. Lead me through this sorrowful darkness of the world to the light eternal. Amen and Amen."

GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO

ET IN TERRA PAX
HOMINIBUS BONAE VOLUNTATIS*

*Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of goodwill.

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