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Be discreet as the snakes and meek as the doves
94,1. But see, the former speaker is coming to me again and asks me, after seeing a strange man beside the prior, who this man is and what he has to do with him. At the first moment, you would consider this question of not so great a significance, but if you consider what this is about, namely the truth, the question will surely be more important to you than it at first appears. Should the questioner be told the truth in his face! Should one give him an evasive answer? Should one give him no answer or have an answer? Or should he be told to wait until the answer would come by itself? Behold, these are all very valid ideas, all related to this monk.
94,2. Let us, however, see how the questioner is to be handled; and so I say to him, "Listen, dear friend and brother, it is not the place to tell you whether you have entered the light with this question too early or too late. The question itself is lightly asked by you, but according to the Divine order, it would be unreasonable of me to give you an answer rather than to wait until you can bear such an answer in your inner being.
94,3. For you see, certain answers here in the realm of the spirits are of such a nature that they would cost questioner's spiritual life, if they would be answered before time. Therefore, for this time, I cannot say anything else to your question except: Be patient in humility and love for the Lord, and you will at the right time obtain the correct information about the stranger. But now nothing more of it; for, as you see, the whole company is close to us under the guidance of this stranger and the prior, and are in fact already here.
94,4. The monk remarks, "Yes, dear friend and brother!" Your answer is right for you; but as for me, I must be content with my own darkness. Nevertheless, you have told me much, contrary to my expectations; for, as I have already told you, even though it is somewhat veiled, I have noticed, in the judgment of so many things in the sharpness of your spirit, that I had to find something very special behind the stranger. For if this were not the case, there would be no reason for me to ask you something to which you would give me an evasive answer. If this stranger, like you, were only a messenger from the heavens, I would be sure that meeting with him would be equally as life-threatening to me as are you. He must, therefore, be certainly someone very important and stand higher than you, because you already gave him such a testimony.
94,5. Besides, as I approached this stranger, I felt a strange, hitherto unknown pull in me, and this pull tells me, as in a slight notion, that this stranger is very close to the Lord, and no one is nearer to the Lord than that! Am I right or not?
94,6. I say to him: Dear friend and brother! I cannot tell you anything else but: be humble, and keep yourselves exclusively to the love of the Lord, and thou shalt not be lost. Do not be flippant! Because every good thing needs its time. Whoever plucks the fruit prematurely from the tree oflife, and even earlier from the tree of knowledge, doubts. For firstly, he receives an immature fruit which cannot saturate him, but can only be detrimental to his health; and secondly, he also spoils the tree, because he deprives the fruit of the opportunity to store up the blessed supply of juices in the fruit, enabling itself for future fertilization. I know you will do this since you have been a good tree-gardener on earth. "
94,7. The monk said, "Yes, I am now quite well, so I will now be quiet as a mouse when she smells the cat.
94,8. Now look, our monk has calmed down, and that is good. But do not think that this monk is the only smart alec of this society. There are several more. But this is also a remnant of the priestly spirit, which is not infrequent in Roman Catholic priests, and especially in many monastic sects. But this worldly trait cannot function here; love must be pure. But a love to which a certain degree of cunning is attached is not pure. You can very well see this in the world.
94,9. Take, for example, an otherwise well-mannered and well-behaved girl who is very much loved by a very caring and honorable young man. But, to be fully assured of his love, she applies all sorts of cunning means of investigation, by which she secretly tries to convince herself of just how deeply her lover loves her. When you look at this example, of course, you will say: The girl is honest, for her action is the surest proof that she loves her young man so much, and that she is so much at his mercy.
94,10. Well, I say; we want to examine this love a little more closely and to see whether it is really test-proof. Let us suppose that the young man learns of the slyness of his beloved, and thinks to himself, "How is it with your love, that you secretly spy on me? I have never done this before, for I fully trusted your heart. For what reason should you consider me more treacherous than I am? Wait a little, I want to feel your love on the tooth and make it as if I have a relationship with another girl, and it will immediately show how your love is. If thou love me as I have loved you, thou shalt not take offense at me; if you do not love me as purely as I love you, then you will turn away from me and fill your heart with anger instead of love.
94,11. Now see, this man does exactly that, and what can be more easily imagined than the cunning lover soon learns this? But what is the result? Let us listen to them a little; for whereof the heart is full, the mouth also presents. Her words would be like this: There we are! Oh, I have a very clever nose, it's what I thought. This deceiver of my heart, this dishonorable man has thought me a stupid goose and believed that with such a wretched creature he would be easy prey. But this poor being is not so stupid as the false, unfaithful man thinks, but is much more intelligent, and in this way, has brought out the whole disgraceful nature of the clever man of ill will. But now come to me, you unfaithful, dishonest facade of a man, and I will show you a love which you will remember for a long time.
94,12. See, what was this girl's cunning good for? I say, to nothing but that she has greatly lost the former respect towards her admirer. What will happen when the young man comes back to her? Listen for yourself; he shall come to her, and the reception from her side shall be quick. He has just come to her and is approaching her with the most sincere love; how is she going to meet him? See the great coldness and beside it a great lime-oven full of glowing jealousy. He was astonished at her behavior, and said to her, "Listen, your attitude is very strange. what is the reason for this? She says: "An honorable maiden is not answerable to a most dishonorable man, and can tell him nothing else but that he is so dishonest on his part that he, as a false lover and deceiver of hearts, dares to come where there is no place for him anymore; where, because of his most unfaithful conduct, he is most unworthy to come to.
94,13. He says, What is this I hear? Was your love for me on such foot? Was there distrust instead of love? Truly if you have loved me as much as I have loved you, and if you have trusted me as I did you, and would not have sent any secret scouts after me since I have not sent any after you. But I have discovered this, and have put your love for me to the test. And, behold, thy love did not pass the test. You have never loved me but wanted to be loved by me, wanted only your image to be worshiped by me, while my image in you was an object of your contempt. Behold, with such love one can never be content! But I give you some time; explore your heart whether you can love methe way I have loved you and still love you. If you can do this, I will not ban you from my heart but will keep you as I used to. But if you cannot do so, then you shall see me for the last time after the expired deadline.
94,14. What will our girl do after this very important address? Here are two ways open. If her offended pride is conquered by the wisdom of the man, and the girl knows her guilt, the situation ends well; but if her offended arrogance grows, the thing will surely take a dire turn, which in similar cases are always more frequent than the good one. Because of the feminine heart, which is not filled with much love, now feels struck by the wisdom of the man, it usually begins to strike its value higher and higher, and instead of seeking reconciliation, it seeks for revenge. I think this example will convince you sufficiently that a certain cunning cannot be a part of true pure love.
94,15. You indeed say here and ask how this is to be understood since the Lord gave His apostles and disciples the sole commandment of love, but said, "Be wise or cunning as the serpents, and simple as the doves? "(a mat.10:16)
94,16. O my dear friends and brethren, this cleverness or slyness is a very different one, and has its basis in it, that man should not be blinded by any temptation, as if the love and grace of the Lord have left him; from the very bottom of his heart, he should say in himself, "O Lord! Let come over me, whatever Your holy will finds good; and even if it may be so strange or contradictory to me, I shall know that you are my most loving and most noble Father, and I will love You all the more, the more You hide from me. For I know that the more distant You seem to me, the nearer You are to me. That's why I want to love You more and more with all my life's power!
94,17. See, in this example, the discussed wisdom and simplicity of love is joined together; but our shrewd and ingenious one still severely lacks this, and this must receive special attention in the course of our discussion.
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