Stanza vi


Oh! who can heal me?
Give me perfectly Thyself,
Send me no more
A messenger
Who cannot tell me what I wish.

AS created things furnish to the soul traces of the Beloved, and
exhibit the impress of His beauty and magnificence, the love of
the soul increases, and consequently the pain of His absence: for
the greater the soul’s knowledge of God the greater its desire to
see Him, and its pain when it cannot; and as it sees there is no
remedy for this pain except in the presence and vision of the
Beloved, distrustful of every other remedy, it prays in this
stanza for the fruition of His presence, saying: ‘Entertain me no
more with any knowledge or communications or impressions of Thy
grandeur, for these do but increase my longing and the pain of Thy
absence; Thy presence alone can satisfy my will and desire.’ The
will cannot be satisfied with anything less than the vision of
God, and therefore the soul prays that He may be pleased to give
Himself to it in truth, in perfect love.

‘O! who can heal me?’

2. That is, there is nothing in all the delights of the world,
nothing in the satisfaction of the senses, nothing in the sweet
taste of the spirit that can heal or content me, and therefore it

‘Give me at once Thyself.’

3. No soul that really loves can be satisfied or content short of
the fruition of God. For everything else, as I have just said, not
only does not satisfy the soul, but rather increases the hunger
and thirst of seeing Him as He us. Thus every glimpse of the
Beloved, every knowledge and impression or communication from Him–
these are the messengers suggestive of Him–increase and quicken
the soul’s desire after Him, as crumbs of food in hunger stimulate
the appetite. The soul, therefore, mourning over the misery of
being entertained by matters of so little moment, cries out:

‘Give me perfectly Thyself.’

4. Now all our knowledge of God in this life, how great soever it
may be, is not a perfectly true knowledge of Him, because it is
partial and incomplete; but to know Him essentially is true
knowledge, and that is it which the soul prays for here, not
satisfied with any other kind. Hence it says:

‘Send me no more a messenger.’

5. That is, grant that I may no longer know Thee in this imperfect
way by the messengers of knowledge and impressions, which are so
distant from that which my soul desires; for these messengers, as
Thou well knowest, O my Bridegroom, do but increase the pain of
Thy absence. They renew the wound which Thou hast inflicted by the
knowledge of Thee which they convey, and they seem to delay Thy
coming. Henceforth do Thou send me no more of these inadequate
communications, for if I have been hitherto satisfied with them,
it was owing to the slightness of my knowledge and of my love: now
that my love has become great, I cannot satisfy myself with them;
do Thou, therefore, give me at once Thyself.

6. This, more clearly expressed, is as follows: ‘O Lord my
Bridegroom, Who didst give me Thyself partially before, give me
Thyself wholly now. Thou who didst show glimpses of Thyself
before, show Thyself clearly now. Thou who didst communicate
Thyself hitherto by the instrumentality of messengers–it was as
if Thou didst mock me–give Thyself by Thyself now. Sometimes
when Thou didst visit me Thou didst give me the pearl of Thy
possession, and, when I began to examine it, lo, it was gone, for
Thou hadst hidden it Thyself: it was like a mockery. Give me then
Thyself in truth, Thy whole self, that I may have Thee wholly to
myself wholly, and send me no messengers again.’

‘Who cannot tell me what I wish.’

7. ‘I wish for Thee wholly, and Thy messengers neither know Thee
wholly, nor can they speak of Thee wholly, for there is nothing in
earth or heaven that can furnish that knowledge to the soul which
it longs for. They cannot tell me, therefore, what I wish.
Instead, then, of these messengers, be Thou the messenger and the