MYSTICAL WOMEN: Mechthild of Magdeburg — Twenty Powers of God’s Love and Many Kinds of Names

Ah, dear divine Love, ever embrace my soul,
For it would murder me beyond all pain
If I were to be separated from you!
Ah, Love, let me now not grow cold,
My actions are all dead
When I do not feel you.
O Love, you cause sweet pain and distress;
You give the true children of God instruction and consolation.
O Fetter of love,
Your tender hand is strong.
It binds both young and old.
O Love, you make large burdens light,
And to you small sins seem heavy.
You serve without reward
Ministering to all creatures.

Ah, sweet divine Love, whenever I sleep too long
And miss good things,
Be so kind and awaken me,
And sing to me, Lady, your song
With which you touch the soul
Like a sweet chord of strings.

Ah, Lady Love, throw me beneath you.
I would gladly suffer defeat.
If you would only take my life,
That would be, Lady, all my solace.
Alas, generous divine Love, you pamper me too much.
This shall be my constant complaint.
Love, your most elegant greeting
Has filled my spirit.
Love, your most pure sufferings
Make me live without sin.
Love, your constant devotion
Has brought me to such sweet distress.
O divine Love, how can I be patient in your absence
If you want to be estranged from me?
Love, it is a blissful, heavenly exhilaration
That your absence is so pleasant for me.
O wondrous Love, ever blessed is he indeed,
Whom you instruct.
That is his most blissful humility,
That, Lady, he asks you to leave him.

Ah, Love, how few do you find
Who seek you with all their might in all things,
And with constant effort enjoy you
And who in the pangs of love bid you
That you flee from them.
But there are many
Who call out to you with their mouths
And turn from you in their actions.

Love, your leaving and coming
Are equally welcome to the well-ordered soul.
Love, you have worked that great miracle,
That God has performed with us in heartfelt love.

Love, your most refined purity
Standing like a lovely reflection
Of the chaste soul in God’s presence
Creates in the breast of virgins
Hot pangs of desire
For Jesus their Love.
Those who love intensely and are virgins,
These are the maidens of the Seraphim.

Love, your holy mercy
Causes the devils much suffering.
Love, your sweet peace
Fosters calm minds and a pure life.
Love, your holy fulfillment
Makes spirits free
In voluntary poverty.
Love, your true perfection
Does not easily complain about misfortune or hardship.

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