From The Herald of Divine Love
Injuries inflicted by a friend are usually harder to bear than those inflicted by an enemy, as the psalm has it: “If my enemy had reviled me, I would verily have borne with it.” (Psalm 54:13-14) When Gertrude learned that a person to whom she had tried with more special zeal and fidelity to give help for the good of her soul had not corresponded with due fidelity – indeed, was acting in a contrary manner as though she disdained what had been done for her – in her distress she took refuge with the Lord. He consoled her with these kind words: “Do not be sad, daughter, for I allowed this to happen for your greater spiritual welfare. I take the very greatest delight in your company and in being always with you, and I want to enjoy this more often. If a mother has a little boy whom she tenderly loves and wants to have always at her side, and the boy wants to run off and play with his friends, she places a scarecrow or something alarming nearby, so that the frightened boy runs back quickly to take refuge in her arms. I too want you always at my side, never to leave me, and so I permit your friends sometimes to cause you pain so that, never finding perfect fidelity in any creature, you will come running back the more eagerly to me, knowing that with me alone you will find an unchanging abundance of joy and fidelity.”
Then the Lord lifted her on to his breast, like a very small child. With many caresses he placed his divine mouth close to her ear, and soothed her in various ways, saying, “As a tender mother kisses away the troubles of her little child, so I want to soothe away all your troubles and adversities by whispering soft words of fondest love.”
When she had been enjoying for a time the infinite sweetness of divine consolations and repeated caresses in the bosom of the Lord, he offered her his heart, saying: “Look, my beloved, at the very core of my heart, and consider carefully with what fidelity I have disposed and managed everything you have ever asked me to do for you, in the way that is most profitable for the perfection and salvation of your soul. And now consider whether you can reproach me for the least infidelity to you.” Then she saw the Lord making, out of the tribulation of which we have spoken, a sort of splendid ornament of golden flowers. Then, remembering some people whom she knew to be suffering affliction, she said to him: “Oh, how much more worthy are they and deserving of recompense and of being decorated with even more precious ornaments of your love, merciful Father, than I am, for they suffer such grievous troubles and do not have any such consolations as I often have, in spite of my unworthiness, alas, and often I do not bear all that happens to me with becoming patience.” He answered: “In this and in every circumstance I show the most delicate care and tender love for you, like a mother tenderly loving her delicate little child. As she knows he could not easily bear the weight of silver and gold ornaments (with which she would like to deck him out) she adorns him with light flowers which do not weigh him down and yet impart a certain air of brilliance. So I too moderate your troubles, so that you may not sink beneath their weight, and yet may not entirely lack the merit of patience.”
At this, when she considered the sublimity of divine love in all that concerned her salvation, in her profound gratitude, she broke forth into devout praises. Then she saw that the ornaments she had been given for her tribulation, which looked like flowers and were very light in weight although brilliant, took on a certain weight when, in her gratitude, she sang praises to God for her adversity. And from this she understood that the grace which God gives to make us able to praise him in adversity compensates in a nobler way for what is wanting in the weight of our affliction, just as an ornament of pure gold is more precious than a silver ornament gilded only on the surface.