Marguerite Porete - The Mirror of Simple Souls - The Book
The book is an allegorical conversation between Love, Reason, Soul, Truth, and other devices.... I have tried to restate Marguerite in my own words. Hopefully, you will be inspired to read the book for yourself. My apologies in advance for seeing Marguerite through my own filters and my own prejudices.
Prelude. This is a difficult book and you cannot understand it unless you read it with the eyes of your heart. This is the same kind of warning that appears in the prologue to _the cloud of unknowning_.
1.There are seven stages of grace. In the first stage, the soul
is removed from sin. In the last, she possesses the fullness of perfection.
You can understand this only if you have been annihilated by Love.
2. This book is written for those that understand 'annihilated by Love' in their minds, but do not understand in their heart; that they might be prepared to receive the gift of perfect Love.
3. Love reiterates the commandments of the Church; That our thoughts are continually upon Him, That we speak the Truth at all times. And that our works are for Him only without any thought of our own gain.
4 The nobility of Love manifests in detachment from created things, openhanded giving, selflessness, without shame or anxiety.
5. This soul lives in the peace of God's Love; is saved by faith without works; knows only Love; does nothing for God; leaves nothing to do for God; cannot be taught; possesses no will; and to whom nothing can be given or taken.. How could a soul that lives in God's Love have fear of anything??
6. Love has freed the Unencumbered Soul from the Law of the Virtues. Nowhere does Marguerite list the virtues. And I expect that high-middle age Catholics did not need to be told what they were. But the Catholic encylopedia lists the major virtues as art, prudence, justice, temperence, fortitude, faith, hope, & charity; and then goes on for 4000+ words in refining the definition. see http://www.knight.org/advent/cathen/15472a.htm for more.
7. This soul says Love takes no account of shame, honor, poverty, wealth, anxiety, ease, love, hate, hell or paradise. This soul has become nothing. She possesses everything and possesses nothing. She wills everything and wills nothing. Knows all and knows nothing. This is a gift from God. Reason responds increduously; How can this soul will everything and yet will nothing? Love answers; This soul wills nothing, for her will & desire are dead; but the Will of God wills in her. It seems that either/or does not always apply to spiritual things. John of the Cross exhibits the same way of thinking when he talks about visions.. 'Don't seek them; and don't not seek them. Don't believe them; and don't not believe them.'
8. Reason wonders; How can you abandon the Virtues and still be saved?? Surely you are deceived! Love responds. When Love dwells in the soul, the soul is no longer a servant of the Virtues; but the Virtues flow out of her without a thought. Reason says: How is the soul a servant? Love Responds: When the soul is a slave to reason and the other virtues.. The virtues are never satisfied; and they leave the soul exhausted & in constant fear of falling short of perfection.. Scruples, in catholic theology, is an unfounded apprehension and consequently unwarranted fear that something is a sin which, as a matter of fact, is not. It is not considered here so much as an isolated act, but rather as an habitual state of mind.. (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13640a.htm)
9. Love speaking: How could a soul that is indwelt by Love, & possesses no will of her own desire anything? even salvation or heaven? This soul trusts everything to the Love dwelling in her. Neither theologians nor those who remain in obedience to the Virtues can perceive this or understand it. It is a gift given by Divine Love.
10. This soul is the not understood, innocent, illumined, clothed by Love, lives by Praise. Annihilated in all things through Humility, at peace with God, wills nothing except by His will, filled by His works. Her last name is Oblivion, Forgotten.
11. This soul is so shamed and humbled by the enormity of sin... her sin; that
she becomes less than nothing. This humility is perfected only in the annihilated
This soul is so fully occupied by the power of the Father, the wisdom of the Son, and the goodness of the Holy Spirit, that she forgets how to work. This one is saved by His faith without works.
This soul takes no comfort, nor has affection or hope in any created being.. She is alone in His Love.
This soul does nothing for God, nor does she omit anything of Gods works. She wills nothing of herself. Not even to do Gods works. And God works unhindered in her & through her...
Such a soul cannot be taught.