It is obvious to those who are in
love that no one attains the heights of devotion at once, or is ravished with
contemplative sweetness. In fact it is only very occasionally - and then
only momentarily - that they are allowed to experience heavenly things; their
progress to spiritual strength is a gradual one. When they have attained
the gravity of behaviour so necessary and have achieved a certain stability of
mind - as much as changing circumstances permit - a certain perfection is
acquired after great labour. It is then that they can feel some joy in
Notwithstanding, it appears that all
those who are mighty performers in virtue immediately and genuinely experience
the warmth of uncreated or created charity, melt in the immense fire of love,
and sing within their hearts the song of divine praise. For this mystery
is hidden from the many, the more sublime such a level is, the fewer - in this
world - are those who find it. Rarely in fact have we found a man who is
so holy or even perfect in this earthly life endowed with love so great as to be
raised up to contemplation to the level of jubilant song. This would mean
that he would receive within himself the sound that is sung in heaven, and that
he would echo back the praises of God as it were in harmony, pouring forth sweet
notes of music and composing spiritual songs as he offers his heavenly praises,
and that he would truly experience in his heart the genuine fire of the love of
God. It would be surprising if anyone without such experience should claim
the name of contemplative when the psalmist, speaking in character as the
typical contemplative, exclaims, I will go into the house of the Lord, with
the voice of praise and thanksgiving. [Ps. 42:4] The praise of course is the
praise offered by the banqueter, one who is feeding on heavenly sweetness.
...Physically they may have sat in
solitary state, but in mind they have companied with angels, and have yearned
for their Beloved. Now they sing most sweetly a prayer of love everlasting
as they rejoice in Jesus:
O honeyed flame, sweeter than all
sweet, delightful beyond all creation!
My God, my Love, surge over me,
pierce me by your love, wound me with
Surge over me, I say, who am
longing for your comfort.
Reveal your healing medicine to
your poor lover.
See, my one desire is for you; it
is you my heart is seeking.
My soul pants for you; my whole
being is athirst for you.
Yet you will not show yourself to
me; you look away; you bar the door, shun me,
You even laugh at my innocent
And yet you snatch your lovers
away from all earthly things.
You lift them above every desire
for worldly matters.
You make them capable of loving
you they do indeed.
So they offer you their praise in
bursts out from that inner fire;
know in truth the sweetness of the dart of love.
Ah, eternal and most loveable of
raise us from the very depths,
entrance us with the sight of divine majesty so often!
Come into me, Beloved!
All ever I had I have given up
spurned all that was to be mine,
might make your home in my heart,
Do not forsake me now, smitten
with such great longing,
consuming desire is to be amongst those who love you.
Grant me to love you,
your kingdom I may be worthy
appear before you world without end.