Chapter Three, SECTION II: That this Dignity and Image is restored by Jesus, and how He is to be desired, sought and found; part one
Seek, then, that which thou hast lost,
that thou mayest find it; for well I wot,
whosoever once hath an inward sight,
but a little of that dignity and that spiritual fairness
which a soul hath by creation, and shall have again by grace,
he will loathe in his heart all the bliss, the liking and the fairness
of this world, as the stink of carrion;
and he will never have any will or mind to do other deed, night or day (
save what mere need of nature requireth)
but desire, mourn, seek, and pray how he may come again thereto.
Nevertheless inasmuch as thou hast not as yet seen what it is fully,
for thy spiritual eye is not yet opened, I shall tell thee one word for all,
in the which thou shalt seek, desire and find it;
for in that one word is all that thou hast lost.
This word is Jesus:
I mean not this word Jesus painted upon the wall,
as written in letters on the book,
or formed by lips in sound of the mouth,
or framed in thy mind by imagination,
for in this wise may a man that is void of charity find Him;
but I mean Jesus Christ, that blessed Person,
God and Man, Son of the Virgin Mary,
whom this name betokeneth;
that is all goodness, endless wisdom, love and sweetness,
thy joy, thy glory, and thy everlasting bliss,
thy God, thy Lord, and thy salvation.
If, then, thou feelest a great desire in thy heart to Jesus,
either by calling to mind this name Jesus,
or by minding, or thinking, or saying of any other word;
or in Prayer, or Meditation, or any other deed which thou dost;
which desire is so much, that it putteth out, as it were, by force
all other thoughts and desires of the world, and of the flesh,
that they rest not in thy heart; then seekest thou well thy Lord Jesus.
And when thou feelest this desire to God, or to Jesus (for it is all one),
holpen and comforted by a ghostly might, insomuch that it is turned into love,
affection, and spiritual savour and sweetness,
into light and knowing of truth, so that for the time,
the point of thy thought is set upon no other created thing,
nor feeleth any stirring of vainglory, nor of self-love,
nor any other evil affection (for they cannot appear at that time),
but this thy desire is only enclosed, rested, softened, suppled,
and anointed in Jesus, then hast thou found somewhat of Jesus;
I mean not Him as He is, but a shadow of Him;
for the better that thou findest Him,
the more shalt thou desire Him.
Then observe by what manner of prayer, or meditation,
or exercise of devotion thou findest greatest and purest desire
stirred up in thee to Him, and most feeling of Him,
by that kind of prayer, exercise or work seekest thou Him best,
and shalt best find Him. Therefore if it come into thy mind,
asking as it were of thyself: What has thou lost, and what seekest thou?
lift up thy mind and the desire of thy heart to Jesus Christ,
though thou be blind, and canst see nought of His Godhead,
and say that: Him hast thou lost, and Him wouldst thou have,
and nothing but Him, to be with Him where His is.
No other joy, no other bliss in Heaven or in earth, but Him.
And though it be so, that thou feelest Him in devotion,
or in knowing, or by any other gift or grace, rest not there,
as though thou hadst fully found Jesus;
but forget that which thou hast found,
and always be desiring after Jesus more and more,
to find Him better, as though thou hadst right nought found in Him.
For wot thou well, that what thou feelest of Him, be it never so much,
yea, though thou wert ravished with St Paul into the third heaven,
yet hast thou not found Jesus as He is in His joy,
know thou, or feel thou never so much of Him,
He is still above it. And therefore,
if thou wilt fully find Him, as He is in His joy,
do thou never cease from spiritual desiring and loving of Him, whilst thou livest.
Verily I had rather feel and have a true and clean desire
in my heart to my Lord Jesus Christ,
though I see little of Him with my spiritual eye,
than to have without this desire all the bodily penance of all men living,
all visions, all revelations of Angels appearing,
all songs and sounding to the ear, all tastes and smellings,
fervours or any delights, or bodily feelings, and (to be brief)
all the joys of heaven and earth which are possible to be had,
without this desire to my Lord Jesus.
David the Prophet felt (as I conceive) this desire in himself,
when he said thus: What have I in Heaven but Thee,
and what can I desire on earth besides Thee?
As if he had said, Lord Jesus,
what heavenly joy is liking to me without desire of Thee,
whilst I am on earth, or without love of Thee
when I come to Heaven?
As who should say, right none.
If, then, thou wilt feel anything of Him, bodily or spiritually,
covet nothing but only to feel in truth within thee
a desire of His grace and of His merciful presence,
so that thou mayest think that it is not possible for thy heart
to find any rest in anything but in Him.
Thus coveted David, when he said thus:
My soul hath coveted, or longed after, the desire of thy righteousness at all times.
Seek, then, as David did, desire by desire.
And if thou feelest, by thy desire in prayers and in meditations,
the familiar presence of Jesus Christ in thy soul,
bind thy heart fast thereto, that it fall not from it;
and if thou shouldst stumble,
that thou mayest soon find Him again.
Seek, then, Jesus, whom thou hast lost,
for He would be sought, and is desirous to be found,
for He Himself saith: Every one that seeketh findeth.
The seeking is painful, but the finding is joyful;
do, therefore, after the counsel of the wise man,
if thou wilt find Him: If thou shalt seek wisdom (that is Jesus) like silver,
and as treasures shalt dig her up,
then shalt thou understand the fear of our Lord,
and shalt find the knowledge of God.
It behoveth thee to delve deep in thy heart,
for therein Jesus is hid,
and cast out perfectly all loves and likings,
sorrows and fears of all earthly things,
and so shalt thou find wisdom, that is Jesus.