The Adornment Of The Spritual Marriage by John of Ruysbroeck
CHAPTER XXV. AN EXAMPLE SHOWING HOW ONE IS HINDERED IN THIS EXERCISE
Now I will show you the hindrances and the dangers which he meets with who dwells in the fury of love. In this time, as you have heard, the sun is in the sign of the Lion; and this is the most unhealthy period of the year, although it is fruitful; for here begin the dog-days, which bring many a plague with them. Then the weather may become so unwholesome and so hot that in some countries herbs and trees wither and shrivel, and in some waters the fishes pine away and perish, and on the land men also sicken and die. And this is not caused only by the sun, for then it would be the same everywhere; in all countries and in all waters, and with all men. But the cause of it is often the corruption and the disorder of the matter on which the sun's power works. So likewise it is when a man comes into this state of impatience. He enters in truth into the dog-days, and the splendour of the Divine rays burns so fiercely and so hotly from above, and the heart wounded by love is so inflamed from within -- since the ardour of affection and the impatience of desire have been thus enkindled -- that the man falls into impatience and striving, even as a woman who labours in child-birth and cannot be delivered. If the man then look steadfastly into his own wounded heart, and at Him Whom he loves, these woes grow without ceasing. So greatly does the torment increase that the man withers and shrivels in his bodily nature, even as the trees in hot countries; and he dies in the fury of love, and enters the kingdom of heaven without passing through purgatory. But though he dies well who dies of love, as long as a tree may bear good fruit, it should neither be felled nor uprooted. Sometimes God flows forth with great sweetness into the turbulent heart. Then the heart swims in bliss, as a fish in water; and the inmost ground of the heart burns in the fury of love, even whilst it swims in delight in the gifts of God, because of the blissful and impatient ardour of the loving heart itself. And to dwell long in this degree consumes the bodily nature. All men who burn in the fury of love must pine away in that state; but those who can govern themselves well do not die.