spices, to feed in the gardens and to gather lilies.
O blessed soul! After thy long search, at last thou hast news of thy Beloved! With great confidence thou didst declare that thou wouldst hold Him so firmly that He should never escape, and yet thou hast let Him go farther off than ever! Alas! she says, I was ignorant and rash; I did not reflect that it was not for me to retain Him; that it is His own prerogative to bestow or withdraw Himself, as seems good to Him, and that I ought to will only His will, and to be content with His coming and going. I confess that mine was an interested love, though I knew it not; I preferred my own pleasure in loving, seeing and possessing Him to His good pleasure. -- Ah! could I but once behold Him again, I would do so no longer; I would let Him come and go at His own will, and that would be the way to lose Him no more. I know, nevertheless, that He is gone down into His garden; my Well-beloved is in my soul, but He is so exclusively there for Himself that I desire no part in it. He is in the most interior centre, in the most sublime part where is found that which is most sweet smelling. There is where God dwells, the source and seat of every virtue; there He comes to feed on what belongs to Him only, for there is nothing there that belongs to me or is for me. He takes His pleasure in the garden which He has planted, cultivated and caused to bear fruit by his life-giving heat. Let Him gather His lilies, then! let all the purity be for Him! let Him have all the pleasure and all the profit from it!