when the demands of our bodily nature which are opposed to the spirit have been curbed and discreetly set in order;
when we have achieved the virtues in the way of which you have heard in the first degree;
when, lastly, through the ardour of our charity, all the pleasure, and all the peace, which we experience in these virtues, have been offered up and devoted to God, with thanksgiving and praise:
—then, of all this there may come down a sweet rain of new inward consolation and the heavenly dew of the sweetness of God.
This makes the virtues grow, and multiplies them twofold if we hinder it not.
This is a new and special working, and a new coming, of Christ into the loving heart.
And by it a man is lifted up into a higher state than that in which he was before.
On this height Christ says: Go ye out according to the way of this coming.
From this sweetness there springs a well-being of the heart and of all the bodily powers, so that a man thinks himself to be inwardly enfolded in the divine embrace of love.
This delight and this consolation are greater and more pleasant to the soul and the body than all the satisfactions of the earth, even though one man should enjoy them all together.
In this well-being God sinks into the heart by means of His gifts; with so much savoury solace and joy that the heart overflows from within.
This makes a man comprehend the misery of those who live outside love.
This well-being melts the heart to such a degree, that the man cannot contain himself through the fulness of inward joy.
From this rapturous delight springs spiritual inebriation.
Spiritual inebriation is this: that a man receives more sensible joy and sweetness than his heart can either contain or desire.
[...] This is the most rapturous life (as regards our bodily feelings) which man may attain upon earth.
Sometimes the excess of joy becomes so great that the man thinks that his heart must break.
And for all these manifold gifts and miraculous works, he shall, with a humble heart, thank and praise and honour and reverence the Lord, Who can do all this; and thank Him with fervent devotion because it is His will to do all this.
And the man shall always keep in his heart and speak through his mouth with sincere intention: “Lord, I am not worthy of this; yet I have need of Thy boundless goodness and of Thy support.”
In such humility he may grow and rise into higher virtues.
John Ruusbroec (1293-1381): The Spiritual Espousals, 2,17-19.