When I was one day sitting with the assembled brethren…, we began with one accord to marvel at the instability and restlessness of the human heart, and to sigh over it.

The brethren earnestly entreated that they might be shown the cause of these unstable movements in man’s heart, and…begged to be taught if such a serious evil as this could be countered by any skill or by the practice of some discipline.

[…] It is the property of divine grace to bring about this work, and that possession of such grace comes about not so much by man’s activity as by the gift of God and the inbreathing of the Holy Spirit.

Nevertheless, I know that God would have us work along with Him, and that He so offers the gifts of His loving-kindness to the thankful, and that from the thankless He often takes away the very things that formerly He gave.

[…] The first man [Adam], then, was made in such a way that, if he had not sinned, the power of contemplation would have kept him always in his Maker’s presence.

By always seeing Him he would thus always have loved Him, by always loving Him he would always have cleaved to Him, and, by always cleaving to Him who is immortal, he too would have possessed in Him life without end.

[…] But he was banished from the face of the Lord when, smitten with the blindness of ignorance through his sin, he came forth from the inward light of contemplation.

And the more he forgot the sweetness of supernal things, for which he had already lost the taste, the more did he bend his spirit down to earthly desires.

[…] Every temptation that assails it overthrows the soul that is bereft of the divine assistance….

The human heart, which had hitherto kept its stability in cleaving to divine love and remained one in the love of the One, was as it were divided into as many channels as there were objects that it craved….

And that is how it happens that the soul, not knowing how to love its true good, is never able to maintain its stability.

Failing to find what it longs for in those things which it has, its desire is always reaching out in pursuit of the unattainable; and so it never has rest.

Therefore, from movement without stability is born toil without rest, travel without arrival; so that our heart is always restless till such time as it begins to cleave to Him, in whom it may both rejoice that its desire lacks nothing, and be assured that what it loves will last eternally.

Hugh of St Victor (c.1096-1141): On the Moral Interpretation of the Ark of Noah, 1,1 Fr Luke Dysinger, OSB.