Continued from here…

We have shown you these stages of the disease itself – a wavering heart, unstable and restless;

the cause of the disease – which is clearly love of the world;

and the remedy of the disease – which is the love of God.

And to these must be added a fourth, namely, the application of the remedy, that is, the way in which we may attain to the love of God.

[…] The difference between the love of God and the love of the world is this:

the love of this world seems at the outset sweet, but has a bitter end;

the love of God, by contrast, is bitter to begin with, but is full of sweetness in its end.

This, in a most beautiful allegorical sense, was uttered of our Bridegroom’s wedding.

This is shown by the Gospel when it says: ‘Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine, and only after men have drunk well that which is inferior; but thou hast kept the good wine until now’ [cf John 2:10].

Every man, that is, carnal man, does indeed set forth good wine at the beginning, for he finds a certain spurious sweetness in his pleasure.

But once the rage of his evil longing has saturated his mind, then he provides inferior wine to drink, because a sudden pricking of conscience assails his thought, which till now had enjoyed a spurious delight, and grievously torments him.

Our Bridegroom, on the other hand, offers the good wine last when He allows the heart, which He intends to fill with the sweetness of His love, first to pass beneath the bitter harrow of afflictions.

He does this, so that, having tasted bitterness, the heart may quaff with greater eagerness the most sweet cup of charity.

And this is ‘the first sign’ [cf John 2:11] which Jesus made in His disciples’ presence; and they believed in Him.

For the repentant sinner first begins to trust God’s mercy when he feels his heart cheered by the consolation of the Holy Spirit after long weariness of grief.

Let us then see what we can do to attain the love of God, for He will integrate and stabilize our hearts, He will restore our peace and give us ceaseless joy.

But nobody can love that which he does not know; and so, if we desire to love God, we must first make it our business to know Him, and this especially since He cannot be known without being loved.

For so great is the beauty of His loveliness that no one who sees Him can fail to love Him.

Hugh of St Victor (c.1096-1141): On the Moral Interpretation of the Ark of Noah, 1,2 Fr Luke Dysinger, OSB.